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Updated: September 30, 2013 00:11 IST

The general and his stink bombs

Srinath Raghavan
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The government’s attempt to fix the former army chief and his brazen response point to the growing dysfunction in civilian-military relations and the political leadership’s unwillingness to address it

The ongoing furore over former army chief General V.K. Singh has turned the spotlight on the dysfunctional relationship between our democracy and the military. The entire sequence of events starting from General Singh’s public appearance with Narendra Modi to the leaking of a report about his activities as army chief and his response to the allegations has dealt a deep blow to the institutions of national security. The ‘apolitical’ character of our armed forces and their subordination to the political leadership are routinely taken for granted. But these norms and institutional arrangements are not forces of nature. They were deliberately and carefully nurtured in the early years of the republic. Events of the past few days underline the fact that these are now under unprecedented stress. The media’s attention and public interest will wane soon, but the process of repairing the damage done will take long.

Injured innocence

Consider, for a start, the general’s holding of hands with Mr. Modi on a political platform, soon after the latter was declared the prime ministerial candidate of the Bharatiya Janata Party. The ostensible reason was General Singh’s desire to advance the cause of ex-servicemen, particularly their demand that the government adopt a policy of ‘one-rank, one-pension.’ Adopting an air of injured innocence, General Singh has claimed that his agenda was not political but nationalist. Surely the general was not unaware of the burgeoning links between the BJP and groups of ex-servicemen? Indeed, in the wake of the controversy, the president of Tamil Nadu BJP Ex-Servicemen Cell has circulated a note openly exhorting former soldiers to directly involve themselves in politics. The note adds for good measure that the BJP should be their party of choice owing to its “nationalistic outlook, candour, integrity of showing equal concern to all religions and their unfailing support for the Indian Armed Forces.”

In effect, General Singh has given his imprimatur to such brazen attempts at politicising associations of ex-servicemen and, at one remove, the armed forces themselves. For, the professional and social ties linking retired and serving personnel are very strong and there is no way of creating a fire-wall between them. It is wrong to assume that this trend of politicisation is of recent origin and is triggered by the agitation of ex-servicemen over pensions. Even if the government concedes their demands, this trend is unlikely to be easily reversed. The central problem is the dilution of the institutional ethos and norms within the armed forces. In a context of economic growth and expanding opportunities, the armed forces are no longer content simply to ‘serve with honour’ or to place ‘service before self’. The challenge for the military leadership is to craft new norms and practices that help bridge the growing gap between the armed forces and Indian society. So long as the military feels tempted to place its corporate interests above its institutional identity, it will remain susceptible to politicisation — especially by parties that claim to be best placed to advance these interests.

The leaking of an internal army inquiry shortly after General Singh’s appearance with Mr. Modi suggests that it was done deliberately to discredit the former army chief. Irrespective of the facts of the case, this is appallingly irresponsible. But it is also symptomatic of a civilian leadership that is unwilling to fix the flaws in the relationship between the government and the armed forces. The apathy of the political leadership has had a two-fold institutional impact. First, the military feels that political control has degenerated into bureaucratic control. An archaic institutional structure that keeps the armed forces headquarters separate from the Ministry of Defence has encouraged an adversarial relationship between the military leadership and the bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence. It is in this context that such a sensitive report has been leaked.

Second, the political leadership has also been unwilling to assert its prerogatives on a range of issues. In the past few years, the political leadership has shied away from pulling up the military even when the latter transgressed into the political domain. Think of the army’s opposition to withdrawal from Siachen and to the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act. By publicly portraying both issues as ‘operational’ rather than policy matters, the army effectively hobbled the government’s political posture. Even more egregious was General Singh’s decision to take the government to court over the question of his extension. The right political response would have been to sack him. Instead the Defence Minister went out of his way to deny that there was any problem between the government and the army chief. The flip side to this disinclination to keep the military in its place is the tendency to resort to leaks and insinuations — actions that undermine both the morale of the military and national security.

