Monday, April 30, 2012

The Revolution for Respect- Civil-Military Relations

There is discontent among the veterans. The discontent that began with demonstrations and rallies against the non-implementation of One-Rank - One Pension by the government during 6th Central Pay Commission deliberations has taken the shape of a movement against injustice to the personnel of the Defence Services and Ex-Servicemen. Where is this movement of erstwhile soldiers headed? Will the veteran’s agitation transform into a vote bank and thus a political interest group? And will such a political entity lead to greater politicization of the armed forces? The past history of other nations in the world shows that such benign veteran’s mobilization can be exploited by forces inimical to the health of a nation. If the military was to emerge as a separate entity, will such an entity then be used by others to further their own parochial interests? 

The US Library of Congress has decided to preserve twitter messages for posterity. Twitter archives will be stored under the "Web capture" project of the library. This project has already stored 167 terabytes of digital material. The library uses the "universal body of human knowledge" for scholarly and research purposes. But one is hardly sure if such sophisticated data preservation and mining is carried out in India for trend analysis and policy research.

A look at the scores of ‘Yahoo groups’ and ‘Facebook’ pages related to the service community, adequately inform that the internet is a catalyst that helps rekindle the course and the squadron spirit among the long separated buddies. Here, men in uniform simply intend to connect to or locate their old friends - share the nostalgia of their younger days - seek post-retirement consultancy – find suitable service accommodation to facilitate their travel plans – seek advice on the career options for their children. Such bonhomie on the net is palpably innocuous and can easily be categorized as social networking that largely represents the technology driven new way of socializing and communicating.

Another trend that is visible on e-mail chains and ex servicemen blogs is the emotional debate related to the life of a soldier, his pay and perks, the One Rank One Pension (OROP), bureaucracy bashing and last but not the least a yearning for respect in a society that seems to be happy to keep the armed forces confined to the periphery of national polity. Some of these blogs and emails exhorting the entire service community to join hands give one an eerie feeling about the future of civil-military ties in India. For example one of the messages reads, "Come on be a man and stand up for the welfare of the veterans and please do not split the NDA slogan of ‘service before self’ to ‘self before Service’." In one of the e-mails Gen VP Malik is quoted, "If we wish to maintain good civil-military relations to optimise national security, our people, particularly political and media leaders, must realize this important responsibility and ensure that there is no feeling of frustration or injustice in the military profession.

This feeling of frustration reached its crescendo during the 6th Pay Commission deliberations. The services were then made to look weak and meek in front of the bureaucracy that just refused to take the service representative onboard the Commission that sat to decide the future pay structure of the armed forces. For every enhancement in their salary, the armed forces were literally made to beg. It is during such tumultuous times in 2008 that the ex-servicemen movements like the IESM came out on the streets demanding OROP. The IESM even went to the extent of returning their medals to the President of India. In a clear attempt to attract media attention, they even sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister signed in blood.

There is no denying the fact that the issues being raised are genuine. For example, the issue of continuous fall in the warrant of precedence (WoP) for the Indian Armed Forces is a cause of concern. The Service Chiefs now stand at number 12 in order on the WoP list, at least three notches below the UPSC chairman. That the civilians have been climbing up the ladder, pushing the Lt Generals to the 23rd slot is a story that narrates the mindset of the nation that either views the military as a "class enemy" or as "junta".

The above mentioned concerns of the Indian service community can best be described under the rubric of "corporate interests" of the military. According to Eric A. Nordlinger, the corporate interests include "adequate budgetary support, institutional autonomy, and protection of the institution against encroachments from other institutions and institutional survival". Nordlinger in his book Soldiers in Politics: Military Coups and Governments, also warns that interference with these corporate interests constitute "the most powerful interventionist motive". Unfortunately the Indian paranoia related to coup d’├ętat results from pathetic paucity of literature and knowledge of military sociology in India

It is primarily, this fear of intervention or praetorianism that leads erudite writers like AG Noorani (Frontline, August 13, 2010) to say, "It speaks for the strength of our democratic system that it survived those generals who did much harm. But it should not condone the trespasses of such men anymore. Only the moral and intellectual authority of the political leadership can nip the creeping menace in the bud". But the point that Noorani is missing is that post the 1962 war - once the Western influences on our military had considerably reduced, the Indian armed forces did settle down to following a professional ethical code, which led them to evolve as "managers of violence". They also dutifully accepted the civilian supremacy over the military - what Samuel P Huntington in his 1957 book, The Soldier and the State, described as the "objective control" of the military.

