Supremacy of civil over military: The Indian version

This article was written in March 2013 for the CLAWS (Centre for Land Warfare Studies) Journal and is published in its latest edition for Summer 2013, released this week.
Nations which fail to develop a balanced pattern of civil-military relations squander their resources and run uncalculated risks.
Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, October 1998
In his two part treatise entitled The Soldier and the State and India’s Civilisational flaw: Isolation of the military, then Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat had tried to trace the origins of the working of the Ministry of Defence in independent India and the  evolution of civil-military relations since 1947.
In light of his subsequent dismissal less than two months after he released the two essays, many have wondered if the Admiral, known for high professional competence, had inkling about his impending ouster and was therefore putting it on record what he felt was wrong with India’s higher defence management!
Much has been written and debated about the Admiral Bhagwat saga; his run in with the then defence minister George Fernandes; the machinations of the civilian bureaucracy in plotting the Navy Chief’s abrupt ouster and its fallout on the already fraught civil-military relations. A stickler for rules, Admiral Bhagwat rubbed many powerful people the wrong way and paid the ultimate price.[i]
Nearly a decade and a half later, South Block, the colonial era building that houses the Indian Prime Minister’s Office as well as the Defence Ministry, was rocked by another face off between a military chief and the politico-bureaucratic combine. The mishandling of the Gen VK Singh ‘birth date’ issue[ii]again starkly brought forth the fissures within the top hierarchy of the Indian Army as well between service headquarters and the civil bureaucracy in the Ministry of Defence.
The controversy over the Gen VK Singh issue in early 2012 degenerated into a very public spat between the Ministry of Defence and the then Army Chief, once again forcing analysts to ask the question: Has civilian control of the military in India become synonymous with bureaucratic control?
The answer from military leaders is an unequivocal Yes.
Bureaucrats, officers of the elite Indian Administrative Service (IAS), never agree to this contention. They continue to maintain that all that the IAS does is to carry out orders of the political executive.
This, at best, is half truth.
The political executive, barring a handful few, neither has the knowledge nor any interest in matters military and therefore depends completely on inputs from the bureaucrats who continue to mould the political leadership’s thought process according to their own perceptions on governance and administration.
Admiral Arun Prakash, former Chief of Naval Staff and a prolific commentator on national security affairs has this to say about the equation between the Ministry of Defence and Service Headquarters: “Two major factors have contributed to the systemic dysfunctionality that we see in the management of national security affairs. First is politician’s detachment and indifference towards matters relating to national security, because this is not an issue that can win or lose votes.
Since politicians have not considered it worthwhile establishing a close and cordial relations with the leadership of the armed forces, it is not surprising that when faced with a crisis or problem politicians finds themselves at a complete loss. A related factor is the total reliance that the politician places, for advice, decision-making and problem resolution, on transient, generalist MoD civil servants, drawn from diverse backgrounds. This, despite the Chiefs and the highly specialized Service HQ (SHQ) staffs being at his disposal for tendering advice in the management of national security.”[iii]
 The military leadership has always railed at this ‘imbalance’ in the decision making structure at the highest levels but has been unable to change the system so far.
Civil-military relationship in the country post-1947 is replete with episodes that suggest constant state of tension between the ‘generalist’ bureaucracy and the ‘specialists’ military leaders, with the political executive watching and sometimes encouraging the bureaucracy to keep the military under control.
The political executive, starting with India’s first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, has generally excluded the military leadership from the decision making process at the highest levels. Adm. Vishnu Bhagwat, himself a victim of politico-bureaucratic machinations, wrote in his treatise The Soldier and the State: “By selective usage, omission and interpretation of language, it (civil services) has continuously imposed a variety of constraints, checks and curbs on the very functioning of the armed forces in general, and the business of service headquarters in particular. This has virtually isolated and marginalised the defence forces from all processes which go into formulation of national policies and agendas, even in the cardinal sphere of national security.”[iv]
The effort to cut defence services down to size had begun immediately after Independence. The Indian Army, which was a prime instrument of the British hard power across the entire empire, was often called out to suppress protests during India’s freedom struggle. Many leaders and political stalwarts who were at the receiving end of the crackdown had naturally developed an aversion and suspicion against the Indian military, mainly the Indian Army troops.  But Adm Arun Prakash effectively busts the myth that the Indian military pre-1947 was unpatriotic.