Grim consequences

The consequences of the recent disclosures and of General Singh’s sweeping and tactless response are likely to be grim. At the very least, they have given a serious setback to the democratic process in Jammu & Kashmir. The legitimacy of all parties and groups that have participated in this process has been indelibly tainted. The army’s claims about winning the ‘hearts and minds’ of the people have been shredded to bits. The anti-India groups have been handed a propaganda coup on the platter. Picking up the pieces is going to be a long and arduous process. In the face of these developments, New Delhi’s habitual complacency over Kashmir could prove disastrous.

That said, the episode also raises troubling questions about the role of intelligence agencies in a democratic system. Political control of intelligence is in some ways analogous to political control of the military. As with the military, the intelligence agencies are expected to be professionally competent and efficient, and yet responsive to civilian authority and judgment. Striking an optimum balance between efficiency and control, expertise and legitimacy in the functioning of intelligence is all the more difficult owing to an undeniable requirement: that of secrecy. The issue of secrecy is a particularly thorny one in democracies, for this form of government is premised on openness, well-functioning circuits of information and robust debate. Yet, there is an obvious need to keep the activities of intelligence agencies away from the public glare and restricted to the smallest possible circle within the government.

The problem is further complicated by the fact that even within an intelligence agency, information is shared on a strict need-to-know basis. The requirement of secrecy naturally provides wide latitude to the agencies and limits the extent of executive control. Further, many supplementary methods of exercising top-down control — statutory audits and inspections, investigations by law-enforcement agencies, close legislative scrutiny, coverage by the press — are difficult to apply to intelligence agencies. If these methods are to be effectively employed, it will necessitate greater diffusion of knowledge about the agencies’ activities.

Historically, the agencies have seldom shied away from exploiting these limits to political oversight. Take the case of the Intelligence Bureau. After independence, the IB continued to maintain close links with its former parental organisation, the MI5. Recently released MI5 documents show that the first director of the IB, T.G. Sanjevi Pillai, cooperated with British officials in keeping a tab on the Indian high commissioner to London, V.K. Krishna Menon — a man they deeply distrusted for his alleged communist leanings. Examples can easily be multiplied.

The nub of the problem is the absence of legislation that governs the functioning of the various intelligence agencies, including military intelligence. This is an essential prelude to other oversight mechanisms such as an active parliamentary standing committee on intelligence. The intelligence agencies must be accountable — and not just to their political masters.

The response to current imbroglio will require concerted action on several fronts: by the military, by the political leadership and by Parliament. Business as usual is no longer an option.

(A former infantry officer, Srinath Raghavan is Senior Fellow at Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi)

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1. A Leak originating (likely) from PMO are not recent. Earlier too a
top secret report on preparedness/ shortages in Army war stores was
leaked as was the nonsensical story about a purported coup. "Service
before self" cannot and must not mean service to an unscrupulous
bureaucracy or an unpastetriotic coalition Government concerned only
with dynastic succession or politics at expense of the national
interest, More so when an officer of an all India service working in
the PMO is guilty of violating the Official Secrets Act and not a
whimper, much less a detailed criminal investigation is heard of

2. One question totally off the table is conduct of the MoD. All
finances related to arms procurement are an exclusive prerogative of
MoD. With tens of reports of kickbacks and commission to politicians
and bureaucrats there is no prosecution thus far in the over 60 years
since independence. While Civilian control of Armed Forces is talked
of, who will monitor the MoD babus ? Sorely needed.

from:  P Sharma
Posted on: Oct 2, 2013 at 12:01 IST

Srinath Raghavan has written a commendable article on the military -
political relationship.There is no doubt that the Political leadership
has been responsible for the state of affairs because of their immature
political thought process but that does not mean that the military
leadership cannot be defaulted.Gen Singh needed to keep that tad bit of
caution that he still had a responsibility towards the uniformed even
though he was out of it.May be that is what he forgot to learn from
Anna.

