The defence forces of the country have graduated from the 'morse to the mouse' leaving Service Chiefs with little choice but project their aspirations to the government. The greying bureaucrats and politicians and media magnets have failed to register this revolution in military affairs. Instead of blame game they should accept this reality and reorganise the MOD to facilitate effective 'command and control' by military leadership in the changed enviornment.
The view that government pays no heed to projections made by Service Chiefs and turns 'deaf and dumb' to the 'One Rank One Pay' cries of retired soldiers in the evening of their lives is widespread. Established communication channels of the soldiering classes with the civilian masters have apparently dried up. The Officer and Gentleman (including General Officers) will have to voluntarily vacate positions held in various ex- servicemen forums/ associations to be replaced by 'the Rank and File' to keep the dialogue going. This class will be able to speak the language politicians, bureaucrats and media understand best.
Military history of India and the sub- continent bears testimony that the voice of soldier, subaltern, and colonel is never a cry in the wilderness, in peace or war. ROGER or more often WILCO is the expected response of the civilian authority before the soldier fires the success signal at heavy cost to the government and nation. By denying the soldier his IZZAT-O-IQBAL the nation may end up shaking the very foundations on which its democratic credentials were built with 'Aid to Civil Authority' provided by its MEN IN UNIFORM. Dishonoured and stung by the sixth pay commission the country still expects its military to abide by 'for your tomorrow we gave our today'. The disciplined soldier awaits his response to the clarion call: "REPORT MY SIGNALS, OVER". THE CHOICES AVAILABLE: ROGER OR WILCO OR NOTHING HEARD, OUT!
Brig B S Mehta (Retd)