The Indian armed force’s acceptance of subordination to elected representatives was much in tune with the civil – military norms that had evolved in the industrialized world in the Post-War years. Once the ideology of Non-Alignment was clearly defined, the Indian armed forces followed it to the hilt. Despite, regular contacts with the Soviets for the purpose of arms purchases - one did not witness any ingress of communist ideology into the armed forces. Contrast this with the state of other newly independent third world nations (Brazil, Argentina, Chile, Pakistan, Indonesia, Philippines and Thailand) that developed strategic and military ties with the West during the same period. They all ended up either being overtly or covertly controlled by military junta. That both the Indian military leadership remained unfazed by military takeovers in their vicinity speaks about their understanding of the international political-economy at that juncture in history.

It would be wrong to suggest that it was only the armed forces that acceded to the "objective control", The civilian leadership too granted the military a degree of autonomy to pursue professionalism. This probably explains the harmonious relationship between the two. The Indian armed forces (born and brought up under British tutelage) devoted their heads to master Soviet equipment, while their hearts continued to be governed by Western military ethos. The most sought after courses in the Indian armed forces continued to be the ones offered by the USA and UK. The Indian naval officers were encouraged to read Tom Clancy’s, The Hunt for Red October and the United States Navy Institute journal, Proceedings. In the staff college examination much emphasis was laid on the campaign studies related to Normandy landings or General Macarthur’s exploits both in the battlefield as well as in the US Congress. The influence of Western literature dealing with the World War II continued to be followed mainly for two reasons. Firstly, the military leadership that took over from the British was largely trained in the West. For them the victorious western militaries were the best in the world. Therefore, it was a matter of convenience to follow the British training curriculum. Secondly, the body of literature from Russia was hard to follow due to the language and there was hardly any attempt to build a body of indigenized military literature. Furthermore, post-1962 wars, the communists in India were demonized. There was a concerted campaign in the military to keep all and sundry, with even a modicum of left leanings away from the military fold. It is primarily, for this reason that many leftists continue to view the Indian armed forces as a "class enemy". The Indian extreme right with its natural predilection towards military masculinity believes in Huntington’s hypothesis that the "natural liberal inclinations" of society cannot be allowed to permeate into military structures because liberal tendencies can "fatally undermine its (military’s) effectiveness.

The end of Cold War and India’s embrace of liberalization ideology helped the military (much like the other Indian elite) to get rid of the burden of continuously balancing their mind and the heart. This new found harmony led the Indian armed forces to develop fresh linkages with their Western counterparts through joint military training programmes and exercises. According to Indian naval experts, "The professional skills and experiences exchanged during these interactions go a long way in enhancing co-operation and understanding the nuances of naval operations as well as disaster management and combating maritime threats of terrorism and piracy. Having initially involved only basic operations, the current interaction will feature advanced aspects of naval warfare, including anti-air, anti-surface and anti-submarine operations." Needless to mention here, that the Indian armed forces have been interacting with the US as well as other militaries on a professional front.

While no one can dispute the gains that accrue through such professional interactions, the cause of concern is how these interactions impact civil-military ties in the country - unfortunately in India no study is carried to evaluate such aspects either by the universities or by the think tanks. Since India has now entered into a strategic military partnership with the US, it becomes imperative for us to look closer at the impact of such a partnership on the Indian military mind. This is important because in almost all the countries that the US has established military ties with (barring the European countries), the military has emerged as a predominant political force. Take the example of Pakistan, it is widely acknowledged that "the Pakistan military is not just an apparatus of the state: it is the state." The extent to which the relationship between the military and the civil-society is soured can be gauged from the fact that majority of the experts are of the opinion that Pakistan is almost a failed state. Throughout the Cold War and post 9/11 the US has expediently encouraged letting the Pakistan army retain its power base and also determine the nation’s foreign policy. The Pakistan example leads one to agree with Morris Janowitz’s thesis that professionalism is not the best bulwark against coups. Janowitz’s book, The Professional Soldier: a Social and Political Portrait (1960) - that provided an important counterbalance to Huntington, argued that "the transformation of the military to one which ‘seeks viable international relations, rather than victory…leads to an inevitable politicization of the military. And with this comes an implicit challenge to civilian supremacy."