He writes: “In early 1946, politically-conscious, sailors of the Royal Indian Navy mutinied, and the insurrection spread right across the country, with units of the RIAF, Army Signal Corps and Electrical and Mechanical Engineers joining their naval comrades in revolt. These events not only inspired and galvanized the freedom movement in India, but also struck fear into British hearts. General Wavell, the C-in-C admitted in a secret report: “It is no use shutting one’s eye to the fact that any Indian soldier worth his salt is a Nationalist…” Disciplined Services never dwell on mutinies, regardless of the cause, and that is why these events rarely find mention in our armed forces, but the powerful impact on the British Sarkar of these acts of great moral courage, must not be disparaged, belittled or forgotten. The phase immediately post-Independence too, was extremely difficult for our fledgling republic. To forget the sterling role played by the armed forces during the violence and turbulence of partition, and in integrating the recalcitrant princely states would be an act of rank ingratitude.”[v]
Despite this, the ill-informed and suspicious political class thus found it only too convenient to keep the military at bay.
Before Independence the status of the Commander in Chief (C-in-C) in India was second only to that of the Viceroy. As a member of the Viceroy’s Executive Council he was also the de facto Defence Minister. He was served by his uniformed Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) and the Defence Secretary who, incidentally, was below the PSOs in the order of precedence. The role of the Defence Department was not to examine proposals, or to sit in judgement over the Army Headquarters, but was restricted to issuing orders in the name of the Government of India.
In the interim government of the transitional period a Defence Member was included in the Viceroy’s Executive Council. Soon after independence the War Department and the Department of Defence were merged to form the Ministry of Defence (MOD). It was then enlarged suitably to take on such other higher functions of defence management—threat assessment, force levels, budgeting, defence production and so on—which till then were attended to by the Service Headquarters in the United Kingdom.
Independence also necessitated creation of structures to establish parliamentary control over the military. In 1947 a committee of three senior Indian Civil Service (ICS) officers had suggested structuring of the MOD on the lines of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) and, in the process, had also aimed at lowering the standing of the military officers much in the same way as that of the police officers in relation to the ICS. It was Lord Mountbatten who ensured that the Service Chiefs retained their status higher than the Defence Secretary. Mountbatten’s Chief of Staff Lord Ismay, not wanting to rock the boat in those turbulent times suggested the formation of a high-level committee to look after service matters instead ordering a radical restructuring.
In essence the decision-making process was to have the benefit of independent inputs from the Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC), the Defence Minister’s Committee (Service Chiefs were members of this Committee) and the Defence Committee of the Cabinet. These in turn signified representation of the Services, mechanism for the bureaucratic processing, and of course political control. The Service Chiefs interacted directly with the Cabinet through the Defence Cabinet Committee.
Sixty-six years after Independence, it is no secret that the political-military interface is all but absent in India’s institutional set up. The armed forces are completely under the day-to-day as well as policy control of the MoD. The desirable politico-military interface is now reduced to weekly, sometimes fortnightly meetings chaired by the Defence Minister. According to several former chiefs this author has spoken to, these meetings are informal, without any agendas or note taking and have no official status although in theory, the Defence Minister is deemed to have given policy directions in these meetings!
Former Army Chief Gen. Padmanabhan, who was leading the Army in the crucial period when India mobilised its entire Army under Operation Parakram in 2002, has rarely written or spoken about matters of national security since his retirement 2003.
