Thursday, October 17, 2013

Will they wait for a Tsunami to wake them up?

The Army - What’s gone wrong?

                                                                                   Karan Kharb                      

The Indian Army, besides being the world’s third largest, enjoys a unique status of professional excellence.  There is no other army in the world that is as battle hardened as the Indian Army that has fought and won in as treacherous terrain and climate as the world’s highest glacial battlefield. Only the Indian troops are shifted across operational theatres as diverse as the sultry forests of the North East, torrid sands of Thar desert, reed infested riverine borderline of Punjab, mountainous J&K and the entire expanse of icy Himalayas from Siachin in north Kashmir to Along in eastern Arunachal Pradesh. Besides the LoC/LAC on both fronts – Pakistan and China respectively – being incessantly active, the Indian Army has been fighting terrorists and insurgents to keep the country together.
Also, the Army’s role in relief operations during natural calamities or other emergencies has been universally lauded all through.  All this speaks very high of our officers and men at action level.     
Sadly, however, the Indian Army has been in the news for wrong reasons in the recent past. The Chinese Army brazenly intruded 19 km deep into the Indian territory, pitched tents and stayed on for days under the nose of the Indian Army even as the world watched us doing no more than complaining as we did in the post Mumbai 26/11 terror strike by Pakistan.  Again, the Chinese Army dared to cross into Arunachal Pradesh and physically wrestled and pushed the Indian troops out of their positions on ground. On the western front too, a repeatedly beaten Pakistan Army dared to intrude, behead and kill Indian troops in two different actions. These incidents have shamed us as a Nation.
With the veneer so damaged, the inner decay showed up damaging the high credentials of India’s military might. Chiefs of Army/Navy/Air Force have been reported/indicted for their unseemly role in scams. A growing number of major generals/lt generals have been found involved in scams and other acts of unspeakable misdemeanour. The rising number and frequency of such cases can no longer be brushed aside as ‘odd aberrations.’  As if that was not humiliating enough, there has been a spurt in unsavoury incidents involving officers and men at unit levels. In the profession of arms, leaders lead by personal example to inspire and motivate subordinates. The wrong examples have truly but horribly inspired subordinates – at least so it seems. Each incident raises painful questions. What has gone wrong with the Army that was so adored by public for its high traditions of discipline, chivalry, sacrifice and selfless devotion to the Nation?   Here are some answers and more questions.
The Officer Shortage
The net shortage of officers in the Army is said to be about 12000 at present. Surprisingly, all the shortage is at the ‘teeth’ level – the units required to fight and perform. There is no shortage at any Headquarters (from Brigade to Army Headquarters) or Establishments reputed for risk-free career advancing ‘graded’ tenures in peace locations.  Infantry units – the ubiquitous performing arm of the Indian Army – are managing with 8-10 officers posted against an authorised scale of 21, which obviously means that the workload on officers is more than twice their legitimate share. As a contrast, the higher headquarters not only have their full scale posted but also commandeer and ‘attach’ officers from the already over-stretched units. One should not be surprised if the number of such ‘attached’ officers at the Army Headquarters is over a hundred today.    
Quick-fix Solutions
Conscious of these crucial deficiencies but unable to convince the Government on crucial military needs, the authorities have devised a quick-fix solution to ‘solve’ the problem of ‘officer shortage’   post young officers on cross-attachment from the Services like ASC, AOC and so on to the infantry units deployed in field. Resultantly, it is common in units to find raw, untrained and unqualified lieutenants/captains officiating as Company Commanders. Often, more than one company/squadron are placed under command of a youngster even before he is mature and qualified enough to lead a platoon effectively in action.
Grooming Institutions demolished
Not too long ago in this very Army, we had systems to groom young officers under the care of seasoned field officers who would assign responsibilities, guide and educate youngsters to occupy their positions in due course. The luxury of having two officers – a company commander and his company officer – is no longer available to the commanding officers of today. The institution of Senior Subaltern also stands demolished. The youngster these days steps directly into the boots of his boss and flounders like an excited toddler in his father’s shoes flaunting his large acquisition. Who would refute the imminent fall in such a situation?
Officer-men Inter-action gone haywire