There are no visible signs in India that should suggest us that the military mind is tainted with any ideas about acquiring political power. However, certain indicators pose a disturbing picture about the possible future scenario. Just as majority of the country is disenchanted with the politicians and bureaucracy, the military veterans too seem to have lost trust. Now many would argue that veterans are also a part of the society and the government is capable of handling discontent in a democracy. However, a closer look at the current situation reveals that this time the voice of the veterans is not mixed up with that of the common masses. The body of veterans is fast emerging as a separate entity and their pronouncements have strong political undertones. The ex-military men’s natural propensity to support conservatism can lead to a head on collision with the civil society that is fast embracing liberal values in all spheres. For example, the Armed Forces Special Power Act, that many in the military consider a sacrosanct document and the role of women in the combat arms are being increasingly challenged by civil society and the media. Similarly, the recent incidence of a mother of an officer coming out openly in the press challenging the army’s version of her son’s death and demanding a CBI probe into army affairs points to demands for greater transparency in matters military. Furthermore, the liberal Indian society that has whole heatedly supported the armed forces in all wars fought for the protection of national boundaries may turn their back, if the military were to become a part of a coalition force fighting in some distant lands. The anti-war protests that one witnesses in Europe may get emulated in India too.

The conservative veterans with a focus on military are most likely to have an impact on the serving community too. The retired community is most likely to be in the forefront to prevent any ingress of liberal values into the military mainstream. And that such a body will be supported by right wing politicians in the country can also not be discounted. All this combined may impact the apolitical and secular character of the armed forces. Such a condition would be most conducive for our foreign friends to exploit for the purpose of their own national interest. One says this with a degree of caution, because most of the Indian veteran’s emails and facebook messages that one sees floating on the net are hinting towards replicating the American model to get respect from society that a soldier deserves. Comparisons are often made between the way the American President treats the soldiers and veterans and the way the Indian media and politicians handle the genuine grievances of the armed forces.

The trends are certainly a cause of concern, if not yet dangerous. The political class must begin to appreciate that inadvertently the Indian social order is veering towards greater militarization of the society. They must also begin to acknowledge that such trends cannot be nipped in the bud using the old Huntington’s methodology of control of the military - where the military acts as "a politically neutral profession, isolated from society and concerned with the efficient achievement of victory without regard to non-military".

The game changing relationship that we have entered into with the US is largely based on military to military relations. And it is indeed a paradox that those who support such interactions with the US are opposed to military offering any advice to the government on foreign policy matters. The time has come that the government will have to redefine the civil-military relations in the country. The need of the hour is that constitutional provisions must be enacted to integrate the armed forces with the society and the higher decision making in the country. India cannot afford to let the trust that the armed forces have in the state to erode. Like all other state institutions military too need an umbrella under which it can operate without fear of retribution. The Indian armed forces fully appreciate the fact that this umbrella has to have the logo of the Indian state. But it is incumbent of the Indian establishment to make sure that the holes in the umbrella are plugged. Plugging of holes is important to prevent the armed forces from seeking respect under more attractive umbrellas offered by national political parties of various hues or by the foreign powers with vested interests to court our armed forces.

This article was published in Purple Beret- September 2010 

The Civil-Military relations in India

This essay was published in Purple Beret -  Jan 2010

There are no mergers and acquisitions in the civil - military conundrum. Democratic norms prevent the military from acquiring the political space over which civilians have an exclusive right. And demands of the military profession discourage the men in uniform from completely merging into the civilian crowds.

Therefore a healthy distance between those who possess the “monopoly over the means of violence” and those who exercise hegemony over the political arena has to be maintained in the best interest of the people and the polity. Can this distance remain static? Does the altered socio-political environment and technological growth put additional pressures in reducing and in some cases perhaps, enhancing the hiatus? To understand the complexity of the armed forces relationship with the society at large one needs to draw a holistic picture of this relationship.

There are four planes on which civil-military relations work. Armed forces with (a) the people or nation (b) the government or the state (c) the civic society or civil rights groups and media (d) the corporate world. Unfortunately, in India most of the military and social science literature remains limited to viewing civil -military ties through the narrow prism of military hierarchy’s equation with the bureaucracy and political class. Such narrow analysis prevents both the nation as well as the military men from understanding the evolving dynamics that shape their relationship. Thus giving rise to undue tensions and misperceptions. 

