Military & Aerospace

The Indian Army must speak!
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 26 Jun , 2011

The journalist, thus, in keeping with the agenda of vested interests cleverly sought to question the very secular credentials of the Indian Army. It is the same vested interests who are publishing leaks of investigations including those from the Military Intelligence on a daily basis and that too on their front pages.

It is a well known fact that the legal procedures and provisions in the army are such that the rank and the standing of the officer is hardly any insulation. It was evident in the first major sting operation in this country. Allegedly, the sting operation was done at the behest of vested players to bring down the then government. The Army Officers became a tool in that process. It was an abominable to see the lecherous way in which the journalists tried to lure the officers. The government stayed. It was only the Army Officers who were punished. All the other culprits prospered and some of them continue to do so. The journalists too have prospered. One Army Officer in the finest tradition of the armed forces owned up his guilt, though the degree was ridiculous by today’s standards prevailing in the country. The media did not have the character to appreciate this act.

The Sukhna scam to begin with was projected as ‘unauthorized sale of defence land’ for ulterior motives. It took some days for the media to understand the case and later halfhearted clarifications were made that the issue under question was granting of NOC for a project involving a civil piece of land. There was no trail or proof or even direct allegation of exchange of money. The damage by then had been done.

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The media did not find it suitable to compliment the Army about being intolerant and sensitive about the act of impropriety. The whole case was drummed for at least for two weeks. The guilty have been punished after most swift dispensation of justice.

Compare the media enthusiasm about the crores of Rupees appropriated by the IAS couple. Has the media accepted the growing level of corruption in the bureaucracy and politics, as fate accompli? Do they feel that unless there is a scam of the magnitude of 2G Spectrum, there is no news value? Do they fear of legal and financial reprisal in exposing corrupt deeds of some very powerful people? Do they therefore find the Army as the most convenient prey?

This constant badgering of the Army by the media has begun to take its toll. Seeds of suspicion have been sowed in the public mind about corruption being growing phenomenon in the Army. Most of them is through exaggerated stories. Some are fabricated at the behest of inimical and anti-national elements thriving in India.

The only way the army can tackle them is by being transparent, bold and more interactive with the media. The senior army officers must defend the honour and reputation of their subordinates in prompt and cogent manner, if they are being unfairly tarnished. Leaders in the army cannot and should not continue with an image that has been sullied.

In an organization of the size of Indian Army, there will be shortcomings and unsavory incidents. The Indian Army therefore must continue to be introspective, but as an institution, it has nothing to be apologetic about.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

RSN Singh

is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research and Analysis Wing, or R&AW and author of books Asian Strategic and Military Perspective, The Military Factor in Pakistan and The Unmaking of Nepal. His latest books are Know the Anti-Nationals (English) and Know the एंटी-नेशनल्स (Hindi).

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