Overburdened officers always under pressure to meet deadlines in onerous tasking find little time to train, play or entertain with troops on a regular basis. Such a routine distances officers from the men. Being more educated, aware and conscious of his privileges, the modern jawan is quick to find/create alternative channels in such circumstances to seek remedies to his problems directly from the Commanding Officer who, in most cases, readily obliges – often ignoring/overruling recommendations of the subordinate commanders thereby proving the sub-unit commanders ineffective and unnecessary in the eyes of JCOs and men in the unit. Unwittingly, this practice has evolved into a dangerous trend – hunger for cheap popularity – even as objectivity and sincerity is diminishing in today’s Army.  Crisis to crisis they move on, compromise and accomplish somehow.   
Need to bridge the Cultural Divide
Unlike the Army of yester years, our jawans and their wives are all educated today, most of them having graduate and post-graduate degrees. Call it ‘ego’ if you must, but the modern jawan is imbued with a strong sense of ‘self-respect’.  Of course, he is entitled to preserve this core value of his character – a facet that will only make him a better inspired, motivated and committed soldier willing to be led by superior competence. Times have changed and altered societal equations and individual perceptions. No self-respecting soldier would volunteer for menial work in someone else’s home in today’s environments. It is nice that the Army is already taking steps to remedy this ticklish problem by replacing combatants with non-combatant sahayaks.
Another issue is the disparity in the entitlement of rations. There is no plausible logic to have any variation in this regard especially when officers and men come from the same stock of society and have similar eating habits.  
Also, there is a need for deeper introspection by officers to review their outlook and be more approachable in off-parade/office hours shedding their officious aura. Officers wives can help a great deal by readjusting their equations with the equally or more educated wives of other ranks. Any harm if the ‘Mem Sahib’ tag is replaced with ‘Madam’, ‘Didi’ or ‘Mrs…….’?      
‘Play-safe’ Attitude and Careerism
Most seniors would not like it; yet I feel this should be Point Number One because this flows straight from the top. Watch any cluster of senior officers at a party, seminar, meeting or even in travel and you will find them discussing nothing other than ACRs, postings, citation for awards, nomination for NDC, HC or their next best obsession – golf, cock-tails, single-malts, sponsored jaunts and sojourns and so on. Serious issues dampen their spirits. Even when they happen to touch upon something serious, they cautiously punctuate their revelation by the cliché clause, “Don’t quote me, but let me tell you……..”.  
Two of the most serious problems faced by the Military Secretary’s Branch at the Army Headquarters are inflated ACRs and representations against supersessions and postings, the former being the cause of the latter. Going by the prevalent ACR grading trend, it would appear that  the Army never had a more competent lot of so many officers in the top bracket of ‘above average’ and outstanding officers. In the same breath, however, every senior officer also whines, “Army no longer attracts the top cream of the Indian youth.” It is not because the ACR initiating/reviewing officers (IOs/ROs) are more generous.  In the days of moral degradation, guilt drives the senior to timidly submit to the aspirations of his junior because the latter is either privy to or a direct source/conduit of his senior’s exploits. Sadly, greed and ambitions are the bane of all that is wrong with the Army today.  
Transparency enhances Credibility
In times of see-though communication technology, it is neither feasible nor desirable to hide every military routine under the cover of ‘military security’.  Tons of military knowledge and information guarded by the Indian Army as ‘classified’ – secret and confidential – is openly and freely available on the Internet today. Spreading awareness among the masses about military capabilities, limitations and requirements will only buttress the Army’s case and force the reluctant Netas and Babus, who callously ignore serious issues despite judicial directions from the Armed Forces Tribunal and the Supreme Court, to sit up and take note.
Within the Army, there is a need to make all selection boards fully transparent allowing officers free access to their personal records, master data sheets and proceedings of the board. All information about postings and promotions should also be instantly posted on the MS Branch Intra-Net Website. Notings and recommendations on complaints and representations will be eventually brought within the purview of RTI. Therefore, there is a need to review the traditional military idea of defining and keeping ‘secrets’.   
The unsavoury incidents of officer-jawan duels are not ‘odd cases of indiscipline’; they are ripples on the surface warning us of a bigger storm building up somewhere deeper. It would be, therefore, fallacious to assume that the problem would be solved through a case-to-case approach like standard procedures of Courts of Inquiry and courts martial.  The need of the hour is an overhaul of officers’ traditional mind-set so as to adapt themselves to a realistic modern environment that cannot be wished away.  Only the last cynical will wait for a Tsunami to wake him up.


