Friday, September 7, 2012

Disconnect between GOI and Armed forces grows

Disconnect between GOI and Armed forces grows – Rank Pay Shows
By IDU Analysis on September 5, 2012
No body listens to the Armed Forces in any matter is a truth. The Armed Forces have been blamed for the messed up wars and operations in 1962, 1965 and Op Pawan but no blame as in the Henderson Brooks or K Subrahmanyam or any other report goes to any bureaucrats’ or politicians’ scalp. And we want to be a Super Power but have become the No 1 Defence Importer in the world because we are a ‘Rich Nation With Fine Poor People’ and the Armed Forces are the fine poor in more sense than one.
The Armed Forces have finally won a victory of sorts on 4th Sept by going to court and there are lessons to be learnt. The Supreme Court three Judge Bench courageously decided not to interfere in its earlier decision granting the cumulative benefits and arrears of Rank Pay with effect from 01-01-1986 to all affected officers. However, the 6% interest component has been admissible on arrears from 01-01-2006 rather than 01-01-1986, because the Government cried ‘foul’ it has no money, which is true for the Armed Forces. Lets hope Chidambaram does not do some retrospective change.
Sadly the case remained pending for years and was finally argued in marathon four hour arguments by the Solicitor General Nariman Jr who had said he had a solid case appearing for the GOI on technical grounds. The SC , decided that there was no infirmity in the order passed on 08 March 2010 which the previous SC had lost but MOD appealed. The welfare of the Armed Forces is a less looked after subject with an IAS secretary warming the chair looking for loop holes only he can plug.
And today news comes Shekhar Agrawal, an IIT product Secretary, Defence Production, Ministry of Defense, Government of India will be looking after additional charge of the Department of Ex-Servicemen Welfare for three months. He has been screwing up private sector attempts to let Private sector defence companies enter production and has been naturally protecting PSUs. Lets see what is in store as he has his hands full in Defence Production. Welfare can wait.
All this shows there is disconnect between the MOD which should have agreed and fought for Rank Pay when the SC verdict came but it is learnt that that the Services HQ were in favour of getting the verdict implemented, The three services on the basis of a decision taken officially and categorically informed the Solicitor General in writing that the Armed Forces were not in favour of the matter being contested against the affected officers and in fact were in favour of getting the verdict of the SC dated 08 March 2010 implemented. But who listens.
Thereafter, the MOD wrote to the Services HQ asking them to withdraw the communication to the Solicitor General, however to the credit of the Services, the said communication was ultimately not withdrawn. Besides showing utter disregard for the opinion of the services in this matter, this incident also shows as to how the MoD tries to browbeat the services into accepting its views and huge nerve centre connects with UPA Chairperson the PMO drives many of these issues. Unfortunately elements of the JAG Branch also toe the line of the MoD rather than the Services for greener pastures.
This shows the dangers of the workings of the Indian government and political parties and shows the insides of national security too that straddles the philosophical divide between India’s Armed Forces and the leadership and extends to India’s foreign and military policy and hijacks the ability of the military ability to deliver. And as the picture shows China leaps ahead with economy , women power, military and nuclear muscle and intelligence which was what the out going Chinese Defence Minister came to gather with 23 others.
Another debility in India is that which ever Indian government has come to power, it has shown a quest to dominate the military by any means fair or foul and has evaded the appointment of a CDS despite Arun Singh, K Subrahmanyam and now Naresh Chandra committee having recommended. They were no fools.
It is only after examining the factors of corruption in purchases like Bofors, HDW submarines, Tehelka and now the cancelled contracts and the war Room leak case connected with absconding Lt Cdr Shakaran and Abhishek Verma that one realizes how Armed Forces are the losers while bureaucrats politicians get away. The names are known but cash leads abroad are not easy to trace.There have also been failures in wars of 1962, 1965 and Op Pawan , that one can point to ill conceived motives and failures of India’s foreign and military policy. The Armed Forces are kept at arm’s length from decision making or foreign policy and offered sops like posts of Governor or Ambassador to Naval Chiefs as one hears the post will now go to the retired Naval Chief for good work done.
Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat tried to challenge the system and took on the Deference (Sic) Minister Fernandes and Defence Secretary and DRDO Dr Kalam and asked for an audit of the ATV INS Arihant project where he was a spectator member. He got sacked under Art 311 with out rank or pay as powers rest with the Defence Minister to dismiss any inconvenient officer under Art 311 though Justice Shah when introducing the article in the Constitution asked for ‘application of mind’. More recently Gen VK Singh tried to take on the Government but failed and its said he is safe as he holds many interesting conversations his special unit tapped in to, and his daughter is an Army wife and an in house lawyer. Bhagwat was simple sailor and lives down Colaba.
With this SC Rank Case ruling and many scams the question before Indians today and the Armed Forces and educated citizens is how can we have faith that their government will steer well and honestly and keep them safe. India wants to rise but has a charted a strategy for India where bureaucrats in MOD apply yard sticks to keep the Armed Forces subservient. How clueless can Government be about scams under the Minister’s and PM’s nose which has the most intelligent officers in PMO looking after India’s Intelligence agencies which have mushroomed so no one finger can point at any one agency. This is a moot point for national intelligence too.
And brings in a relevant question is “Do our intelligence agencies deliver or in the cloak of secrecy get away unquestioned”? When one accidentally took over as Director of Naval Intelligence and consulted a British counterpart who dealt with MI-5 and MI-6 (One had to deal with IB and RAW and DOE only then), he said, “Intelligence is like a cow. You have to ‘milk it’ and learn how to milk a cow (Intelligence) first. She does not give milk by itself”. Nor does any intelligence agency as the act of withholding information, is rampant in India.
Today the Indian government presents a view of reactive Indian foreign and military and nuclear policy, as reported by the Atomic Scientists and Mail Today as the Indian military is not in the loop who are to ‘man the bombs’, even if never to be used. And clever people say its ambiguity as is CWG, 2G and now Coalaveri gate.
This luckily for India is in stark contrast to that depicted by corporate India where to most minds the private industry (not the coalgate and 2G and CWG gainers) is leading India’s rise on the world stage. For years the Indian military was supplied, stocked and supported by the erstwhile Soviet Union but with its fall, now Israel and the US have emerged as India’s suppliers, and till we become some what self sufficient where private industry has to join India will as its now said, “Muddle along well and react only when the chips are down, and the loyal Armed Forces will react after a few days and get their act together”.
But today it’s a day to celebrate our Supreme Court not our MOD or Defence Minister or our PM who promised us pay of our Rank from the ramparts of the .RED FORT on Independence Day when PM announced the Pay Commission of rank not band.. He also ordered a group of secretaries to give a report on OROP on 8th Aug …..but what is an order from one bureaucrat to another unless there is something in it for him or her. The report is still to come. Command and Control of India is in slumbers and Khamooshi (Silence) as PM put very eloquently before he went to Iran for NAM meet, to defend himself in Coalgate is the order of the day.
Disconnect between GOI and Armed forces grows – Rank Pay Shows

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