However in his book, published in 2005, Padmanabhan had this to say about meeting of Service Chiefs with the Defence Minister: “Even at the level of the defence minister and Service Chiefs, exchanges on major matters of defence policy were few and far between, the Defence Minister’s weekly meetings with the Service Chiefs being used to update the minister and equip him to negotiate questions in Parliament. Often, these meetings were deferred, as ‘more important’ activities claimed the time of the minister…The result was…the greater role and authority assumed by the Defence bureaucracy. The Defence Secretary, with his nearness to the Defence Minister, often began to exercise power on the minister’s behalf and was, quite often, regarded as de facto defence minister. The ‘supremacy of the civil over the military’ was thus effectively changed from supremacy of the political authority to that of the civilian bureaucracy.”[vi]
The downhill journey began very early after Independence. It accelerated particularly during the Nehru-Krishna Menon period. Menon, a man with strong likes and dislikes, as Defence Minister, rode roughshod over the military and disregarded professional advice from military leadership. In 1959 Gen KS Thimayya, regarded as one of India’s finest soldiers, who had a run in with Menon over a professional matter, resigned in protest but a crafty Pandit Nehru manoeuvred the entire episode in such a way that it ended humiliating the highly respected general.
Inder Malhotra, veteran journalist describes the event thus:S. Gopal (Nehru’s biographer) perceived the Thimayya-Menon episode as “a comic-opera putsch”. According to him, Nehru dealt with it in Parliament “in such a way as to strengthen Menon’s position and shrink Thimayya’s reputation. He stressed the importance of the government’s control of the armed forces and hinted that Thimayya had acted irresponsibly.”[vii] Nehru and Menon may have won a temporary victory over the military but in less than four years the nation paid the price of undue political meddling in professional military affairs in the form of a military debacle in the month long border clash with China in 1962!
Over the next decade, the military emerged out of the setback much stronger and delivered a most emphatic victory over Pakistan in 1971. The events leading to that famous victory and the creation of Bangladesh are too well known to recount here but suffice it to say that the Indian military displayed absolute competence and professionalism in less than a decade after a massive defeat against China. That India as a nation failed to build on the 1971 triumph is one of the tragedies of modern times.
Through the Seventies, Eighties and the Nineties, the bureaucracy continued to acquire disproportionate powers vis-à-vis the Service Chiefs and now it’s a given that the Defence Secretary and NOT the Service Chiefs, is the single-point adviser to the Cabinet on matters military. For he and the Cabinet Secretary have a consistent interface with the political leadership with the Service Chiefs attending the meetings of the Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) only if invited.
The bureaucracy conveniently points to the “Government of India Transaction of Business Rules” (ToB Rules). Framed in 1961 under the constitutional powers of the President of India these documents continue to guide the conduct of business by the Government of India.
It is instructive to read the document.  Under these rules, the three service headquarters were designated as “Attached Offices of the Department of Defence”, and are therefore placed in a position subordinate to the DoD. The Service Chiefs, as professional heads of the three armed forces and with an experience garnered over a period of at least four decades, found no mention in these rules.
The Secretary Department of Defence on the other hand, according to these rules, is responsible for[viii]  Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective Demobilisation. The Armed Forces of the Union, namely, Army, Navy and Air Force,  Integrated Headquarters of the Ministry of Defence comprising of Army Headquarters, Naval Headquarters, Air Headquarters and Defence Staff Headquarters.
So the Defence Secretary, a generalist IAS officer, and not the military brass, is responsible for national defence as well as conduct of war! Under the current rules the Service Chiefs have neither been accorded a status nor granted any powers in the government edifice. In the process it is the Service Chiefs who got marginalised from the decision-making bodies.
In fact, it would be laughable had it not been so serious to note that much like the Service Headquarters, there are attached offices in every ministry under Government of India.[ix] Some of them include:
·         Directorate of Field Publicity (Ministry of Information & Broadcasting)
·         National Centre for Integrated Pest Management (NCIPM) (Ministry of Agriculture
·         Central Soil And Materials Research Station (Ministry of Water Resources)
Following the Kargil conflict of 1999, the government appointed the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) under renowned strategic thinker and writer K Subrahmanyam. Its recommendations, among other vital issues, focussed on reorganisation of higher defence management.