  1. Hi Karan,
    A very good piece. You have diagnosed and listed the issues very clearly an they manifest themselves on their own. Karan, I was looking forward to solutions to the problems. I did not find any attempt at that. May be you are coming out with another part to give us the answers to the questions you have raised. It would be very interesting to know your mind. I do have some suggestions but I will hold myself till I see your piece.
    Karan, I am of the opinion that as good soldiers, we are looking at the issues with a tunneled vision----- we are not looking at the way the society is transforming itself under the influence of materialistic aspirations of individuals, fired by Information Age. Long back Field Marshal Slim had observed that Army is woven into the social fabric of the nation. Therefore, army is deeply affected by the environments of the society, after all soldiers come from the same society. We have to factor this into our thinking before we consider any solution. If you allow, I will send you my piece on MILITARY LEADERSHIP IN THE 21st CENTURY.

    1. Sir, intellectuals at lower ranks when superior to officer ranks - leadership and discipline with command would become ??? Therefore, level of educatin has to be deeply looked into. I. Q. Will always matter. We have to have low education in field, transporting, loading,unloading (non-mental work) where total obedience is required. Hope it throws light to Flag Ranks. Regards,
      Daya Shanker Lal Srivastava Ex MCPO II Mumbai (09869657053).

    2. 1. Today the entry level Jawan is much educated, aware where as it is has not improved so for the offrs;rather the entry level youth attracted to the profession at offr level has gone down. therefore the qualitative gap between the two has reduced. In addition, call it shortage of offrs or their grooming, they don't stand tall in front of men, be it physicals, firing stds, fd craft etc. So what the men have in offrs to respect?
      2. Its high time Senior Offrs at helm to shout loud and clear and tell PM/ RM/ Def Sec that we are not attracting the desired quality of talent; which will have far reaching implications in years to come.
      3. The merit need to be respected and acknowledged for career progression; above lenyard/ regtl, regional affiliations; for which Sr offrs have to play lead role.
      4. Army cannot afford to have large superseded cadre; it can't move on with heavy bags; especially when such offrs become drag on the system. Army need to seriously address this issue. Our's is the only cadre with large base and few posts at the helm. Atleast offrs joining and giving their prime youth for this country must reach Joint Secretary level to increase the morale and attract right talent at entry level offrs.

    3. Shortage of officers does not matter but handling the subordinates matters. Principle: Firm,Flexibility and Politeness.

  2. Lt Gen SK Bahri6:38 pm

    Karan,a very good analysis of what afflicts the Army. I would like to add that there are three additional points that need to be addressed:
    a) When I was commissioned every officer used to aspire only to become CO of his bn/regt. The pension of a Lt Col, I saw three of them retire in the 1st 10 years and all lived comfortably within their pensions. Not possible now so every one works towards the gen rank. Services need enhanced pensions like other armies. Why cannot a CO on retirement draw a pension equivalent to a joint secretary. He drew much more than him before the 3rd CPC.
    b) My regt which is entitled 27 officers, has only 12 of them on "hard scale" even though it is in Siachen. Consequently, after catering for leave/courses/atts the CO has only 7-8 offrs left. After detailing OPs he has only 4 offrs left to handle the regt. Resulting in him spending 3-4 hrs daily, seeing jawans and sorting out their problems. So where is the offr-man relationship? The soldiers are more sophisticated and so need different handling as you cannot ride rough shod as it was 50-60 years ago.
    c) The salary structure of offrs is a handicap as it does not attract the better lot of candidates. Even though the services have good training systems but coupled with the shortage and the nurturing systems destroyed, as mentioned by you, we have a recipe for disaster. Signs of it maturing are there to see.
    Lt Gen SK Bahri (Retd)

    1. Sir,
      The only way to undo the damage is to go back to the old system, of separating the military compensation system from the civilian compensation system. I was commissioned in the Navy only in 1972 and therefore have no personal knowledge of what that system was. But if I believe all that is written on the subject, that a Lt Col, on retirement, got a pension equivalent to a senior civil servant, then at least one of the urges driving the mad scramble for ranks-namely greater emoluments and status will be reduced quite considerably. With that, one hopes that a number of other ills that have become part of the system will reduce as well. I wonder whether the military leadership will have the sagacity to accept that mistakes got made and those need to be undone rather than have replication of the civil service and police degradation continue to eat into military. i wonder whether it is realised THAT WHEN THE CIVIL ADMINISTRATION FAILS, THE ARMED FORCES ARE CALLED OUT BUT I AM NOT AWARE OF ANY ORGANISATION WITHIN THE COUNTRY THAT CAN BE CALLED UP WHEN THE ARMED FORCES FAIL.

    2. This refers to lt Gen SK Bahri's comments.

      (a) 1. In olden times, every officer aspired to become CO of his unit. True, but let me add, 'at least the CO'. Or else, how did officers become brig and generals; can't be by providence alone.

      (a) 2. The pension of a Lt Col even now is not bad; in reality, the difference in pension rates of Lt col, Col and Brig and Maj gen is hardly any.

      (a) 3. If a CO (col) is given the pension of a jt secy, what would be the pension of a brig,maj gen,lt gen and gen?

      (b) 1. Is it correct to say that the officer-men relationship soured because the posted strength of officers in units is less than the authorised? Can't it be said that when there are fewer officers, officer-men interaction should actually be better? If an officer spends 3-4 hours daily in sorting out jawans' problems, does he need any more time to establish and develop officer-men relationship ?

      (3) Is the current pay structure of the army officers bad? Don't they get decent perks and allowances now? I don't think that the army officers ever had so much of purchasing power that they have now. Earlier the one and a half or two years training with no allowances, at the acadamies was big pull back; now they get well paid even during their training. Look at the young officers' living style of today and compare it with the bycycle era of their counterparts in the 60s and 70s.

      4. There is a serious problem in the army, surely, and I don't think there is any quick fix solution to it. What we see now is the consecution of faulty interpretation of what is meant by professionalism. We have strayed from the men who became irrelevant to the scheme of things of the officers. Army, while in persuit of identifying and nurturing 'high-fliers' for higher ranks and appointments, neglected the fundamentals of officering, which was left to the mediocres. Go back to the basics; probably the only way to start undoing the malaise afflicted to the core of the organization.

