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Saturday, January 10, 2009

For the weekend : Yesterday once more

No, this write-up was not written yesterday. Courtesy Rediff and thanks to Admiral J G Nadkarni, it’s a flashback, 1998 to be precise. But read on this balanced piece…

Admiral J G Nadkarni

The antipathy between defence servicemen and their civilian counterparts in New Delhi is as old as the ages. So far both have been happy in trying their routine exercises in one-upmanship, name-calling and occasional sulks. Outwardly a façade of polite camaraderie and back-slapping has been maintained. The business of defence has continued, not smoothly perhaps but at least with minimum hiccups.

Recently, however, matters appear to have turned for the worse. The media has happily reported that both sides are now preparing for the ensuing battle, that the two sides are not even on talking terms. No less a person than the defence minister has admitted that all is not well in South Block and asked the service chiefs for their recommendations for reorganising the defence headquarters. If only he had dusted off the hundreds that have been lying in the minister's cupboard all these years!

Indians love scapegoats. How comforting to know that someone else is responsible for all one's inefficiency, ill luck and problems. For the politician it is always the "foreign hand" or his "politically motivated" opponent. (If a politician cannot be politically motivated who else can?) For the serviceman it is always the bureaucrat. If the army finds the going tough in Siachen then it is the fault of that babu who did not sanction enough equipment. If the air force planes are crashing more than normal it is all due to the bureaucrat vacillating over the advanced jet trainer. And if the navy has not been able to place order for new ships it is all due to bureaucratic bungling. The armed forces cannot afford "an entrenched, all-powerful, recruited-for-life civil service, whose vested interests and hijacking of policy formulations have served to curtail the country's progress" says a recent naval paper. Really!

Why is there such animosity between the two arms of our security mechanism? Are the bureaucrats that bad or are they more sinned against than sinners?

Given the background of a service officer and his progress through ranks, a clash between servicemen and bureaucracy is inevitable. The internal organisation of each service is more of a fiefdom than democracy. The battalion commander or the commanding officer of a ship is a petty chieftain. The division commander is king and the service chief an absolute monarch, at least within his service. Within their small kingdoms their word is law. Discussion is rare. Dissent frowned upon. Major dissent is a passport to oblivion.

During his early service the officer is isolated form the realities of the outer world. Eventually when he arrives at his service headquarters for the first time, probably as a brigadier or major general, he has a chest full of medals and an ego the size of a pumpkin. He is confronted for the first time by a well-seasoned bureaucrat. It is a culture shock. Being used to rule by fiat where he hardly had to reason out a case, he becomes angry when even a pan-chewing section officer can pick ten holes in his staff-college-background logical proposal. The seeds of antipathy are sown.

By the time he becomes the chief, a serviceman is determined to prove his superiority. By now he has learned that over the years the serviceman has lost his precedence. He is heir to a load of cliches. "Civil control does not mean control by the civil service," he tells everyone. His juniors are expecting him to 'thump the table' even when there is no table to thump. He does not want to be accused of kowtowing to the bureaucrat and certainly not of angling for a governorship, although no service chief has been made even a dogcatcher for the past ten years. Can any co-operation exist between the serviceman and the bureaucrat in these circumstances?

A service chief would like to rule like Aurangzeb. His idea of a defence organisation is that the taxpayer should place the approved thousands of millions in his hands and ask him to run the army or navy. No questions asked. After all he is the professional. What does that civilian know about tanks and aircraft and ships? And yet as Robert McNamara showed, his whiz kids knew far more about defence and its management than the old fogies in the Pentagon.

The much-maligned bureaucrat in the defence ministry has two useful functions. Firstly he bridles the unfettered and sometimes fanciful exuberance of servicemen. It is the bureaucrat who reminds the armed forces, to frame rules and work within those rules. It is he who reminds them for the first time to work within a budget. In essence he acts as the essential check and balance on the serviceman, which has been lacking in his early career.