from:  cdr g sondur
Posted on: Oct 2, 2013 at 08:34 IST

@Col JP Singh, What do you mean by these lines? "Tamper with its fabric and everybody knows who gets hurt.", "So don't play with fire." who you are giving these warnings to?
This is a democratic country and every institution here should be subservient to the government which is elected by the people of this country. If your problem is with the excesses of buearucracy you fight with that and let me tell you that so-called 'babus' also should be subservient to the elected representatives of the people. The problems of excesses of buearucracy, corruption, redtapism etc. are not just limited to the Army as you might be thinking, these are everywhere. We need a collective but yet democratic struggle against these problems.
The general public (which I am a part of) has tremendous respect for the Army and its personnel, we know that they are a 'smart lot' and that is why we can feel safe in our homes but the attitude you've shown in your comments does not deserve that respect.

from:  Hamsa
Posted on: Oct 2, 2013 at 04:39 IST

Good article

Military professionals should freely join politics as any other
citizen on the country. India needs the discipline and dedication that
the forces teaches its members.

The IAS is a failed machinery due to poor quality politicos who boss
them. Its best that we get all people of credible repute to come on
board otherwise things look bleak for this country

The Government always believes it can do no wrong and can push prople
around. They need a punch in face. Its was asked for a given freely.

from:  albert savio
Posted on: Oct 1, 2013 at 21:09 IST

What is wrong with all you people about why the General is being so
vocal? It is a democracy and EVERYTHING should be out in the OPEN,
period!
The more information that is out there, better the choices people can
make, it is that simple. Grow up people!

from:  Rove Kasparov
Posted on: Oct 1, 2013 at 18:56 IST

It is so because service bureaucracy is trying to assert over army
through political bureaucracy. This must stop first.

from:  Keshav Prasad
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 22:18 IST

Mr Raghvan sounds very British and Colonialistic about how the Army should remain subservient and be brow beaten by the babus and the Government. What he should remember is that a man who looses his self esteem looses himself. That's precisely been the efforts of the Babudom of Indian Politic. They are numerous efforts to brow beat the Armed Forces in many ways. It is a dangerous trend in two ways. One the Officer class is demoralized - consequences are better known. Second they have a rebound reaction and become belligerent - again very dangerous for the country. Therefore it makes good sense to treat the Army well and keep it functional as a well oiled machine. Tamper with its fabric and everybody knows who gets hurt. The Army cant be kept under the wraps, changing time and social environment has to be factored into the Army way of life. These are no jack boot soldiers there are a smarter lot and much more smart than anybody thinks. So don't play with fire.

from:  Col JP Singh
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 21:38 IST

It is tragic that any anti-Pak statement or action wins popular vote in
India in contrast to Pakistan where hate-India mob is in a miniscule
minority. Obviously what the general stated was to gain a political
status and I am sure with Modi his role-model, we will witness a vibrant
majority, anti-friendly to neighbour-Pakistan. Does not augur well for
'amn ki aasha.'

from:  aslam minhas
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 21:19 IST

Politicisation of the armed forces or ex-service men is wrong. Mr. V.K.
Singh is the crusader for this mistake simply for personal reasons and
gains. The party which supports him is just aiming political gain. There
is no national interest here. The revelations in the recent past and
admissions by Mr. V.K. Singh on such matters stand proof for what he is.

from:  D. Darwin Albert Raj
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 19:25 IST