      CP Nair

    3. all are talking about officers are not getting good pension. As mentioned in above article the intellectual and physical level of officers and jawan is very low and pay is officer is trice to jawans at intry level. Will you justify. any body takes up the matter! No, and it is discussed about officers. Why dont you decrease the gap and increase the departmental promotion cadre at junior level will be more effective at bottom line of officers. Take up such issue and I believe IAS officers too will consider it. They reject all your submission beacause you senior officers always raise the issue of offcers but not the jawans. Any the worst thing which will turn in thunder is all bloody your sahayak pattern. better wakw up.

    4. Sir, reality exists here. There must not be frustration. It would be only possible when you recruit those at lower ranks who are non-matric

  3. Anonymous7:55 pm

    Karan it was nice to read your views. I suppose every one in military hierarchy knows the gray areas highlighted by you. But what is the remedy? In fact the defence forces have become tools in the hands of the people who are not accountable for rot that has set in and its results. To day, kind courtesy the internet,media and little more awareness, we realise that how badly the defence forces have been treated and downgraded by the prevailing system.The army is like a sword if it is allowed to gather rust it will be of no use when one has to use it. It is a serious issue. The people who matter,in uniform or otherwise, must act fast.

  4. Anonymous9:07 pm

    An excellent article. I would like to add to the problem of shortage of officers in the Army. Although there is deficiency of officers at the lower levels.We have made the problem worse by introducing number of courses just to feed the trg est (white elephant). On top of it we are sending the officers on study leave despite having almost all types of trg est/colleges run by the services.This needs a relook to addres the shortage of officers in the Army

    1. Anonymous10:02 pm

      Since the comment has been posted as anonymous, I shall reply as such too.

      The problem is not that officers are being sent on study leave despite the shortages. it is that the wrong type of officers are being sent on study leave. Study leave is treated as type of paid holiday available only to those in final years/ already passed over; so taken to take a break, get a house built, childrens' critical study years etc; just anything that doesn't require actual study. It would be better if it was also opened up for junior officers to actually study and make use of education gained.

    2. Anonymous8:29 pm

      I cannot comment about the Army.In the Air Force Study leave is strictly for those performers or the "Select" lot and not for timescale promotees.This is primarily to release vacancies in the Cadre to accommodate more.

    3. Anonymous10:02 pm

      In air force also people(only officers) go on study leave i.e, picnic ,they can be utilized for on job at nearest locations as most of the non commissioned air warriors are per suing their studies despite demanding schedules at sqns and ops units.on the part of "select",the selection should be open to all irrespective of rank which will bring out the best out of the organization,which will be beneficial for the country ultimately.

  5. Anonymous9:20 pm

    Dear sir,
    The comments given are very apt..but who will bell the cat is the question? or who wants to be a part of change when he has just 2 years left and is about to retire having lived and enjoyed his status as senior officer.. I feel now that junior officer welfare too equally assumes a great importance. thanks to the trg academies that young officers are still not complaining, or is someone ready to listen to them?.. Are they still considered immature. And can someone please stop these AWWA activities ..oh sorry..many rise in the ranks because of these ...and still party culture??

    1. Anonymous11:38 am

      There goes a nail o the head!

  6. Anonymous10:41 pm

    Dear Sir , Well addressed articles on the modern Army needs. All officers are talking about officers' problem in the comments where has respected author has addressed officers and Jawans equally . I thanks to author for writing a eye opening articles on today;s need of defence forces. I would like to bring in the notice of senior officers who are on the higher posts in Air Force. This problems is not in army, in army every jawan gets his 90 days (60+30) entitled leave every year whereas in Air force allmost all the senior officers thinks there birthright in curtailing the leaves of Airmen. There are several directives comes out from different COs/ AOsC giving there own rules in granting the leaves , Some off the examples are : 1. Casual leaves will be granted only if a airman has finished at least 30 days annual leave. 2 All leave are restricted to a maximum of 45 days in a year etc. Such types of directives are found in each air force units/stations. MOD is on the opinion of to be soft on the leave sanctions to the Jawans. Army has heeded towards this opinion but Air force does not bother to the MOD directions and continue to do as they like. Even today Air force is highest in the suicide rates. When the Air Force will wake which is running on the feet of olden Army,

  7. Anonymous5:33 am

    Resentment due to molly coddling of lady officers. No special postings, no protected appointments, no fathering,If ladies are officers just treat then like any other officer.
    Try and introduce ladies as Other Ranks first then as Officers. Lets not fool ourselves
    we can hardly manage the normal officers and you are introducing another joker in the pack.