The military and the masses
Thousands of young Indians that throng the recruitment rallies across the country bear testimony to the health of military’s relationship with the masses. Many would say that rather than peoples’ love for the military service it is unemployment that drives the village folk to join the services. This argument cannot be discarded completely. However, there is more to people’s preference for military jobs than just joblessness. In almost every Indian village, military families are held in high esteem. Association with the armed forces is seen as a symbol of pride. More importantly, the service conditions and care that the services offer to the men who enroll strengthens the military - masses bond.

One more crucial factor that needs to be borne in mind by the forces and the government is that the Indian military operates purely for national causes. Therefore the support that they get for protecting the peoples’ rights is unflinching. In contrast, the Western countries face serious problems when it comes to getting recruits for their military, mainly because the society perceives their military engaging in avoidable wars in foreign lands. This was evident in the during the Vietnam War and more recently the protests in both US and against the Iraq war. It is the support that the Indian military gets from the people that helps the government to make almost zero efforts to sell wars like the 1971 and Kargil War to the public.

Higher defence management
While the public provides the manpower resources and the legitimacy for the military to operate, the government provides them the machines and the diplomatic cover to engage in a duel with an enemy. However, ever since independence, the equation between the military’s top brass and the government has been a little unbalanced.

Although the military has never raised its voice against the government and the bureaucrats who run the show, the undercurrents of discontent are discernible. 

The first time the imbalance came to fore was after the 1962 debacle. The political class came in for severe flak for interfering too much into military affairs. And the military too was asked to pull up its socks for not making the government appreciate the inadequacies in India’s military machine. In the 1971 war both the Indira Gandhi led government and the army led by Field Marshal Sam Mankeshaw saw to it that both the national objectives and military preparedness were dovetailed to achieve desired results.

So far as the crunch situations are concerned the relationship between the two has prevailed in accordance with the laid down norms. The problems have been largely felt during peace times. And these have been reflected in the statements and articles written by senior service officers either just prior to their retirement or post retirement. The only time a serving service chief, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat tired to raise a pitch of protest - during the middle of his tenure-he was unceremoniously sacked in 1999 by the then BJP government. It was reported that the then army chief General V P Malik kept mum during the whole episode. The government managed the media fallout well and the country lost an upright and honest officer. The inter-service bonhomie hit an all time low. The final result was that the bureaucracy reasserted its supremacy in running the defence services as per their whims and fancies. 

More than the indifference of the politicians towards the armed forces, it is the rather negative attitude of the bureaucracy towards the defence services that irks those who work in the headquarters and interact with the ministry of defence on a regular basis. The rivalry came into the open during the 6th Pay Commission recommendations when the bureaucrats made the government bring the services almost on their knees to get their rightful dues. There was a phase in 2009 when the ex-servicemen were on the streets indulging in mass protests. The rumblings of these protests were also felt among the serving middle level officers. Making-hay- while-the-sun-shines political outfits in the country were quick to grab the opportunity to woo the disenchanted servicemen. What the government forgot in the process was that listening only to civil servants could dent the apolitical character of the Indian military in the long run and thus create new problems for the democratic polity.

The events in 2009 have adequately proved that on military matters related to service conditions as well procurement of defence equipment, the government needs to incorporate the armed forces into the decision making process.

The military and the media
The civil society represented by the media and the middle classes is largely sympathetic to the sacrifices that the military makes in the course of their duty. However the problem arises when human rights groups begin to question the military’s role in troubled spots like and the North East. Although one is not defending excesses in the name of defence, it is necessary for NGOs to realize that the Indian army has neither acquired the special powers in these regions by holding the government to ransom nor have they lobbied to impose special ‘Acts’ in their favour. The government has granted these powers to them due the prevailing security situation in those areas. 

Electronic media today is another Achilles’ heel in the civil-military matrix in the country. In a most recent case, the media covered the unproven land scam in the Eastern sector alleging direct involvement of top generals. What hurts is that the unsubstantiated news freely flowing into units directly impinges on the morale within the armed forces - severely denting the faith of the men and junior officers in the system; a system that trains them to prepare for the ultimate sacrifice for the nation. How the military needs to handle the all pervasive media is a challenge that requires deep introspection and perhaps an altogether new approach of confronting the 24x7 news networks through military information networks spread across the nation. The other issues highlighted in the media, like the gay rights movements are yet to affect the military ethos. But time is not far when these changes in societal values would begin to echo within the messes too.