The KRC recommendations followed formation of a Group of Ministers (GoM).  It set up four task forces on intelligence reforms, internal security, border management, and higher defence management to undertake in-depth analysis of various facets of the management of national security. After year-long deliberations the GOM, among other comments observed: “There is a marked difference in the perception and crisis of confidence among civil and military officials within the MOD and Services HQs regarding their respective roles and functions.
“There was also lack of synchronisation among and between the three departments in the MOD, including the relevant elements of Defence Finance. The concept of ‘attached offices’ as applicable to Service HQs; problems of inter-se relativities; multiple, duplicated, and complex procedures governing the exercise of administrative and financial powers, and the concept of ‘advice’ to the Minister; all these had contributed to these problems.”[x]
Having identified the problem, the GoM, led by then Deputy Prime Minister LK Advani made many far-reaching recommendations. Some key points were:
·         Creation of the post of chief of Defence Staff (CDS), whose tasks was to include inter-services prioritization of defence plans and improvement in synergy among the three services
·         Creation of Headquarters Integrated Defence Staff (IDS)
·         Formation of a tri-service Andaman and Nicobar Command and a Strategic
·         Establishment of tri-service Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA)
·         Creation of The National Technical Research Organization (NTRO) for gathering electronic and other technical intelligence.
More than a decade after these recommendations, many of the decisions with the exception of the most crucial one—that of the appointment of a CDS—have been implemented. While there will be different opinions on the efficacy of many of the organisations such as HQ IDS, NTRO, DIA and the effectiveness of the Andaman Nicobar Command, the fact is the distrust between the military leadership and the civilian bureaucracy continues to be a major impediment in implementing this set of defence reforms. The CDS envisaged as a single-point military adviser continues to remain elusive mainly because there is no political or military consensus and the bureaucracy is happy to play along.
Meanwhile civil-military relations remain fraught.
A major showdown between the three service chiefs and the bureaucratic-politico combine over the recommendations of the 6th Pay Commission in 2008 is a case in point. After the 6th Pay panel submitted its report, a committee of secretaries was set up to look into various anomalies that were brought to the notice of the government. The service headquarters had reasoned with the ministry that since the armed forces make up for 30 per cent of the government employees, they should have a representative on the committee. But their request was not heeded. Instead, the service chiefs were told their concerns would be addressed without prejudice and with sympathy.
This assurance was taken at face value but when no communication was received from the committee of secretaries, Chief of Naval Staff, Adm. Sureesh Mehta, in his capacity as chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, asked for the details of the decisions taken in the committee. He wanted to see that the armed forces’ concerns were adequately taken care of. But the Committee of Secretaries did not deem it fit to respond to the admiral’s plea. So when the cabinet approved the amended sixth pay panel report, it was assumed all the pending issues were taken care of.
But to the great consternation of the service headquarters, not only were their major grievances not addressed, three more anomalies, indeed, glaring discrepancies, were introduced by the committee of secretaries in the final cabinet notification.

For the armed forces, this was the last straw. This was worse than the aftermath of the 5th pay commission a decade ago when 48 anomalies were pointed out by the armed forces but only eight were resolved over a 10 year period till the 6th Pay Commission was notified!
It took some time for the reality to sink in but when the anomalies were noticed, all the three chiefs decided to take up their case with defence minister AK Antony. After the meeting, Antony was convinced of the logic presented by the three chiefs. So he apparently asked his ministry officials to prepare a detailed note in support of the services’ demand to resolve the core issues and send that communication to the Finance Ministry and the Prime Minister’s Office for necessary action.
The core issues, the three service chiefs felt, would affect command and control functions in the field especially between the Army and para-military forces and the navy and the coast guard, to cite just two examples. Having taken their case to the defence minister, the three chiefs felt they would at last get justice. Shockingly however, the finance ministry and the PMO were presented a completely diluted case. Left with no other alternative, the chiefs then took up their case with the Prime Minister himself who too agreed that their concerns were genuine and should be resolved favourably. The only catch was: the MoD had not sent the requisite supporting documents!!