  8. Questions are known...answer no where. This is not the problem of Army...this is a national problem.Our ethos and dignity has gone to gutter. We as Indians have no sense of pride...we are individuals roaming in a jungle of despair. We are selfish to the core.Look at the dirty politics in this nation,look at the gagged& self serving media,Look at the over burdened judiciary,Look at the use of police by politicians as servants,look at the lawlessness all around,look at the soaring prices and inflation,look at the rapidly falling moral value,look at the population bomb ready to explode on our noses and look at the scams & loot every where. Why blame ARMY alone.......people in the army go from this corrupt society only. Army is still much is free for all on the streets Col Kharb......Let us not slaughter ARMY like this. The feud and falling standards is the result of disorientaion of vour society and our values.Please ponder.

  9. Anonymous7:21 pm

    Dear Karan,
    An old soldier once quipped "I am comfortable with Fore-Sight and Backsight of my do not bother me with Insight and Hindsight....!"
    The genesis of these turn of events lie in three issues - none of which are being given more than lip service .
    The first is following laid down and traditional Unit Routine & Trg. The sys as a whole has got so used to attempting to impress everyone by doing Abnormal Things (...and rewarding those who do everything other than their job!) that it has forgotten that True Professionalism is "Doing Normal Things.... Abnormally Well". What is probably more worrying is that the trend continues.........
    The second issue is the shortage of `Good' Officers. We are so engrossed with the issue of shortage of Officers that we have chosen to side-step the core issue - the shortage of `Good' Officers. So systemic changes and actions which would ensure that atleast the existing officers get groomed & trained to be `Good' has been consistently been overlooked. What we have instead done is outsourced the task to the CO - who w/o adequate offrs of the requisite seniority and capability (remember all the competent, qualified offrs of worthwhile seniority are sitting in fmns pushing files) can actually do little. Imagine our plight where we feel a competent offr is by QR more essential in the fmn then in the unit. What is surprising is that systemically it has been covered up by stating that it is for optimum career growth of offrs. Can one think of another org that places indl growth above Org well being? .....and would it not be surprising if in such an environment , the message that indl growth is more imp than Org well being is absorbed & digested by all offrs in the sys! .....Then why blame them if the thirst after coveted appts and promotions.....that is what you taught them is'nt it!
    The third is the inability to select and train Junior Leaders - and then to instill responsibility and accountability in them - to make up for the shortfall of Offrs. It would not require rocket science to understand that QR and Seniority (the present mode of selecting Junior leaders) only leads to re-inforcing mediocrity. The failure to change to Merit-cum-seniority at least at the point of selection to JCO rank is most intriguing. How could you have a bulk of your Jr Ldrs selected on such mediocre criteria and expect them to suddenly become responsible and accountable - once again leaving the CO to do the grooming of Junior Leaders?....Pray with what resources?
    Unfortunately these things require 'real work' to get done - who has the time or the inclination when all that truly interests anyone is his tenure...his `Chit'..his privilege?...Chetwood be damned....

    1. Anonymous3:05 am

      Well said, The shortage is Pseudo shortage..... Only units face them.....If you see formations they are over staffed...... Lets see Army head quarters alone...100s of officers posted as additional officer ( all officers who wear temporary cards)...who could have done good to the unit are just posted as they are gods own men of few good men above.......

    2. Anonymous8:31 am

      ''The failure to change to Merit-cum-seniority at least at the point of selection to JCO rank is most intriguing.'' The quoted sentence is of spme army personnel. but this experiment is exrecised in Air Force by replacing seniority cum minimum performance based policy with Merit cum seniority based policy since 2003. The fruit of this has beeb very bitter by air force, Due to this a lot of inexperienced junior Ors has become JCO by the benefit of this policy. Now Air Force does not find a way to tackle these inexperience and undesirable JCOs,. What a pity ? still this wrong promotion policy of selection bases on the merit cum seniority is continued. There are lot of excellent , experience , qualified senior personnel has been deprived of becoming JCOs hence they have also started passing the time as a inexperience junior person is sitting on their head. God will save the orgnisation.

  10. Anonymous10:07 pm

    These problems are due to arrogant and demanding attitude of senior lot who want to be treated like gods, notwithstanding their devilish character. Chuna-geru, AWWA, party, ACR and power point presentation culture have killed professionalism in Army. Look at the glaring disparity in the standard of living between junior and senior ranks even amongst the officers, leave aside comparison between officers and jawans.

  11. This artice reminds me of a lesson i read in my class x... purani peedi vs nayi peedi.....The old always feel they were the best and the present lot are scrap..... But I say who is responsible for this.... It is you old guys.... who created this shit.... the young are carrying it on....... I could see generals commenting... wat meaningful things have you done while in service.....except speaking now after hanging uniform and blabbering your experiences...... Wake up..... u guys have not done anything while u were in service... now atleast do one service... keep your holes shut..... dont bring out our short commings that everyone in the forces know, whom are you trying to tell, is it the civillians?.... If you want to do something... fight for the forces with govt so that the get the NFU, DACP etc.... thats it

    1. Anonymous8:41 am

      Dear Raj , I think you are also from those privileged juniors who are enjoying the benefit of being at service headquarters instead of sweating in field . What wrong Mr Karan has said in his article? is not the situation now ? How you can say that this man has not done any thing while he was in service. See Major Navdeep Singh (Retd) , how he is serving the army without in uniform still by bringing all the judicial reform to the notice of us by his blogs. Instead of shutting mouth of these hero you should shout your hole

