IDR Blog

Is Army's profile changing?
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
Lt Gen Harwant Singh | Date:04 Jun , 2012 6 Comments
Lt Gen Harwant Singh
Former Deputy Chief of Army Staff. He also commanded a corps in J&K.

The fact that, not withstanding, the lowering of intake standards, army continues to remain short of over 12000 officers, reinforces the fact that over time military career has become less and less attractive, reasons for which are many and need be dealt with separately. The officer cadre has seen influx of not so suitable leadership material and as such profile of the officer cadre has been under going a change, for the worse. Consequently military strives to develop leadership skills in its young officers and instill in them appropriate value system. Perhaps in some cases it does not succeed in inculcating that value system and mechanism for internal cleansing fails.

A military officer is first a gentleman. For him, to be overbearing and insulting to a soldier is unacceptable and is reflective of lack of maturity, confidence and elementary leadership qualities. Such conduct cannot earn the respect of soldiers and leads to strained relations.

However, individual aspirations, careerism, personal gain and dilution of leadership traits do some times get the better of some individuals, but where failings in character qualities surface, or discipline is lacking, action to correct the fault lines is both,  stern and swift..

Senior leadership in the military has not always set good and enviable standards of conduct for juniors to follow. As the higher rank officers climbed into what is called ‘five star culture,’ quite distinct from what fits in the military environments, lower down the ladder some junior rank officers slid down to a level unacceptable for the officer class. The inscription in the Chetwood Hall at the Indian Military Academy which is drilled into cadets, during their training in that institution, is near forgotten by some. The British understood the selfish nature of the Indian character rather too well and felt a compelling need to drill this homily into the potential Indian military officers but never felt the requirement to proffer such an advice for their own cadets at the Sandhurst Military Academy.

The standard of military leadership has somewhat slipped downwards. Admittedly the military has often moved swiftly to apply correctives but many in the higher echelons have gone unscathed. Some cardinal principles of leadership in the military, such as personal example, service before self, high integrity and moral character, caring for troops, false notions of rank privileges, are being missed by some.

Finally troops have a highly developed collective sense. They are almost never mistaken about their commanders. It is quite impossible to deceive them as to the character and qualities of their direct commanders with whom they work day by day.

A military officer is first a gentleman.   For him, to be overbearing and insulting to a soldier is unacceptable and is reflective of lack of maturity, confidence and elementary leadership qualities. Such conduct cannot earn the respect of soldiers and leads to strained relations.

In the instance case the officers manhandled the soldier and subsequently troops ran amok. Such a conduct on the part of officers and soldiers is totally unacceptable in the army and is invariably put down with a firm hand. There are enough provisions in the military law and efficacy of its judicial system which can adequately and swiftly deal with an erring officer and soldier. We need feel rest assured that the military authorities will deal with the faulting soldiers and officers firmly and without delay. No one need read more into this sordid incident than an aberration in the otherwise excellent record of discipline, propriety and soldierly conduct of the Indian military.

1 2
Rate this Article
Star Rating Loader Please wait...
The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

Post your Comment

2000characters left

6 thoughts on “Is Army’s profile changing?

  1. the babus and mantris broke the backbone of the armed forces officercorps with poor pay salaries and living and working conditions .The generals further eroded the officer corps by encouraging courtiers , double standards and living of the land with every thing free from public and non publicfunds and outright stealing and plundering . What we see today whether generals giving false statements to steal houses meant for kargilwidows , medicines scams dal , and meat scams , diseal and pols scams . The moral character and fibre of the armed forces is no better than the babus and mantris . The middle and junior rank officers are hard pressed . nobody is happy and smiling . The stress frustration is further compounded by lack of promotions and general standards prevailent outside . The shortages in junior ranks leave no time for any training , leadership , games or COMRADESHIP . THE OFFICER SOLDER BEING FROM THE SAME LOW MIDDLE CLASS VILLAGES TOWNS AND KASBAS ARE FRUSTRATED AND HAVE NOBODY TO LOOKUP TO . WITH GENERALS READY TO SLAUGHTER EACH OTHER FOR CARRYING OVER THEIR OWN SET AGENDAS WITH COLOR CASTE RELIGION , BATTALLION CONSIDERATIONS THE ARMED FORCES ARE ON A DOWNWARD SLIDE UNLESS A 360 DEGREES REVIEW OF ALL ASPECTS FROM SELECTION TO RETIREMENT AND SETTLEMENT IS DONE . THE BABUS MANTRIS AND EVEN THE GENERALS WILL WANT STATUS QUO . THE EAGLE EYES OF PAKISTAN AND THE BELLIGERANT SCALING OUT BY THE CHINESE SHOULD OPEN THE EYES WHERE THE SWORD WILL SWING . LEST WE FORGET THE ARMED FORCES NOMORE MAKE GENERALS LIKE LATE FIELD MARSHAL CARRIAPA , HIMMATSINGH , FIELD MARSHAL MANEKSHAW AND MANY PREPARTITION ONES WHO BROUGHT FAME AND GLORY TO THE UNIFORM THEY WORE .TODAY WE SEE RENT SEEKERS , COMMISSION AGENTS , ARMS DALALS AND A UNWORTHY LOT WHO DONT FADE BUT VANISH THE DAY THEY RETIRE AND NO BODY BOTHERS OR RECOGNISES THEM .

    • Why accuse Bureaucrats for every trouble in Army. It has become a trend now that people who masquerade as defence expert have found it pretty easy to grind their axe with the regent of their ego on the neck of Civilian officers.
      We must understand that there are some inherent problems with the leadership of the officers in the force itself that has made such kind of incidents pretty common in Army.

  2. Sir, I agree with the gist of the article that poor quality officers are now joining the army & worse, getting command of Battalions & Regiments. I wish that the author had done a demographic sort of a survey of the NDA & IMA & the preference of the cadets nowdays. When I studied at the Army Public School [ & subsequently at AFMC-Pune ] i found great enthusiasm among my class & scoolmates to join the Army via NDA & IMA..Mostly, they gave Preference for the Arms [Armoured & infantry ]. The toppers got Armoured, infantry & Artillery & the bottom rung got The Services like ASC,AOC etc..But nowdays cadets are giving 1st preference to Army Supply corps & ordnance where they can make money.The result is that second rung officers are joining the arms & poor quality of commanding officers of battalions & regiments [ They further watch in envy as the ” Bright ASC Guys ” make money & also start falling prey to the money syndrome ]. Even some flag officers & generals are turning out to be of poor quality..It will not be an exaggeration to say that some GOC’s would be better called as DOC’s [Dacoit officer commanding ] the way they pilfer Regimental /Unit funds, do scams,take bribes & commisions,do black marketeering of Army items etc etc.

  3. I am completely with the authorities in the matter, and I know that it must have been extremely difficult, to take the ultimate decision taken. This incident was beyond my comprehension. I really don’t know, if any action should have been taken.

More Comments Loader Loading Comments