Anil Dalal's a civilian response given below is to my posting in "JATLAND" about the IDSA Director's comments has more relevance than Military rebuffs.......
Brig Lakhsman Singh (veteran)
I agree it is quite a ridiculous argument. Indian armed forces have always shown exemplary behavior in not seeking a political role for themselves and deferring to the democratically chosen leaders even if they are crap. The danger to Indian democracy comes more from the politicians who time and again show contempt for the rule of law and would go to any extent to seek power. The only time democracy went for a toss in India was during emergency in 1975-77, and that was because of a politician, Indira Gandhi. In fact, the armed forces showed remarkable restraint even in that period.
Even the rationale used by Mr. Sisodia is quite weak. If his "inversely proportional" logic has to be taken at face value, then is he arguing that a strong democratic state is based on weak armed forces? That is counter-intuitive, as if you don't have strong (and disciplined) armed forces, then you run into a danger of having local militias, strongmen, insurgents and what not. Indeed, the problems seen locally in many parts of India like Naxalism, private armies or insurgency are in part due to the weak state police. Moreover, he discounts the diverse nature of Indian army itself. Most armed dictatorships can be traced back to a strong ethnic bias and/or homogenous nature of the dominant force- Pakistan has Army controlled by Punjabis, Saddam had Baathists who were Sunni Muslims, etc. Indian armed forces have regional, ethnic as well as institutional diversity. Apart from Army, Navy and Air Force, where it would be difficult to argue which one is supreme, there are also lots of paramilitary forces like CRPF, BSF, ITBP, etc. And all these forces have ethinc/regional diversity in their ranks between and within themselves. It becomes very difficult for anyone to organize such a diverse force for an unconstitutional act like a coup. (of course making a leap of faith assumption that someone actually has that intention)
Please refer to the blog by Maj Gen (Retd) Satbir Singh, SM, Vice Chairman Indian ESM Movement, captioned above. (Background- given below)
Perhaps the Director IDSA was partially correct in that undue use of the Armed Forces in aid of civil powers does weaken the Democratic set up of a country. Beyond that, the connotation of the passage is totally unacceptable. General Satbir Singh has outlined some action plan to counter it. I would suggest an alternative starting plan. Why can't the politicians be confronted with this statement directly & asked to either agree or disagree with the IDSA Director? If they agree, AF would know where they stand. If not, AF should demand sacking the IDSA Director, as a message to the Babus. That way our plan of action to have OROP implemented would assume more clarity.
MB Ghosh (Veteran)
Mr N.S. Sisodia an IAS Officer said that if Defence Forces are given more powers, they will seize power like Pakistan and Bangladesh. Such statements by bureaucrats of the status of Director IDSA are highly objectionable and to say the least are totally unfair to the most patriotic Defence Forces who have very strongly held the flag of democracy flying high in our country. The relevant part of the written script of the Director IDSA is as under:
“Heavy reliance on armed forces weakens civilian authority. Their frequent use enhances their power and influence in the polity. This enhanced power can become a threat to democracy as we have seen in the cases of Pakistan, Bangladesh and other countries which have suffered military coups. The extent of democratic control is inversely proportionate to the democratic governments dependence on the armed forces.”
What about corruption of IAS Officers which is daily news now? Who is involved in looting the wealth of the nation, benami transactions, hawala operations, hoarding illegal money in Swiss Bank accounts, FDI investments through back door, generation of black money? Only the IAS are using the Military like a spanner to set their mess in order! The Military is right now shod of honour and teeth. It cannot bite thanks to AV Singh- Upgrade to degrade command and control structure (fully implemented in all phases- in entirety). The IAS- ISDA Director and his folk and ilk can rest in peace! Bureaucrat's Maxim: "Truth shall never prevail in the Power Corridors of Bureaucracy". They should remain buried forever in the files like Henderson Brookes Report which depicts future outcome for India...repeat of 1962. Will the Nation learn lessons when the truth remains buried?
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