  12. Sir,
    There are two reasons my points of view wont have any takers
    1 I am from the air force.
    2 I am from the look of it extremely junior in the forum.
    However here goes nothing,
    I my short exposure of about two decades I have seen that mediocre CO's who value irrelevant things and like yes men and who themselves are poor professionals themselves.... such poor examples invariably propagate officers like themselves. Also the bad guys cause long term damage to the service due to their capacity to survive.... but the flip side is good guys too abound, and I see good guys doing well too, unfortunately not as well as the bad guys..... Sir any feedback is welcome

    1. Anonymous11:12 pm

      I concur with you friend.

  13. Sir it was an outstanding observation of issues causing problems in the services.

  14. Anonymous6:08 pm

    The article is good but how many people reading such type of comments or views. The need of the hour is to spread such views among non military personnel. Hence above think tanks should also give a thought on this. But one thing is clear that Forces should not be like indian democracy.

  15. Anonymous9:51 pm

    I fully endorse your views. A mere survey of the bungalows/flats in Gurgoan/ Metros of our Generals post retirement tell their own story. Most belong to the middle class so where did so much opulence come in. The second thing I would like to mention is the term SALARY PROTECTION after an officer becomes a CO ie. living off the Establishment and govt. Thus none can and will open his mouth for any relevant issue. The OLD TIMERS need not gloat. You were as corrupt, only there no transparency. Our senior officers want higher rank and allied perks not higher responsibility. So we have short zero error short command tenures and long staff tenures.
    The way ahead. All tenures from CO to Divisional cdr be three years. Command of a Corps and ONE Army two years. Officers to become CO with 20 yrs service. That will give the unit 4 to 5 senior officers that are required desperately. The selection rate in No 3 SB will go up by 10 to 15%. Kargil happens once in a while. The present CO has to deal with HR and Media trials, troop and his family problems, that were not there in the 70s. Today no Cdr holds the COs hand. Short Army tenures in the rank of Brig and above is detrimental to the military. A tenure of 3 Years should be mandatory. If it temporarily effects our promotion so be it. For GOD sake reduce inter bn competitions. Or better if you have the GUTS introduce an Inter Div Signals, EME, ASC and Ord competitions. We can only BLAME our FMN CDRS when our Services do no deliver. They will take no concrete action as most have a cut.

  16. Anonymous10:21 pm

    The best chief we had was Sunderji rest were all people we will never remember a year after they retire

  17. Anonymous10:27 pm

    THE ARMY is only AWWA , LADIES club and regtl offrs. GROW UP after becoming a BRIG forget ur Regt please. In reality ur imposing ur self on ur Regt for facilities however , its only the CO who is trying to rub off some benifit off u for himself personally. See the latest spectacle of the MERRUT Incident. GROWW UPPPP

  18. Anonymous6:28 pm

    I do not agree with the best chief concept. what are the yardsticks for best chief what Gen Sunderjit did which others could not do, gentleman it is only matter of time. The MERI REGIMENT, MERI UNIT MERA CDR MERA GENERAL has grown up so badly that I have seen many men of other corps saying we do not have any mai baap. I have gone through the views of those who do not want separate pay commission, yes they are right because we are our own enemies, certainly in order to get supremacy over other arm or service we will let our own arm or service down. The paramount requirement of today's army is to get disconnected from politician and be a disciplined force only

    1. YES! some of us donot want separate Pay Commission for the reasons that the Babus will make fool of us once again because what they would have crafted for themselves wont be told to us before the final orders are issued. Maj Navdeep had very clearly expressed his views on this issue in previous blogs, worth reading.

  19. Anonymous10:04 pm

    how sad state of affairs. is it lack of leadership or Hypocrisy at its height. We are more into TBM and PBM ie. Tenure based or Personality based Management. Though caste system was long abolished in India......we still differentiate our officers and jawans based on unit, branch, trade, region, religion etc. a severe cancer affecting the armed forces.

  20. Anonymous8:38 am

    Dear Col, please also write about the corruption and non-senses present in army. What do you think about Sahayak System, why airforce and navy not required this system. You may be well known with the employment of soldiers, around 30% percent soldiers are employed other than regimental duties, just for the officers. Have you every try to know about the shortage of JCO and Other Ranks. Who perform the duties of wrongly employed soldiers. Just making hue and cry on the shortage of officers. Look at 6th Pay Commissionn, firstly the Lt Gen get the HAG, then the Lt Col get PB-4. What about PBOR, have they got enhance in military service pay or they get 70% weightage in pension. No because the officer are doing only for themselves, all are mum for PBOR.

    1. Sir. We must not compare ourselves. Active defence personnel should send their grievances to IESA to put up before GOI When matter is discussed , pressurise your point of view for consent. We must not let down Defence Immage.The curruption will prevail when GOI will ignore Defence. Daya Shanker Lal Srivastava Ex MCPO II, Mumbai(07738115388) .