In the meantime, neither the Prime Minister nor the Defence minister could meet because of their pre-scheduled foreign visit. That’s when the three service chiefs decided that they would delay the implementation of the flawed 6th Pay Commission report. Simultaneously, they decided to communicate this decision to their men down the chain of command. The internal communication by all three chiefs in fact spoke about the need for not falling prey to rumours and speculation. [xi]
This act by the three chiefs in unison led to some trenchant criticism from prominent media commentators like Indian Express Editor-in-Chief Shekhar Gupta. He wrote: “For the first time, these incumbents (Service Chiefs) have stood in defiance of civil authority as no military chiefs have ever done in India’s history. And howsoever genuine their grievances over the pay commission — as they seem to be — they have set a precedent that future generations of Indians, and even their own successors in years to come, will come to regret. Their decision to not notify the cabinet order on the pay commission was unprecedented and shocking. True, they were cheered along by the increasingly vocal community of ex-servicemen, many of whom harbour long-standing, deep and justified suspicion of the bureaucracy, and who were in turn egged on by one campaigning TV channel, Times Now. They saw this pay commission as one more too-clever-by-half effort by the babus to push the military a peg or two lower in terms of both money and protocol. They weren’t entirely wrong. But was this — the three chiefs turning themselves into a group of defiant trade union heads — the only way to handle it?”[xii]
Many military veterans raised objections to Shekhar Gupta’s comments. Even I had an occasion to write: “If the above signal, as the communication is called in military parlance, is defiance then no military chief will ever be able to give assurances to and take his men in confidence. Anyone who has dealt with the armed forces will tell you that there is not an iota of truth in the canard that is being spread about the three chiefs “defying” the civil authorities. Yes, they questioned the bureaucracy’s attempts to wittingly or unwittingly introduce pay and status disparities between the armed forces and their civilian counterparts. Yes, they took the matter to the Prime Minister but in no way did they defy the government.”
The fact is this act of the three chiefs forced the Prime Minister to appoint a ministerial panel to redress the grievances. A couple of main points were immediately settled but it speaks volumes of India’s apathy towards its armed forces that five years after that episode, many of the anomalies in the 6th Pay Commission award for the military remain stuck in bureaucratic red tape!
While very few have been able to explain the real reason behind the antipathy against the military displayed by the civil bureaucracy and the political executive, my experience suggests that non-military personnel perhaps resent the armed forces because of their evidently orderly and efficient ethos, the tightly bound camaraderie and distinct standing in the society. And this is not unique to India. Renowned sociologist Morris Janowitz had famously said: “The intimate social solidarity of the military profession is both envied and resented by civilians.”
So is there a way out of this logjam? Can the status quo ever be broken?
The government, worried over the increasing criticism over a lack of National Security Policy and half-hearted implementation of the 2001 GoM recommendations, appointed another high level committee under former Cabinet Secretary Naresh Chandra in 2011. Within a year, the high powered committee submitted its detailed report to the Prime Minister in mid-2012 but so far there is no indication that the report will be made public soon. We do not even know if within the government deliberations have begun on the recommendations given by the Task Force.
All that is available in public domain so far is a glimpse of some key recommendations made by the task force that too through media reports obviously based on conversations with some members of the task force. For instance, the task force has apparently recommended:
·         Appointment of a Permanent Chairman, Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC)
·         Integration of Service HQ and Ministry of Defence by allowing more cross-postings
·         Shifting focus of India’s national security strategy from Pakistan to China
·         Better Intelligence Coordination between all agencies
·         Creation of dedicated financial Institution for access to energy, rare earths and raw materials from across the world
From some of the occasional interaction that this author has had with a few members of the Task Force, before and after the submission of the report, one aspect is very clear: There was no consensus on the creation of the post of the Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), leading to, what one believes, a half-hearted recommendation to appoint another four-star officer as permanent chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee (CoSC).