Take promotions for example. Until the mid-sixties the services did not have institutionalised rules for promotion. It was a nagging bureaucracy who compelled the services to frame rules for promotion and stick by them. When a set of promotions is queried it is then called interference by the bureaucracy. In such cases you can bet your bottom dollar that some rule has been broken to favour someone.

"How can the secretary question the decision of eight wise men with a combined service of over 200 years?" goes the plaint. More often than not it is the fancy of one wise man at the head of the table and seven nodding their heads. Experienced hands know that no case has or can ever come back, which is strictly according to the promotion rules.

The second and even more important job of the bureaucracy is to shield the serviceman from the fancies and foibles of politicians. If India's defence services have by and large remained apolitical it is in large measure because the bureaucracy has successfully carried out this task. Some call it the "politician-bureaucrat" nexus. Possibly. Yet it is far more acceptable than a servicemen-politician nexus were the bureaucrats are shown the door. Recently in fact servicemen have rallied the advantages of getting close to their political masters and have begun to circumvent the bureaucrats.

Servicemen blame the bureaucrats of being unsympathetic to their requirements. Yet in most cases the serviceman fails to do his detailed homework. For years now the defence ministry has been urging the three services to produce detailed budgets for their service. The US defence budget, for example, is presented to the congress in 14 thick volumes. It goes into minute details including, for instance, the pay of the CNO's gardener or the stationery budget of the Naval War College. India's armed forces forward their budget to the defence ministry on ten pages of paper under broad headings and then expect about Rs 10 billion to be appropriated after a half page note!

This is, of course, not to give a blank endorsement of excellence and efficiency to the defence bureaucracy. There are black sheep on both sides of the corridor. And yet some of the most illustrious brains in the country have occupied the defence secretary's chair in the past. H M Patel, P V R Rao, K B Lal, Harish Sarina and the irrepressible T N Seshan.

The defence bureaucrat works under many handicaps. At lower levels the ministry is staffed by promotees from clerical cadres. Without doubt they lack vision, knowledge and dynamism (Also see this previous post on this blog). Secondly, due to the peculiar career pattern of a central services officer, they are all birds of passage. Knowing that they will be only around for a few years they do not bother to study defence. And yet those who have had the fortune of serving in the defence ministry on more than one occasion bring considerable knowledge and experience to their task.

Finally he has to put up with the idiosyncrasies, foibles, ignorance and demands of his political bosses, who may change three or four times in a matter of few years. The fact that he rarely passes on all the bosses' ridiculous requirements to the services is something to be thankful for.

Will a reorganisation of defence headquarters help? The army, for example, is keen to have a chief of defence staff. Ironically, they seem to be unaware of the fact that in the present set-up the army chief is de facto the CDS. Asked how they treat the services, a wise politician candidly said, "Well, we always listen carefully to the army, we humour the air force and we ignore the navy."

If the defence minister is keen on reorganising the defence set-up, he might pay heed to that wise Roman, Petronius the Arbiter. "Each time we were defeated," said Petronius, "we reorganised and each reorganisation led to a bigger chaos and a bigger defeat."

Servicemen have two choices. They can continue to sit in their ivory towers, nurse their egos and thump the table. Alternatively they can make up their minds to make the system work by co-operating and a little give and take.

Given determination, any system can work. Bloated egos and rigid stands will defeat any reorganisation.

The complete piece is also available here on Rediff


Yogesh said...

Excellent narration of situation. It is not a surprise now that why higher ranks are found wanting in any problem whether it be from forces, politicians, civil servants. But can we learn to think about country and co-operate with each other? Each system offers so many opportunuities and have we exploited the full potential of existing system?
Can we have actual display of concrete results instead of routine rhetorics and accusations on each other?

abhimanyu said...

its very easy to preach. admiral nadkarni has been the chief of naval staff and did he bring any remarkable change. i have seen him as the CNS and also observed him waging his tail in front of the defense secretary when ever he was around. if we had personalities like the present CNS then we would not be in the situation we are in. the army fights on his stomach. if we don't pay the forces well then we are keeping the security of the nation as the second priority. soon we will have the repeat of 26/11.again the media coverage and few heads will roll. we have not learnt our lessons. till how long u can tell the forces to fight on morale and lecture. as it is the youngsters are not opting for armed forces. no body is imagining the situation say after 30 years when our economy will be booming ( a golden bird as said in past)and a neighboring country will attack and make us slaves AGAIN as by then our armed forces would be very big but without competent leaders say like the forces of Ibrahim lodhi fighting against handful of skillful mughals led by a brave strategical general babur. WE ARE DOOMING THE FUTURE OF THIS COUNTRY AND OUR CHILDREN.