Srinath, the fact that all the surviving COAS have given a signed
letter denying what this man claimed on public television shows what
his credibility is.
No country can have all the tenets of civil-military aspects on paper.
There will always be a need for maturity and understanding on both
civilian leadership and the military one to serve national objectives.
The fact is: the military are the professionals in this relationship!
In my living memory I have never come across a single senior officer
ready to vent his spleen in public so brazenly as this man has for the
last two years. Being a member of the armed forces...I feel deeply
ashamed that we have such leaders....
The Govt is archaic, the military is also dominated upon by the
bureaucracy-undoubtedly!But within the military domain itself how have
we fared? Have we been professional? Always? Truthful? Consciously
committed?....the answer is probably NO. This warrants honesty
reappraisal and reform both inside and outside military!

from:  kvkolal
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 17:03 IST

Srinath, do not be so generalistic in apportioning blame to the Govt
in this sordid saga and so quickly. The General must remember that he
was in employment of the people of India. Therefore his loyalty should
always be to this paymaster! His deeds/words or anything he does or
does'nt ought to be in the best interests of this nation. A mere news
paper article does not complicit the govt. (Wonder why the other media
houses never deemed that string meaty!) So to have reacted so
brazenly..tactlessly is mild! is ridiculous and unbecoming of a retd
COAS. It clearly shows what he is ready to do to further his ends! If
anything the Govt is wrong to have shown patience with this man.
As for the Indian Army, the politicisation is visible...just see the
media debates and how competently the so called retired senior "Army
experts" behave. Anything and every thing is passe and what matters is
how much each is paid for his 10 min or glory on air! Disgraceful!!

from:  kvkolal
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 16:42 IST

It takes two to tango. Government needles a person and push VKS to a
corner to subdue and enslave him. And we expect him to keep quiet and
not retaliate. And particularly when he claims no wrong doing. This
is the gravest error . Our county is not a communist country where
hiring and firing is a routine affair. The author's use of the word
sacking a General is bizzare and I condemn that. And there is further
needling of VKS at the political level even now through the J & K
government. They have admitted or are going to admit a privilege
motion against VKS. Until yesterday all Generals said no bribes were
involved. What if VKS is selectively targeted and all the Generals go
back on their words? Should he keep quiet and accept all the rubbish?
If it is a sensitive issue politicians have no right to selectively
leak information about a General to the press.If they do, then be
prepared to face the exposes.

from:  Sridhar
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 16:42 IST

General Eisenhower, resigned/retired from service and stood for election as President of the USA. Ex servicemen and ex bureaucrats have all the privileges of normal citizens. Jairam Ramesh, Natwar Singh, KR Narayanan all were ex bureaucrats. Nobody called for their heads, since they joined the Congress. If you join some other party,of course that is intolerable !!!

from:  Ashok Visvanathan
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 16:22 IST

It is a pity that the UPA govt. prefers to engage in a proxy war with
the former army chief by selective leaking of sensitive sarkari
documents to favourably disposed journalists. The author should have
first castigated the sarkar and the privileged journalist (who earlier
sort of alleged that the retd. general was mobilising troops to Delhi,
unauthorisedly, i.e. setting the stage for a military coup).

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 15:52 IST

An otherwise balance article but the issue of AFSPA and Siachen is
totally out of context. The prime reason why the Army steps in to
strongly advise is that there is a such a lack of strategic culture
among the political and bureaucratic leadership. AFSPA was being
repealed purely for short term political dividends without a look at
the larger picture. No counter to the Army's legitimate concerns could
be projected by the detractors; after all who is to retrieve the
situation once it deteriorates due to faulty decisions. Lives are
involved in such decisions and if the Army gives its advice why should
this be considered as stepping into the political realm. As regards
Siachen, it is not easy to grasp the long term implications of a
withdrawal by the Indian Army. Not many even understand the geography
of this region and the various sub linkages of sensitivities.

from:  Ata Hasnain
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 14:54 IST

Before finding fault with the General, I would like to state that the
media (which leaked the report) and the so called TV debates were
irresponsible. If the concerned newspaper had displayed enough
sensitivity, the news report would not have been published. In the TV
debates that I saw, the General was asked to "Name" people to whom money
was given and so many minute details. Once the newspaper had anyway made
it public irresponsibly the General has to put things in perspective or
else the same media will go to town stating that General's silence
amounts to guilt!!! Whether the General should have revealed so much or
less is a matter of detail. Media should alos start acting with
restraint.

