The map of Asia is dotted with small and medium sized Islamic countries that overtly or covertly tend to lean towards religious extremism in a variety of disguises.
Many plant ridiculous ideas like self-governance of J&K with joint control by India and Pakistan, providing territorial concessions to regime in Islamabad, or withdrawal from Siachen and repeatedly harping on Kashmir being a nuclear flash point.
Acutely deficit strategic thinking in New Delhi has prevented consolidation of the Union.
Acutely deficit strategic thinking in New Delhi has prevented consolidation of the Union by not permitting the natural flow of Indian citizens from other parts to settle down in Kashmir and the Northeast, and in turn bring prosperity in these areas by infusing talent, labour and capital.
Instead, we permitted ethnic cleansing in Kashmir, export of terrorism from Islamabad, and encouraged demographic invasion by Bangladesh in the Northeast by designing IMDT for vote bank politics.
It is a strange logic that illegal infiltrators and terrorists from Bangladesh and Pakistan without passports can settle down in Northeast and Kashmir but our legitimate citizens cannot.
To defend our economic interests in an unstable and mostly authoritarian Asia, and to protect our values and perks that are part and parcel of a free society, we will need to hone our military power and enhance its reach.
The most critical problem the Indian military faces today is the huge shortage of Officers.
The most critical problem the Indian military faces today is the huge shortage of Officers. Particularly, the levels of deficit at 25% for Army are scary on two counts.
First, the Indian Army is involved in protecting on day to day basis, very hostile and vast land borders in North, East and West; besides the raging insurgencies in Kashmir and the Northeast.
Second, to face this Herculean task, it is almost short by 14000 officers. That too where it hurts most – lieutenants, captains and majors – the ranks that give the cutting edge leadership on ground without which no General can win a battle, leave alone a war.
Methods and measures adopted so far – by ensuring that every Officer makes it to the rank of Colonel has in effect diluted the rank structure thereby weakening regimented hierarchy essential for successful war fighting. It will result in bloating of the senior echelons of the Army that goes against every universally accepted military tenet, and will further compound the problem of the ageing profile of the military. In a few years it would be natural expectation to raise the limit to the rank of a Brigadier!
This however, will not attract the youth to join the military on two counts. First, the job options available today are numerous, that they are deluged by tempting offers. For them, joining the military is not on the radar really. Second, the daunting challenges that the Army officer faces in his routine day to day fight against terrorism alone deters parents from encouraging their children to opt for military as a long term career.
“… the stability of the Indian Army may perhaps be a deciding factor in the future of India.”
Unfortunately for the Indian Union, even in 2005, the prophecy of Field Marshal Wavell holds true, as we are yet to consolidate our gains as a nation. He said at the time of independence, “… the stability of the Indian Army may perhaps be a deciding factor in the future of India.”
This is the singular reason for Islamabad to keep harping on demilitarization of Kashmir because what they could not obtain by war as Indian Army stood guard; they want to obtain through other deceitful means.
Hypothetically, also if we send the military, on forced leave for three months (top-to-bottom), the scenario can easily be visualised.
Within 15 days the entire J&K would fall into the hands of the Pakistan Army. Within a month Jihad Factory will cross Punjab with the help of Pak Army and start knocking at the doors of Delhi. Similarly in the Northeast, Bangladesh with the help of Pakistan would invade Assam, the Seven Sisters and pose serious threat to West Bengal in no time. China will in addition, severe the Northeast by taking over the Siliguri Corridor. In Asia, it is multi-cultural India alone that stands in the way of creation of the Caliphate declared by the Islamic fundamentalists encompassing most of Asia.
Without a powerful military machine at the Union’s disposal India as a nation cannot survive. Therefore, it is an operational requirement to keep the military young. It is imperative to remove the human resources shortfall speedily before the system begins to fail and buckles under the ageing profile of its leadership. To keep the military young assured lateral induction of military personnel into para-military, police forces, intelligence services and civil administration is the only viable option.
Lateral induction is the only way today to attract the young but savvy population to the toughest profession…
Also, lateral induction is the only way today to attract the young but savvy population to the toughest profession where the risk-to-life factor is an everyday affair. Once they know that after a short and demanding tenure they have an assured career elsewhere, with seniority of service intact, and their family will not be on the roads, the deficit in officer cadre will disappear. Similarly, a jawan after ten-year tenure must be laterally inducted into para-military, coast guard, marine police and the central and state police set-ups.
Today when the Union faces unprecedented security threats from North to South and East to West, it is necessary that we create and maintain a lean and mean fighting machine. It is no longer an option but an imperative. Further, modernisation of Armed Forces requires not only induction of the latest state-of-the-art technology but also infusion of fresh manpower so as to retain the requisite youthful zeal – a key determinant of military prowess.
We are a nation with one of the best youth profile in the world but do not have the will to institute policy mechanisms that can even partially derive advantages of this attribute.
Multiple benefits will accrue to the Union from lateral Induction.
Multiple benefits will accrue to the Union from lateral Induction. First, the transfer of highly disciplined, trained and skilled manpower to the civil set-up will immensely beef up the Civil Administration which is crumbling.
Second, military’s superior training standards will give added teeth to civil and para-military forces in combating terrorism and internal violence. Last but not the least, it will further unify and consolidate the Union, even while preserving the country’s diversity.
In the developed countries soldiering for the nation is a matter of pride.
…military’s superior training standards will give added teeth to civil…
In the US Presidential elections, a military service background weighs heavily in the prospects of a candidate and so is the case in many other countries. Prince Andrews flew maximum number of sorties in Falkland war. More recently Prince William has completed his training at Sandhurst and Prince Harry has just entered. Also, in the recent Bhutan Army operations against ULFA, the prince sustained injuries while leading his troops. There is a message in these examples for our youth who aspire to be leaders.
For India to emerge as ‘a key player in Asia’ Indian military must shed the tag of a defensive force with antiquated weaponry to a military capable of power projection with adequate young human resources wielding technologically the most modern weaponry.
It is time New Delhi rises beyond status quo thinking by firmly discouraging all unnecessary turf wars waged and instituting mechanisms to facilitate lateral induction of the military personnel into the Civil Administration as a matter of policy, if the Union does not want to fall by the wayside.