ARMY SHOULD NOT BE DOWN GRADED..IT’S ASSERTION IS NOT INTEREFRENCE
Dr Col K Prabhakar Rao Retd
In a recent article in Enadu ( Telugu) Kuldip Nayar former Indian High commissioner to UK was very critical about army and in no uncertain terms he said that army’s intereference in civil administration has been increasing. He saw threat to Indian democracy due to such rise.This is not first time that civilian beaurocrats in India have been critical of army and in fact the relations between Indian beaurocrats and army have always been unsatisfactory. This is due to many reasons.
In fact, Jawaharlal Nehru the first PM of India was pretty shit scared of army. He was very much apprehensive of General Thimmayya who commanded great respect in all services and also internationally. Before Chinese war in 1962, The army chief General Thimmayya and Defence minister VK Krishna menon had serious differences and General Thimmayya submitted resignation. However, General Thiimmayya was much persuaded by Nehru and he withdrew his resignation. Later, the PM stabbed the Genral in back by letting the General down in parliament badly and soon Thimmayya retired. The war against China was a serious catastrophe and India received grave shock and VK Krishna menon was sacked later. India begged on streets to collect donations to pay for the arms purchase and to raise national defense fund. It was a matter of great shame. In fact, Nehru should have resigned taking responsibility as it was a civilian failure and not an army failure.President Radhakrishnan should hav e sacked Nehru for his failures and it was contemplated too.In fact Nehru was too busy in Hindi Chini Bhai Bhai campaign, Non aligened movement along with Marshal Toto of Yoguslavia, President Naser of Eypt and Sukarno of Indonesia.He abdicated his basic responsibility of taking care of national safety But dismissal of Nehru did not happen as Nehru was popular among masses. But Nehru continued in chair, People say he died of sorrow and shock in 1964 which is of course debatable. Politicians are thick skinned like komodo dragons.Army’s prestige nose dived. It is also leant that during the funeral procession of Nehruji army chief was shadowed by the civilian intelligence chief duly armed. Such was the distrust among civilan govt and army. It was only after 1965 and 1971 that army regained some of it’s prestige and confidence to some extent. Nehru’s govt made sure that all service chiefs are of same rank so that they could never unite for a military coup. The word commander – in- chief that was earlier present was taken off. Thus army was cut to size as first step. Next step was down gradation of army ranks in protocol. The ranks were seriously down graded in comparison to political leaders and IAS babus. With this started the eternal and never ending squabble between army and civilian babus. Army is under MOD and all its matters have to be processed through MOD that is dominated by civilian Babus ,The rank of colonel was vry badly down graded. Its embroidered cap badge displaying three lions was replaced with isignificant regimental badges. The battallion commanders became Colonels. Downgradation became fatal to army. Brigadiers who also sported Three lion cap badge sported the badge worn by General officers All senior officers took care of themselves sacrificing others interests.
In a democracy Army has to take back seat and civilian authority is supreme and this fact no one denies including army.The police forces that keep copying army upgraded their ranks and promotional avenues for IPS officers while army suffered and there was none to hear to armys woes. Generals were happy with their star plates, red lights on cars, flags, scores of orderlies at home, functions, ladies nites, armed guards at homes, regimental dinner nights, member ships of star clubs, , top guest house reservations, gurads of honor, air travel, foreign trips, much of perks and titles awards such as VSM, AVSM, PVSM and even bars to them .
Mr Nayar in his article was critical that the special powers granted to army inJand K state and in Eastern troubles states sucha as Nagaland have to be removed. In fact the young chief miniser of J and K recommended to the govt that armys powers be removed in his staee. Mr Nayar lamented that army resisted the move and the govt was helpless. This he saw it as armys influence over civilain authority. Secondly, the recent encounter in Kashmir in which some youth were killed was quoted. Kashmiris claim that these youths were innocent . The aspect of siachin glacier also became a matter of discussion. It has been claimed that the foreign ministers of India and Paksitan agreed to withdraw troops from Siachin. Mr Nayar alos claimed that the retired senior military officers opined that these areas need not be held as there was no purpose. However he lamented that army insisted on occupying Siachin lands. This matter has been a gain seen as intereference in civil administration. Is Mr Nayar competent to decide and discuss the strategic issues of defence. After all ,he is a mere beaurocrat of some repute. But that does not make him all knowing type. If India withdrew from Siachin pak would have surely occupied these lands and will not honor the commitmnets. Pakistan always betrayed us. Similarly Kashmir can not be held with armys hands tied behind. Jihadis would butcher army while guys like Kuldip nayar would be watching TV in his cozy house over a glass of chilled drink munching chicken legs in between.. The Kashmir valley has been Islamised. They have driven away pandits from the valley while previous govt watched and kept mouth shut.The muslims in valley had free hand while pundits were driven out and temples destroyed. Pakistan is in hand in glove with separatists and making all attempts to infilterate into state. This is being stopped only by presence of army and to some extent by BSF too.. Army knows what is best for the valley to stop infilteration and not arm chair bound KuldipNayar and similar beaurocrats. It is bettter Mr Nayar relaxes after retiremnet instead of creating confusion and degrading armys stature and demoralise them. He is a chip of old dead wood awaiting discard. Dead wood must be discarded at once or else it would get rotten and soon would emanate foul smell and will be infested with bacteria, insects and worms that would be harmful ffor people around. Kuldip nayar is in that state.