Kaps said...

I guess thats why they say if you forget history, you are condemned to repeat it. Thanks Maj Navdeep for bringing out a bird's eye view of defence organisation. Admiral Nadkarni is to the point and hits the nail right on the head without taking any sides.

Problem is, we learn lessons every day to re-learn them tomorrow. Insulation of Fauji from the intricate mechanism of bureaucracy is something that has to be dealt with. Problem is, a youngster, when steered towards these machinations, reacts in a way only he knows how to: I did not join forces for budgeting, this is not my job, i am meant to be a professional fighter. Though this is quite true, it needs to be nuanced with bringing in national responsibilities in the form of financial discipline at early stages.

There is no denying that there is a need for synergy between the MoD and AF. How to go about it is the question. I guess institutes like CDM must take the initiative to bring about this colossal change.

Navdeep / Maj Navdeep Singh said...


Absolutely true.

But the 'problem' also is that we are not ready for an insight into our own shortcomings. And you would soon see comments ripping apart the write up by the Admiral calling him 'anti forces' or 'pro babus. We need to shed our 'holy cow' image, get into the groove and be a little street smart and aware of our rights and privileges.

Let's be a step ahead of the game, always, and history would not repeat itself.

Col VT Venkatesh(retd) said...

In one of the stations that I had served,one of the station commanders(who was also one of the bde cdrs_)spent most of the MES maint grant for units of his own bde,saying that their accn is in bad condition.He was not bothered about the other units bad accn.
This seems to have become the norm.We are clouded by various affiliations to the deriment of the services as a whole.
The army/Services should have have an open & transparent system where every one can see what each other's allotments are.RTI should become the norm with in the Services
Discretion is being misused ate various levels

Anonymous said...

we have seen in past the strong biase, likes and dislikes of our top brass. they have created casts and creeds within services ignoring natural justice. seperate pay commission , more powers may be disastorous in future....
it is better to have a good representation in central pay commission itself.we have seen near mutiny in IAF during pay commission due to flying pay and tech pay anomolies.......think it over

viks said...

The article by adm Nadkarni rings true even today. From an organisation which was known to be happy and efficient we have become an organisation where there are cribs galore. If we are not happy in our house we cannot find happiness outside.

I would recommend we mend our ways internally first. A few recommendations include:-

(a) Stop creating unneccessary work and try and stick to working hours whether in units or HQs. I have noticed that people keep sitting in office till 8 pm or beyond and start early at times Why? Whether in peace station or in war zone we have started screwing our lives.

(b) Implement AVSC Phase II, it automaticalyy sorts out most of the pay commission related issues. We as army navy and Air force get onto a common platform and implement it forthwith. U cant have a situation where army makes colonels in 15 years, airforce Gp Capt in 18 years and Navy Captains in 21 years. If our internal organisation is not aligned how can we talk of bureacrats having screwwed us. No one has had us other than our senior lot who has been vacillating on this issue.

(c) Look after our men and organisation in whatever capacity we are. Improve working and living conditions, look at the housing and infrastructure problems we face. Places like delhi we dont have houses for officers and men. No bureacrat ever stopped us from having houses. we have bungled up on our own, why dont we tlk of that.

(d) Just because our men cant have their say we misuse them invarious capacities and implement our whims and fancies on them. Our culutre breeds pychophancy and we all are licking our bosses for a better tomorrow. At times we hold back our correct input to nod at incorrect input of our bosses. I amy be crticied for this but i have spent 20 years now and cant be all that wrong.