from:  S K Raman
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 13:55 IST

"The right political response would have been to sack him". Why sack
only army folks? Any govt. servant filing case against service issues
should be liable to be sacked. Whatever the govt. of the day says is
the ultimate word ("political response" to quote the author). Why
pick only on ex-servicemen? All ex-babus (particularly World
Bank./IMF pensioners) should be forbidden from taking part in active
part in politics post-retirement.

from:  kvjayan
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 13:40 IST

lastly,i would like to say that looking at the present geo-political scenario and internal and external threats to the country, we should have faith and be a support rather than being a deterrent to the armed forces...they have always stood by our side and kept the nation and its people above all..its not sane to keep a finger fixed towards a certain organisation because of some people who want it this way...have we forgotten the CW games where our politicians and bureaucrats left no stones unturned to humiliate us in front of the world...it was the army who saved the day...same was seen in the disaster management skills of the government recently...the army has been, and would always be the last hope and last resort of the nation and the people serving in it have equall rihhts and status in the society...
as the ancient greek proverb goes... 'if a soldier has to go to a court to claim his rights,then there is something drastically wrong going on in the country'

from:  rahul
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 12:52 IST

moreover , the words used by the author are atrocious....why should the chief be 'sacked' if he decides to go to a court of law?? isn't he too a citizen of India? after giving 40 years of his life to the organisation is it too much to ask for? To add on ,Gen VK Singh is one of the best generals the country has produced..be it leadership, courage or moral character ,the general has always stood above all.
Now coming on to the political connection.there is no law or rule in any book which prohibits a retired officer to attend a political meeting...or rather get political...he was rather the only general in the army who brought out the ground conditions of the army in front of the people,owing to the high level of corruption....and this really pinched many of the buearocrats and politicians..
Next,coming on to the views of the people for the army, after the incident.the people have faith in the army still.same it was before...just bcause there is more good done than these hyped events..

from:  rahul
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 12:29 IST

General V.K.Singh should not be castigated for telling the truth. When
the general says that he stopped stone pelting he also means that he
started it in the first place. We the residents of the valley know the
games that agencies have been playing since 1947.The luminaries who
have either "escaped" from Indian jails or have been "escorted" by our
cabinet ministers to freedom include include Maqbool Bhat,Ilyas
Kashmiri,Masood Azhar, Omar Saeed... to name just a few.People here
talk of truckloads of youth sent across the border for arms training
by the agencies in 1980's. The book "The Meadow" gives some more lurid
details "The ‘apolitical’ character of our armed forces ..." is a
glorious Emperor's robe that is seen only by the wise folks. The BBC
only a couple of days back carried a story about a massacre in South
India in 1948 which was abetted by the army .Be it the "Ideological
Frontiers" in Pakistan or "Hindutva" in India both halves of the
rotten apple stink just the same!

from:  taffazull
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 12:13 IST

Any Organisation/Institution can only flourish and deliver the
satisfactory results if they be given a proper elbow space to work and
be exempted from unnecessary pressure and interfering control of
politicians and bureaucrats.Proper and effective surveillance of any
institution/organisation from our civil government do is necessary but
not at the behest of right to internal freedom and decision making of
that particular institution. The recent feud between Military and
Political class is an imbroglio as it is making the credentials of
both former and latter lost in the eyes of people. Both Army and
Political class should draw a line in between and do not poke their
noses unconstitutionally in each other matters.

from:  Dhiraj
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 11:59 IST

Appreciate your article and agree with you that Gen VK Singh should not have been so vocal in narrating inciddents about J&K. The state of J&K has always been sensitive and bringing up these allegations (which may be true) in the public domain will harm everyone except anti-India movement in J&K.