  21. Anonymous12:04 pm

    shortage of offrs is due to posting of offrs in civ organisations e.g about 1000 offrs are posted in MES for a job for which any civ engg graduate can be recruited. These offrs are enjoying military benefits doing nothing there apart from indulging in wide spread corruption. Similar is the story of offrs posted other civlian org like BRO, DGQA, DRDO CQAE etc

  22. Anonymous8:24 pm

    I have some different views on two above comments. The first one is not aware about the welfare of JCO and OR nowdays. The commentor is not aware that what is the increase of pay & allowances took place for junior ranks in the defence forces. upto 3rd or even 4th pay commission the difference of pay of newly sepoy and newly 2nd Lieut was more than 10 times but see now it is just 2 to 3 times. The standard of living of junior ranks have gone up. How this happened it is due to the foresight of senior level officers.

    As regards sahayak system. It is wrong to abolish such system rather it should be refined. It is responsibility of JCO to encourage them. It is not a menial job. I have met many jawans who very proudly says sir I was your Buttman. Please see the true value behind this world BUTT man.

    Please do not mistook me. why I am highlighting this because the unrest among junior rank if any should be addressed, they are the true companion of officers, officers men relationship can never be resolved by having such type of thoughts of junior ranks.

    1. Anonymous12:23 pm

      Dear, all this reduction in gap is not due to senior officer due to the ministry of defence. People have made word BUTTMAN as a proud word, I know so many of my friend officers who are serving in J&K while one buttman and driver is provided to the family residing in Delhi. True value of BUTTMAN is a Bhaiyya in uniform nothing more than that. Please also tell why Airforce and Navy is not required this system.

    2. what nonsense you are talking about. who will feel pride to say so.the group of your mentality is the cause of such disater in the army.

  23. The article is well thought of not only in context of Army but for Air Force also. Few points are also worth pondering such as SSC, tenure of 10 years and no surety of PC. Most of the young men join defence not just job but to fullfill their dreams of donning OG or Blue but soon they find their dreams grounded and face uncertain future. Our own organisations do not care for the aspirations and expectations. It has become very difficult to find the commanders with decision making capability, most of the senior officers especially in blue to follow TBM (Tenure Based Management), An officer has to suffer not only for the basic rights and priveleges such as accommodation and his TyD claims etc but even the discrimination due to corps, branch and type of commission etc. The gap of shortage is very unlikely to come down in the present circumstances unless the house is set in order. We frequently blame the bureaucrats and outsiders but never try to amend our crab habits. The colonial mindset has to change before expecting any improvement in the system and expectations from youth.

  24. Maj M2:32 am

    An institution that was once the most sought after, is now overlooked by most. This is the hallmark of any system that fails to evolve with time, remains myopic and self-glorifying. My firm belief is that the Armed Forces (AF) failed to meet internal challenges first, and then moved on to losing external challenges as well.
    When the civilian society started shedding its lethargy, embraced liberalisation, both economic and moral, the AF withdrew ever more tightly into its shell. The core role and objective was forgotten, or rather, not updated. On one hand, the feudalistic structure and traditions remained, new nonsense like AWWA, Ladies Clubs, Golf competitions etc started evolving, which have now become more important that soldiering. But I believe that the greatest damage was to the moral fiber, and that led to everything else.
    I fully am sympathetic to the fact that the AF should be at par, at least, with the equivalent civilian services. But by looking at how civilians were earning, and indulging in gross impropriety, financial and moral, the internal challenge of maintaining a clean organization was conveniently flushed down the drain. The moral turpitude crept into their standing vis a vis the civilian bureaucracy as well. You can have an upright stance and conviction only when you have two things: Capability, and Moral authority. Ambition is irrelevant. Ambition without these two characteristics is what has killed the AF's soul. That is how by internal rot the AF could never stem the external rot.
    The last thing that could have stemmed the downfall was insight. Dishonesty crept here too, and we have continued to glorify our capabilities. This will fall flat in the face of a superior adversary. One needs to look at the Chinese incursions to realize this.
    A system can be rectified only if all the internal workings of the system agree that they are at fault, and a repair is needed. This needs the system to be taken apart. In the context of the AF, that is a very painful process. But this radical surgery is needed. Simply crying hoarse about shortages is nonsense. Senior military leadership can take on the government on this matter aggressively. I am sure the AF has enough dirt on the civilian bureaucracy. It should try leaking that, instead of displaying disagreements amongst its senior officers in public. That disagreement too probably stems from nepotism, caste and religion-based liaisons etc, another sign of moral downfall.
    So to all members of this forum who belong to the Armed Forces who keep blaming the government: Stop crying injustice, learn to look inward, take pains to clean and keep your own house in order, and accept change as part of evolution.
    I too belong to the same system, am a proud member of the AF, and would like to see this institution evolve into what it always meant to me, and the reason I left the comforts of my home unlike my siblings or anyone else ever in my khandaan.
    Jai Hind

  25. Anonymous10:47 am


  26. Thanks for writing such an interesting piece of information. Its great that now our seniors have began to realised the socio-economic changes the counrty has undergone during past 20 years. Its high time when the undue gap between the officer and jawan be reduced to a more practical level.