Finally i may have justr this much on my mind as of now but i would say that no one should spoil our culture which is that of a happy societ. Once we work towards better conditions internally we will make a difference.

I would love to hear on this from all.

Rajababu said...

I absolutely agree with Adm Nadkarni(quite bold),Kaps & Viks(though a bit routine and not out of the box).

The following facts are true whether service or civilian:-

(a) Every body thinks their unit/service/Institution as "Baap Ka Jagir" and not an Organisation.

(b) Every body thinks his subordinates/officers and men as Slaves.

(c) Every body thinks he knows all and not open to ideas and thoughts.

(d) Every body thinks that the other side does mot appreciate the views/concerns and is biased.

(e) Every body wants themselves to be looked after very well aur baki bhaad mein jaye.

It is this I Me and Myself attitude thats been the guiding force of every bodys rise and subsequent downfall be it civilian/service.

Its high time the people imbibe some bookish virtous qualities like "Modesty","Empathy" "Trust" "Respect" and "Sympathy". Some living examples S/Shri NR Narayanmurthy,Azim Premji, Ratan Tata etc. The results will be there for everyone to see.

God save and God Bless,

Anonymous said...

The solution to so many ills in the Armed Forces are

(a)De-Link judicial powers from executive. It should be a seperate function under a seperate Chief justice of Armed Forces reporting to Supreme court and not to Army/AF/Navy Chiefs.

(b) 360 degree appraisal of all superiors. At present we have only Seniors recording efficiency of juniors; it should also be the other way round.

Rajababu said...

My dear friends in the Govt and including respected retired offrs,

Lets not get into specifics in the blog as its detrimental to the interests of the govt/orgn and also feeds the antinational forces.

So i request all to be very generisc in ur comments.

It may a way to vent out frustration/expose chinks/ misdoings but think at what cost??? Defnitely not at the cost of National Interest.

Rajababu said...

The problem in the Indian system is that we are all good talkers and not good implementers.

The day we start implement what we say the country as a whole including services will prosper.

My dear anonymous at 0210. 360 degrees appriasal should be across all ranks/designations an not restricted seniors. Ur thinking is already biased.

pawan said...

Though a well written article by Admiral Nadkarni it only speaks partial truth.
I am sure very few of the Service Chiefs would like to be equated to Aurangzeb. May be Admiral Nadkarni may be amongst those very few of them. Service Officers Pride in his Profession should not be projected as being highly egoistic. After all we know
how respected our Police Officers and Administrators are. There are few black sheep in Defence forces too who are taken to task as per the service law.
Service Chiefs of all three wings are equal in stature and status without doubt. CDS is about representing all the three services and must be above petty issues. Ideally he should be from the army being a very large component of the defence setup but also because all the battle / wars are fought to control/capture the ground. Admiral Nadkarni while writing the article forgets that he more than others, suffers from bloated ego than pride in his uniform.
Last but not the least Defence Forces are trained and nurtured with the idea and belief that they are the true saviours of the nation and that nation expects them lay down their life without a second thought whenever situation demands.
If that was not the case then defence would become like police forces and use its power and resources to become absolutely corrupt and dangerous like a Rabid Dog. I shall welcome comments on my views as I speak through my heart.

Anonymous said...

Alas, the armed forces are not a democracy. ADM Nadkarni has made some excellent points:

1. Some of the troubles of the armed forces are because of duffers within the org. itself, who do not know how to deal with men, and their junior offrs. Bumpkins without any class or worldview. Man management was an art the military knew all about once upon a time. Organisations used to hire exservicemen because of it. Now brigadiers have to be packed off on courses about it.

2. What causes officers to take the chhota aadmi view? I have heard chaps refuse perfectly reasonable requests for heptr. evac etc. refused because "yeh fauj hai, mauj nahi". Who is to blame? Oafs in the machine, who do not know what they are doing.

Army should clear up its own house first, and everything else will start falling into line.

GOSPEL said...