from:  Siddharth Yadav
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 11:40 IST

Very good article, one question for all, if our intelligence agencies
controlled by parliamentary committee, it will become CBI and whole
national security will be on stake.Political trust is lacking in our
country and it is grass root cause for all maladies.

from:  Kaushal
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 10:48 IST

Excellent balance article. The political leadership has shot itslef in the foot by leaking a sensitive report and the damage is irreparable. If the political leadership wanted the bring Gen Singh to toe their line, so many options were available, instead in an ham-handed manner the entire Military was made to cop the dirt.

from:  mani sandilya
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 10:40 IST

The very premise that a General or for that matter any ex officer of Indian Army cannot join a political party and work for the benefit of Army, is without reason, logic and defies fundamental rights as enshrined in the constitution.

Further, overlooking the fact that Gen. VK Singh has been a pain in the wrong place for Congress govt., defense contractors and has not allowed corruption run in the system during is tenure; thereby incurring wrath of the political and bureaucratic class is over simplification and attempt to absolve GOI's nexus with corrupt traders.

from:  Jay Singh
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 10:30 IST

This is a good view point. However condemnable General V.K.Singh
reaction was the consequence of an initial action - physics does say
that "every action has an equal and opposite reaction"!

However, few important questions:

Who started this stupidity by leaking this information?
Which sorry figure in the media released this? He or she should be
punished severely so it serves as a clear detterent to others in the
media who are anti-nationalistic, and who masquerade as journalists.

from:  p.s.swami
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 10:01 IST

Excellent article. But the title is not fitting. Government pressure??

from:  Akshay
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 10:00 IST

Great Article. These acts by former army chief make us believe that we are a Pak in the making. Civilian govt, however irresponsible they are, should have an upper hand in policy decisions and not the military or Intelligence wing.

from:  Vikas
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 09:47 IST

Is it a curse in this country to join the military as an officer? Gen VK
Singh has as much right as you and I as a civilian! If you are so
judgemental and condescending about teaching a thing or two to the
General as how he should 'behave well' then you also should give the
solution to protect the country without injuring the interests of the
patriots who join the armed forces as officers.
Got it Sir?

from:  PRASAD SN
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 09:43 IST

Sir, a very rational and well-written piece on the sorry state of civilian-military relations in India. Hoping to see more of your writings in The Hindu.

from:  Divya Srikanth
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 08:57 IST

Is there anything illegal in a retired army chief joining a political
party or movement? A retired Army General fought a Presidential election
as the candidate of a political party and became the President of the
United States and it didn't hurt that country in any manner. Then why is
this fuss about what retired Army General, V.K.Singh is saying or doing
something which falls in the political field?

from:  K.Vijayakumar
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 08:01 IST

Looks like Mr. Singh should never have been made Chief of the Army in the first place; whoever was responsible to elevate this guy to lead the Indian army, obviously had other considerations than Mr. Singh's real ability to do his job capably, honestly and with integrity. The fact that he went to the Supreme court in his age row and got rebuked by the Supreme Court and made to withdraw his petition speaks more about his self-interest than doing the country's job.

from:  prsrinivasan
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 07:37 IST

The great weakness of Indian politics is that politicians have no notion of the armed forces. While civilian control of the military is essential in a democracy, in most western countries like the U.S. it is balanced by the fact that a high proportion of the civilian class from the president down have served in the armed forces.
This is absent in India. As a result the politicians and the bureaucrats have no notion of the sacrifices and the challenges of service personnel, not to mention their complete lack of knowledge of ground realities. So it is a welcome development for retired military personnel to get involved in the political process.
Disclosure: I come from an army family and grew up with soldiers.

from:  N.S. Rajaram
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 06:13 IST