Corporate warriors
The lure of lucre offered by corporates (until of course the economic downturn) is another disturbing trend that has challenged the intake of officer cadre into the forces fold causing acute shortage of offcers at the unit level. On the other hand when hiring ex-servicemen, the corporate world ignores the expertise they bring to the boardroom because of their strong sense of discipline and responsibility along with the varied experience in handling organizational and operational duties.

Unfortunately, India Incorporated is yet to realize that most of the management techniques have actually been tried and tested in various military laboratories of the West. Another fact that is so conveniently forgotten is that Indian armed forces have the tremendous experience of globalization because the nature of their job makes them interact with the outside world more often than not. And this is reflected well in their uniforms and marching traditions which are common across the globe.

The civil society has to comprehend the role that the military plays in society’s development. The Indian armed forces today are the best equipped not only to defend India’s national interest but are equally capable of handling disaster management, ranging from foods and droughts to searching for missing helicopters. The armed forces personnel after their retirement have contributed immensely to the growth of all sectors - aviation, golf, security, hospitality, corporate training and much more. So, all that money that the government spends on maintaining a standing armed force gives a long- term return and is ploughed back into society. The armed forces schools have produced the most outstanding students in all fields including the entertainment industry. Then why should the hiatus between the civil society and the armed forces grow? In fact, if the bureaucracy does not appreciate the role of the armed forces, the civil society must use all channels to educate the government machinery to integrate the armed forces fully into the national mainstream by including them in the national decision making process.

Saturday, April 7, 2012

The Fog and Friction of Civil-Military War in India

 The way things stand today, India cannot afford to postpone thinking about the civil-military relations. Much more than frivolous issues like FDI in retail,  financial reforms or strategic tie up to be a great power, it is the civil-military conundrum that should occupy the strategic debate in the country. Any neglect of the concerns that the armed forces are raising will only accentuate the feeling of alienation that many sections of the national militray are harbouring.  There is an urgent need of adroit management of the inevitable militarization of the polity and politicization of the military rather than being passive bystanders at the cusp of changing times

Pandit Nehru's funeral and large army presence to control crowds and to avoid the chaos that happened at Mahatma Gandhi's funeral  

In 1964, at Nehru’s funeral, Indian army troops had quietly moved into Delhi, raising fears that the army was planning to take over the reins of power. The civilian authorities were not convinced that the sudden surge of troops into the capital was to control crowds at the funeral. They went to the extent of tapping the phone of Gen JN Chaudhuri, then Army Chief. Incidentally,  the memories of 62 war defeat were fresh at this time and  the American influence on our military that had begun during the mid 1940s became more pronounced. However, after Nehru's death India refused to join up with the Americans without rocking the civil-military boat any further. 

Five decades later, the Indian media has once again reported a similar story - on the night of 16 January (the day on which the army chief Gen VK Singh decided to go to court against the government to resolve his age issue), an unusual converging of the Indian army units (mechanised infantry and 50 Parachute Brigade) took place around the national capital that already has two brigades stationed in Delhi cantonment. According to the Indian army all this was a part of a routine exercise to make the soldiers march through the formidable Delhi fog.

Much like in 1964, the alleged coup of 2012 also happened only in the minds of certain people. However, this sudden flux, the search for a new equilibrium in the civil-military relations in India is certainly not a figment of a reporter’s imagination. The Indian armed forces community is no longer at its submissive best. It is feeling marginalized as the civilian administration is cussedly clinging on to archaic definitions of politico-military equations and making the military feel almost like a civil society group. For years the government and the military were one - equally Indian – then why has the military suddenly started appearing as a separate entity distanced from the state?

The tumultuous trend started in 2008, during the 6th Pay Commission deliberations when ex-servicemen movements sprang up. Aping American veterans, the Indian retired community returned their medals to the President of India, and even sent a memorandum to the Prime Minister signed in blood. The issue was given a burial with a generous pay package by the government. However, these questions have resurfaced after the current Indian chief of army staff decided to drag the government to the apex court to settle his date of birth.

The General belongs to the generation that grew up with a sense of defeat and humiliation at the hands of China. His generation had come to revere Field Marshal Sam Mankeshaw who had not only won India a military victory in Bangladesh but had also dared to address Indira Gandhi as ‘Sweetie’ – an ultimate achievement for a generation of military officers brought up to play second fiddle to the politicians.