According to the Task Force, this officer will be in charge of the two existing tri-services commands-the Strategic Command Force (SFC) and the Andaman Nicobar Command (ANC)–while the three service Chiefs will continue command and lead their respective services, the Task Force said.
The Permanent Chairman CoSC, according to the recommendation of the Naresh Chandra Task Force, will have a fixed tenure of two years and will be rotated among the three services. This officer will be assisted by the existing Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), headed by a three star officer from any of the three services.
Over the past decade, the IDS has evolved in a barely workable tri-services structure with over 300 officers drawn from the three services trying to function as a cohesive unit tasked with evolving “jointness.” On ground however, jointness or inter-operability has remained at best patchy.
The new recommendation seeks to overcome these differences. The Naresh Chandra Task Force has also recommended the creation of a separate Special Operations Command on the lines of the US structure since asymmetric threats are seen as the main challenge to India’s national security in coming decades.
However, critics of the new system say the recommendation to appoint Chairman CoSC is nothing but old wine in new bottle. It is a ‘no go’ because the Chairman will remain ever dependent on each of the services Army, Navy & IAF for its personnel requirements. Personnel of each service will be ‘lobbyists’ of respective Chiefs.
From what is known publicly, I would say yet another opportunity to reform has been lost. National Security System does not have to depend on seeking Least Common Multiple (LCM)-solutions. It does not have to seek to appease lobbies and turfs.
The solution, I believe lies in divesting the three Chiefs of operational command of forces. Let them be Chiefs of respective Staff – ‘resource providers to joint operational/ strategic commands’ – content with recruiting, training of personnel; holding and maintaining equipment; and executing related administrative functions.
In absence of a common meeting ground on deciding to appoint a CDS, the Naresh Chandra Task Force recommendation can however be utilised in the interim in creating more cohesion among the services. For instance, the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee, who will have a fixed two year tenure can be made in charge of making net assessment about the strengths and weaknesses of India’s adversaries—China and Pakistan—in a holistic manner, taking into consideration inputs from all the three services and cross-referencing those inputs with other agencies like the Defence Intelligence Agency (DIA) and RAW. Currently, the three services send their individual assessments just to complete formalities to the IDS where it remains buried in files that never see the light of the day.
Moreover, if the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee is going to lead the proposed Special Operations Command why not create two more tri-services commands and give him some more work?
Given the frequency of cyber-attacks on India’s IT infrastructure, creation of a cyber-command is only a matter of time. An aerospace command is inevitable sooner than later. Along with the creation of the proposed Special Operations Command, why not create these two additional tri-service commands? And let the Army, Air Force and Navy be the lead service for a particular command? And let the Army, Air Force and Navy be the lead service for a particular command?
The proposed Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee can remain the head of these three commands with each of them being led by an Army Commander level officer. Given the experience and expertise available with the Army, it can take charge of the Special Operations Command, the IAF, with its domain knowledge, can take over the aerospace command and the Navy can lead the cyber command. The heads of these commands can have their second rung manned by two-star officers from each of the services so that they continue to have the benefit of expert advice from across the services but the overall responsibility must remain with the designated service.
Given that the existing tri-services commands go through painful changes each time their Commanders-in-Chief get rotated, making each of the service responsible for the proposed new commands will make their the working smoother and more efficient.
Over a decade after a CDS was recommended by the Group of Ministers (GoM) in the wake of the Kargil conflict, there is no unanimity on that issue yet. Given the strong differences within the services as well as in the political class, could this be the best arrangement for now? Or is it too impractical?
Historically, it is to the credit of the Indian armed forces that they have fulfilled their assigned role as an organ of the state…they have functioned effectively in every type of role, in spite of the general lack of a supportive government environment by way of adequate finances, resources, equipment, personnel policies, or higher political direction.
The government is however duty bound to take urgent steps to reform the higher defence management in the interest of the nation. As a first step, the government owes it to the people of India to make the Naresh Chandra Task Force report public and let a healthy debate ensue if India has to overcome systemic weaknesses and structural shortcomings in its national security decision making apparatus.