While I think that this article is very well argued and fairly balanced, there are some points where I differ. The argument does not really criticize the former army chief directly for his "stink bomb" and only calls it "sweeping and tactless response". However, I think one needs to view the whole incident in a larger context. The current government has tried to erode the independence of multiple agencies, in particular the CVC (appointment of Thomas), CAG (Calling Vinod Rai an agent of BJP), EC (Salman Khurshid violating model code of conduct and daring the EC to take action against him), CBI (Ashwani Kumar), Parliament (UPA-1 bribing MPs and then arresting the whistleblowers while taking no actions against those named), RBI (FSLRC proposed when rates were not reduced), State Govts (Gujarat Governor overruling advise of CM), SC (Vodafone case) Turf wars happen all the time but the way frequency and handling in this government makes it more likely that a form of absolute power is being attempted. In such a scenario, it is necessary to counter. I believe (and I could be wrong) that the earlier controversy with his age was engineered by the someone in government to ensure a separate line of succession; the fact remains that going to the SC resulted in the General being told to withdraw because it was more important to maintain civilian control over army. However, that ideal is meaningless - and worse - if we are to see institution breaking by the same civilian government. Historically, that has been where problems have come from and not the army. Hence I believe that the chief's response was good in he circumstances; I am sure the dirty tricks department was asked to atleast lie low for a while, if not shutdown. To sum up, I would rather have a political former army chief rather than an emergency.

from:  Nirmesh Mehta
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 03:00 IST

The author's suggestion that political leadership should decide about withdrawal from Siachin, and also, withdrawing Armed Forces Special Powers Act(AFSPA), and military should just comply. Also that the military officers seeking relief through courts should be simply sacked. It is a dangerous mindset, particularly when coming from a senior and an established former soldier and a strategic thinker. We are living in 21st century where militaries are part of the overall national security apparatus, notwithstanding the supremacy of parliament, and political hierarchy. Keeping the military out of critical decisions such as those discussed above has serious consequences, which the incumbent political leadership will not be in a position to handle. By undermining the institution of military and imposing a politically convenient fiat is an illogical suggestion, which is unlikely to serve the national interest not the interest of the ruling political establishment.

from:  Surinder
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 02:57 IST

The present situation governing civilian-military relations has
come about solely because the governing political elites in India
have profited from large scale corruption. A simple reading of
the Transparency International ratings for India will underscore
this point to any who wish to downplay the extent of the problem.
Enter an Army General, who for the first time in the nation's
history has shown a willingness to fight corruption, beginning
with the corrupt in his own army. The resulting extraordinary
backlash from our politicians has left him untouched and his
opponents unnerved! This is the crux of the problem. Corrupt
politicians and bureaucrats must be praying that the General
would simply go away. Its clear that that is not going to happen.
Clearly out politicians are playing with fire by unnecessarily
needling an upright soldier. An "apolitical military" can only
exist against a backdrop of mutual respect for law and
fundamental rights.

from:  CS Venkat
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 02:06 IST

The present war of words between Gen Singh and the Def Min. is the
result of the growing frustration of the armed forces over the
bureaucratic control through forced decisions over matters of
promotions and posting of higher ranks,deliberate misinterpretation of
Pay Commission decisions on pensions, gradual downgrading in protocal
and ignoring their opinion on security and defence preparations. The
armed forces have have no say in higher decision making mechanism and
the NSA/Study Group and the diplomats decide everything as seen in the
recent Chinese border incursions.The military is asked to lie low for
fear of aggravation of the situations.This seriously affects their and
the nation's morale.The armed forces cannot remain indifferent to the
turmoil in the political scenario and the growing corruption and
scams.The weak political leadership has left the nation ruddderless.
Sacking of the General wouldn't have solved any problem. The Govt.must
set own house in order first.

from:  Om P Kashyap
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 01:33 IST

It would be appropriate to call the former army chief as Politician
V.K.Singh. He should not be addressed as General any more.

from:  Muralidhar
Posted on: Sep 30, 2013 at 01:19 IST
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