After Sam Mankeshaw the Indian armed forces have failed to produce a General, who could be a match for the guts of the two Field Marshals, KM Cariappa and Sam Manekshaw or General KS Thimayya when it came to dealing firmly with politicians. The closest a general came to occupy the vacant spot was General K Sundarji, however, he failed to seal his place because of the Indian military’s failure in Sri Lanka in late 1980s. The others who followed were generally considered to be nine-to-five variety of generals who were more bothered about their post retirement jobs in the government than in making any serious attempts to halt the downward slide of the armed forces in the national protocol list. Perhaps it is this vacuum that General VK Singh has attempted to fill through his strident stand against the government.

Towards the fag end of the 1990s Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat brought to fore the misdemeanors of the political class in hobnobbing with illegal and legal arms dealers. He had defied the then defence minister, George Fernandes and gave orders to his men not to pay undue respect to bureaucrats in the MoD like addressing them as ‘sir’ nor to offer any rum bottles (from officer’s personal quota) to clerks in the ministry to get files cleared on a fast track.

But unfortunately, very few in the defence community could appreciate what the Admiral was doing. The Admiral was ahead of the times. His campaign against the foreign military industrial complex was launched at a time when majority of the Indian elite were intoxicated by the neo-liberal reforms and the ensuing strategic relationship with the United States and Israel. The Admiral’s liberal secular views also did not cut much ice with the then BJP government. The result was that Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat was sacked without causing much reshuffle on the civil-military front.

Today, the same veterans who had once opposed Admiral Bhagwat are now standing up to support General VK Singh in his tirade against only one particular arms deal. Their political compulsions of embarrassing the government are understandable but their ideological commitment to the idea of a corruption free arms trade is suspect. There is every possibility that much of this support is only to see the defence minister replaced by a more pliable man favoring the arms lobby. While there is clarity about what Admiral Bhagwat stood for, one is not clear about the intellectual depth in General VK Singh’s stand on India’s defence preparedness and civil-military linkages.

It is naively believed by some that the protracted civil-military tussle can be sorted out simply with the increased presence of men in uniform at key decision making positions in the ministry of defence. It is suggested that bureaucracy be removed as a via media between the government and the military. At a theoretical level, accepting a modicum of militarization of the polity is a sound suggestion but in practice the removal of bureaucracy will bring the military in direct touch with politicians. The military would then be expected to not only manage organized violence but also cash flows associated with arms deals on behalf of politicians. This may lead military officers to seek bank accounts in tax havens – subjecting the men-in-uniform to political and criminal pressures. In nutshell, militarization of the polity will concomitantly lead to greater corruption but also politicization of the military.

The conservative politicians may accept the enhanced role for military within political structures. But can military afford to tamper with its apolitical character? The regular interactions of the Indian army with civilian populations in counter insurgency operations has already made the army’s command structure vulnerable to corrupt practices and allegations of human rights violations, any further penetration into civilian realms is likely to have deleterious impact on our democracy.

If a minimalist politicization of the army to restore the civil-military equilibrium appears unhealthy, then equally dangerous is the proposition of leaving the army wrapped in a Nehruvian jacket - dangling away from mainstream national decision making bodies. It is scary because times have changed and so has the Indian foreign policy that is tilting towards the USA. The Indian military is being urged to rethink its mission and feel emboldened to play a more proactive role on the international stage. As expected, the Indian military’s direct contact with the American empire is aggravating the civil military complexities. Under such circumstances if the political class was to fail to bridge the gap between the Indian state and its armed forces, the men-in-uniform may be tempted to seek solace in American arms as many militaries from third world countries have done earlier. As Morris Janowitz had identified in his book, The Professional Soldier: a Social and Political Portrait (1960) - "The transformation of the military to one which ‘seeks viable international relations, rather than victory…leads to an inevitable politicization of the military. And with this comes an implicit challenge to civilian supremacy."

Gen VK Singh’s melodramatic media strategy must not be allowed to go in vain. It should lead the authorities to put on their thinking caps. The biggest challenge for Indian leadership is to curtail the imperial army from courting our military. There is an urgent need of adroit management of the inevitable militarization of the polity and politicization of the military rather than being passive bystanders at the cusp of changing times.