[i] Nayar writing about the circumstances under which Adm iral Bhagwat was removed from service, Jan 9, 1999, rediff on the net.
[ii]Letter to the Prime Minister by a respected Army Commander and former Governor of Manipur, Lt Gen VK Nayyar : Accessed on 5 March 2013
[iii]Adm. Arun Prakash: A call for Change, Higher Defence Management in India. IDSA Monograph, July 2012, page 23
[iv]Admi. Vishnu Bhagwat, The Soldier and The State, Chapter III (Semantic Control and Misinterpretation), page 6, released by him in October 1998 as Chief of Naval Staff.
[v]Adm. Arun Prakash: A call for Change, Higher Defence Management in India. IDSA Monograph, July 2012, page 20
[vi]Gen S. Padmanabhan, A General Speaks, 2005 Manas publications, pp 109
[vii]Inder Malhotra, Khaki versus Khadi, Indian Express, 17 October 2008
[viii]Adm Arun Prakash, A call for Change, Higher Defence Management in India. IDSA Monograph, July 2012, page 24
[x]Gen. VP Malik Higher Management of Defence and Defence Reforms: Towards Better Management Techniques,, page 41
[xi] Signal by CNS, Adm Sureesh Mehta, 24 Sept 2008. “In recent times there have been several speculative media reports and disinformation on the final outcome of the sixth pay commission recommendations. The service headquarters have maintained continuous interaction with all authorities concerned and our concerns have been highlighted at the highest levels time and again.
Whilst some of our concerns have been addressed we have been constrained to delay payment of arrears and new pay scales to officers and men in view of some serious disparities that have been introduced which disturb the extant parities between defence officers and those from other central services as also adversely affect pensionary benefits of PBOR.
“We are in the process of resolving all pending issues and this may take a little longer than we had earlier expected.
“Let me assure each one of you that I will spare no effort to bring our genuine concerns to the notice of our country’s leadership with the final aim of giving our personnel their rightful due. In the meanwhile I am certain that one and all will display maturity and patience and not be swayed by hearsay or speculative reports from any quarter.
Shano Varuna and Jai Hind.”

[xii]Shekhar Gupta, Chain of command, demand

  1. June 16, 2013 -

    While I tend to agree with all that has been said, the moot question is whether these ideas will ever get executed. A case in point is the border management along the line of actual control with China. The ITBP continues to be deployed along certain very sensitive areas, but has not been placed under the overall Operational control of the army. The reactions and operating procedures of both the Army and the ITBP are different. This is leading to tremendous ambiguity and confusion due to the differing chains of command and control. It may lead to many more incursions and such like incidents in the future as the one that we witnessed at Depsang La recently. Its high time that the 'Turf Wars' that are being played out in the corridors of power are curtailed and a National Security Perspective is given primacy.

  2. June 18, 2013 -

    An important point that comes to my mind is that, some say the Service Chiefs were given the option of taking over secretarial powers thereby changing the GoI TOB rules during the deliberations of the Naresh Chandra Committee. However, it seems the chiefs themselves were not really in favor of taking on secretarial powers. Hence, the Services themselves are to a certain extent responsible for the mess we find ourselves in!

  3. June 29, 2013 -

    Why were the men and women of Azad Hind Fauj or Indian National Army not absorbed in the post-independence Indian Army? Were they any less patriotic than the British Indian Army?Why did the Indian Army stop at present LOC and not proceed to get back the entire POK in 1947 or 1965 or 1971?What would you do to a corrupt Chief like Kapoor who has all the powers?

  4. July 4, 2013 -

    this piece is blowing services' trumpet as done by every member of services. let them first clear their own stables where many General ranking officers are being dismissed/court martialled on weekly basis for corruption.and it is also a fact that even though armed forces of india are best paid they left no stone turned to suck more money frm 6th pay comm by putting the entire discipline i jeopardy, this too in a poor country like is nothing but an attempt to get more promotions, money or power. (as usual)