  27. All ranks in the Armed Forces in 50s got 80% of their last pay as their pension simply because they retired 10 to 20 years earlier than their civil counterparts.This was always the sore point with all civil servants. I am told that all the CHIEFs agreed for bringing it down to 50% just bacause Pt Jawaharlal Nehru requested the Chiefs to accept this kind of reduction due to the financial problems the Country was facing then. Presumably the service CHIEFs in good faith agreed on this point thinking that it was just a temporary phase/one time adjustment. Has anyone ever bothered to restore our pension to 80% of last pay drawn as before ? ?. If not 80 atleast 70% ? ?

    1. Sir, possibly no one knows this fact to day . God Bless US.
      Daya Shanker Lal Srivastava Ex MCPO II, Mumbai (07738115388)

  28. Sir, request if you can raise three issues at the highest level;

    (a) Cut down 10 percent strength at all fmns and post them to the units. "Smart and career conscious offrs' no more want to serve in units. Instr, staff, foreign, ADC and other cushy postings are landing them as a CO in field as the first exposure where leader-led relationship matters. Most of the COs are not behaving like leaders but like 'Kings'. The units are toiling and the fmns are there in the golf course/auditorium. A statistical check on grnd will prove this correct. The culture of confs/seeking opinions in units is dying down..pers are heard saying " hoga wohi jo CO sahab ya unki madam chahenge". We need to discuss and not be an autocrat.

    (b) The ACR system needs a rethink and that too ASAP. Corrupt offrs at the top of the ladder at all levels are definitely pulling up the ones who sing to their tunes. Birds of the same feather flock together.

    (c) Lets not demean our own men and offrs by ensuring that they get substantially less pay and 'Perks' to let them remind of their class. There is a caste system culture devp in the Army. Why cant we have promotions for all till the Brigs level to improve motivation and morale as well as intake of able youth. Remarks like' its not possible with our system' isnt an answer which is not thought of and lacks vision. Have we tried to at least work on that. If the CPOs can have it why cant we.

    Its like, restore the status parity with other services.. rest of the things will follow. In my wishful thinking this would go a long way in ensuring a strong Army. But these views

  29. Anonymous12:35 am

    I believe the article is good, but would like to add few things...lets take the example of the Selection Board No 3 for the officers of the rank of Lt Col to be promoted to the rank of Col in Army of Jun 2013. The fresh batch had 72 officers and old batch officers were 110. This is i am talking about one of the Corps of Army. Now out of those 72 fresh cases 18 made it. Out of which 13 were staff college (DSSC and TSOC) rest 5 were IIT Mtech types. now the old batch 5 i would like to say they were lucky to get to the next rank. Now you see those 54 officers of the fresh batch have superseded i mean some of them will still make it in next board but the result is there in front of you.
    Now where are the vacancies. When a second command is offered to a person even after commanding one unit. How come, not understood, Why?? a big question. If the Maj Gen sahab likes some officers face he makes it. somebody makes it because of his caliber.
    Is the DSSC and TSOC is a decider. If he wins the War on a Power point presentation can he be a good leader. a Big question.
    I will give you one more example. One of the prestigious course is the Junior commanders course (JC Course) Now you see i was a part of this and the topper happened to be from my Division. Now you see the sharp memory of this officer. he is speaking in front of the instructor as it is from the book without seeing, writing in the exam as it is in the book. A question was asked to the instructor to which he replied if you remember it by heart you will never fail in your life (agreed for time being). Now this same officer after awarded best student and all goes back to his paltan (unit where he belong to). now you see i am actually part of this again. in that situation we were tasked to some tactical things in the unit. this officer and i was a part of the same task. after about 3 hours we had to take rest and i sited few soldiers with me to a tactically located location where as this officer decided to not to be located tactically since the place is not hygienic. remember we are in LC environment. anytime can be attacked by the terrorist but eventually this had to happen. i being the course mate i told him to come to the hiding on which he replied that he will prefer to stay separate hence i told few personnel to go along with him. next day when were back in the unit i asked him a simple question about his behavior and told him that the you are a JC topper you dont remember what you were taught or what hard work you did in the course to which he replied and i quote" partner its all a game, people get impressed with you and you get good grading, now i dont even remember anything if you ask me, it was just for the course and story finished" i am very sure this officer will pick up his next rank since now he has also cleared the DSSC along with me.(I don't know my fate cause i have already suffered because of my NO saying attitude :) ).
    I would certainly expect comments from my colleagues here and senior officers on this issue, this will bring out the exact cause of disparity and degree of satisfaction level going down in the officers cadre.

    High regards