General Malik's arguments are entirely sustainable. In an earlier mail to you in reply to your mail, I have talked about an IPS which is a drag, not a service which can effectively police this nation. All the senior ranks of Indian paramilitary forces are manned by IPS officers, usually thoroughly politicised through their association with State politicians, always jockeying to equate themselves with their IAS colleagues in the States and at the Centre. Just look at the critical national security, intelligence, gubernatorial positions occupied by these gentlemen. They are imbued with all qualities except qualities of leadership in the field. Their cars fly flags and show stars which, to my knowledge, is not done by any other police force. These gentlemen wear badges of rank similar to army officers. Their Directors General are equated with Army Commanders in the field. Absolutely laughable if it were not so tragic in its all too evident consequences to nation's security. The IPS has been a thoroughly spoilt, inward looking, coccooned force, completely politicised, doing the bidding of their political masters in the States and at the Centre. How can such a service provide combat leadership in the field against well trained, combat hardened, well indoctrinated insurgents? General Malik has clearly visualised the prognosis. Bring in the already fully stretched army, with the dire consequences to the nation he anticipates. The Home Minister has spoken of deploying air power without thinking through the consequences of such precipitate action.
Time now to think calmly and clearly of what needs to be done to beef up our paramilitaries by training them for the very onerous task at hand, providing them with leadership in the field and at headquarters, leadership which understands its men, has their confidence and is ready to lead from the front. While this is being done which will take time, the existing PMF must hold the ring, at least contain the menace, not allowing it further successes of the kind it has registered of late. Can this be done? A good question the answer to which must depend on Central Competence.
Vice Admiral MP Awati (Retd)
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