Everyone seems to be spelling doomsday and as if we are not getting our act together.Frankly speaking I do not feel it is correct. Niether can we get solutions overnight nor will we able to stomach them overnight in case they are made in haste. We have an inherent disadvantage of lack of continuity and expertise in a particular field. Say for example we have 10 offrs posted in the paycell.Will we use there expertise after10 years for the next pay commission.Maybe one or two. For that we may not even have a structure in place to continuosly handle all ramifications connected to the pay problems.Admiral Nadkarni may be right in pointing out our problems but then we have well meaning people in the forces who have well meaning intentions and who are alive to day to day problems and are trying to get to solutions which are pragmatic and long term.For example the new merit based system of selection did not come out overnight -somebody thought over it. Whether it is good or bad only time will tell.My solution to the problem is three fold. Bring in continuity. Make experts in a field and use them.Accept mistakes and correct them. If applied anywhere across the board in the org we will reap benefits.

Ramani said...

well, there has not been much change , then or now. even now we see retired officers(General or eqvt of course) having two batmen for what.home "service".
our mentality of trying to eat off the house hasn't changed much. unless there is an attitude change we are doomed to be the same.
people forget that " others ae watching all the time".
that they dont complain is because of a false sense of loyalty to the sevice.

digvijay said...

Its great to read the views of all till now , from no.1 to the last one are are all very pertinent .Are the politicians ,the bueaurocrat & the officer lot reading this ,if not some one should put up this to them .The services will be much better off & the country in better hands.Security of any organization is the most important aspect, rest are secondary .
The primary problem started by - putting down the armed forces in terms of money & official protocol , not now but from many years back , why , that God only can answer or maybe wiseman Nadkarni .If the two problem areas are addressed , the dis - satisfaction will vanish in a second , why they are not being addressed is not understood to simple minded Faujis .
RAJABABU has said in simple words , is anyone listening ?
Jai Hind

Young Officer said...

Dear All,
Following comes to my mind when i look at the services in my small tenure till now: -
1. we have forgotten our academy prayers, when in doubt as to what has to be done we can refer the academy prayer and a very clear way will emerge.
2. Officers lead by example, i have seen very less senior officers leading by example. every one seems to be preaching but fails to practice.
3. who is bothered about men? there living conditions, food are far from satisfactory. why can't we have same food for officers and men? food is a very basic need and they say army marches on stomach.
4. why there is a shortage of accommodation? because those who are supposed to take policy decisions, are not affected. there is no dearth of land in defence bases. again house is a very basic need.
5. The Indian Military Academy’s Chetwood Hall bears an inscription, which reads, “The safety, honour & welfare of my country comes first, always and every time. The honour, welfare and comfort of the men I command, comes next. My own ease, comfort and safety comes last, always and every time.” how many of us follow this?
6. we have to clean our own mess first. we should first learn to give respect to our subordinates then ask respect from civilian babus. how does a colonel/brigadier treat a lieutenant?
7. my tenure syndrome is at its worst. no long term project is looked after properly. only those things are undertaken which can fetch browny points within my tenure.

this is the impression of services in the mind of a young officer.

Anonymous said...

Well written. But we are yet to see officers of three stars who do not wag their tails in front of babus and politicians.Even in front of the office bearers of civ unions even when he knows they are in wrong.I was witness to an Army commander requesting a Brig to Sir,a petty babu for a personal work.It will be better if we leave these things unsaid. I am not impressed by the Admirals pen. It is far from realities.For every thing the babu does in south block very detailed papers are given by service HQ.The babus with the historical perspective of the Civilian staff officer of the MOD often does a literary critic's job, many times with hilarious results.

a piece of history said...

The article by Adm nadkarni was written in 1998 nov and it reflects on the events of that time when a serving Chief was sacked by the govt.Therefore reading anyting in this article and relating to the present times would be only erroneous.Nevertheless, the general remarks about the functioning of armed forces and civil evoke mixed feelings .In 1998 ,many such articles appeared on the net about the catapult and fall of then chief.This is just one of them .".....

