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1962 DEFEAT AND THE LESSONS LEARNT

That complacency in Geo politics could be disastrous and today’s friend could be tomorrow’s foe.

There is no such thing as altruism in world politics but it is one of who gets the maximum leverage.

A long period of peace makes even the best soldier to go more for his golf club rather than a gun for practice.

Political leadership however great it has been otherwise, can fail at a critical time because of over estimation of the leader’s capability as a leader in crisis.

Generals also require constant training both mental and physical to face stress

In peace one has to prepare for war and in war one has to prepare for peace.

Every piece of equipment in the armed forces should be battle worthy all the time.

Create an external audit team of arms experts to continuously audit battle readiness of all units reporting only to a committee of the chiefs, defence secretary finance secretary and the defence minister, the decision of the committee being final and unquestionable.

Ensure removal of deficiencies in the armed forces within a stipulated time

It is wise for politicians to leave certain aspects of country’s administration to trusted experts rather than trying to decide in an amateurish way.

MOD should be re-organised and restructured into an officer oriented ministry with half of the officers from the defence forces and the other from the civil services known for their competence and domain knowledge with no clerical staff.

The enemy always strikes from low ground when you expect it from the high ground and from high ground when the access is easier from low ground.

There should be people who traverse on foot from one corner of our borders with neighbouring countries to the other, who can be relied upon for mapping and preparing defence plans.

When an enemy attacks it is a violently aggressive form of defence that prevails and not prevarication in the use of forces at the command of the government.

It will be presumptuous to think future wars will be of short duration. China with its capability to meet most of its defence needs internally is capable of prolonging any conflict till such time that it enemy is left incapable of resistance owing to supply constraints.

Indian government is at present dancing to the tunes of only certain bigwigs in the industry who are jockeying in with their muscle power to corner all domestic defence orders and effectively preventing the SMEs to participate when they form the backbone of India’s exports and oganised sector employment. Government should wake up to this reality and support the SMEs to participate in defence production

The armed forces are not above board in regard to neutrality in the evaluation and promotion of officers for higher command. Internal matters of the army such as internal discipline, corruption, movement of units, purchase of arms and ammunition, postings and transfers of unit commanders should not be a matter of public debate. An armed forces committee of the Parliament and not the usual standing committee should periodically discuss all matters pertaining to the preparedness of the forces and their recommendations should be implemented. The proceedings should be secret by law.

“When the civil leadership is ignorant of military affairs but shares equally in the government of the armies, the soldiers get confused. When the civil leadership is ignorant of military maneuvers but share s equally in the command of the armies the soldiers hesitate. Once the armies are confused and hesitant, the soldiers hesitate. Trouble comes from competitors. This is called taking away victory by deranging the army” (Master Sun in the Art of War)

(The writer is Mr. M.R.Sivaraman IAS (Retd.), former Revenue Secretary, Ministry of Finance, Government of India and presently Associate, Chennai Centre of China Studies.Email- madras.sivaraman@gmail.com)

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