Anonymous said...

I do not agree with the Admiral at all. He seems to know the civil service very well. He should know that these are the people who have defrauded this nation of it wealth and if India today is the largest contributor to the black money in swiss banks , it is because of these black sheeps who are disloyal to this nation. He must also explain the mad zeal of these people to humilate soldiery by downgrading them. What loafty purpose is served by these acts of the Babus??? Who is ensuring that only 10 paisa of the Indian Rupee reaches the destination and the rest is swindled. The Admiral who is singing Stuti of the Babus must put us wise. WE WAIT SIR.....

Anonymous said...

Bravo Young Officer. May we have more people who think and hopefully act like you. I really tried to repeat to my self the NDA prayer and could not do a good job. Great idea. I could go till 'we may keep the honour of the services untarnished'

Anonymous said...

I must say that Adm Nadkarni is good writer and is able to justify his arguments with his experience. But I fail to understand why we are comparing his views which were there in 1998 ? we don’t know what are his view now ?. So many things have changed since 1998 and so much of water has flown over the bridge. The IT boom started at the same time and things changed since then. even though AVSC phase I was implemented, not much has changed and we are still searching for people who “Have it in them” and finding it very difficult to convince them to be a part of this esteemed culture . But never the less the views expressed by him are his personal views and are based on his service life. if we consider that the article is still applicable in present era also then following are the few observations which I feel should also be considered.
• The babus are appointed to Mod once they pass ‘civil service ’ exam(Conducted by UPSC) in their entire carrier by appearing in subjects such as history etc. I want to know what is so special about that exam. By just clearing one exam he becomes the most knowledgeable guy in the world and can act as ‘God’? Why can’t we get into some more scientific , specialized people we have learned, gained and experience and are vertically specialized in each filed? Let the entry in IAS cadre be more specialized, let them clear their exams in specialized fields and appoint them in those respective cadres such as MOD. And compare this with the officers of forces who pass CDS (conducted by same UPSC), SSB, Training etc. before joining.
• Forces follow steep pyramidal structure where promotions are only after passing staff exams or with other criteria, and mind you a chosen few (can count on fingers) climb the ladder. Now compare this with almost cylindrical structure of IAS. One very interesting fact about their promotion which I heard (I don’t know how true this is ) that ,their entire batch gets promoted if any one goes up. So, you just have to be there and that’s all.
• If these babus are shielding the forces from politicians then it is very clear that forces have to be subservient to civil servants to get their grievances heard because “they are taking care of them”.
• If forces are one of the pillars of democracy , this argument of the article infers that this pillar has no role to perform and its just for show, nothing else.
• Now look at the IAS people posted to MOD and their past appointments. A chap who has served his almost full carrier in non combat fields (read animal husbandry, tourism, fisheries etc) suddenly lands in MoD as cabinet secretary and starts talking about war tactics and takes policy decisions which required detailed and thorough knowledge. Why not use some specialized people for such job who are vertically specialized?
• The forces are also learn and improve themselves to be with this gen ex. Why a major or below should not fly when the non officer cadre can fly just crossing the pay limit? Only because the senior officer thinks “How come a junior officer can fly with him? We never had this liberty.” Now this attitude “ We never had ….. and how come he can ……” is the one which causing problems. I heard of one senior officer who was hell bound to oppose the AVSC I saying that “If it has to come, it will be on his dead body” luckily he got retired before he could dye.
• Yes its true that in forces we are there “TO PROTECT THE DEMOCRASY AND NOT TO PRACTICE IT” but this is not going to work until we have some amount of free flow of information/suggestions from bottom to top. 360 degree appraisal should be there from top to bottom ,and if we can have it, I am sure we will be much better off as compared to now. But still we will have fight for our own existence and not with blessings of bureaucracy.

Jai Hind

Lt Col AM Khan the GRINDER said...

@ Maj Navdeep.

While I cannot but help wondering if Adm Nandkarni’s old piece is a veiled attempt to egg us on in acquiescing to the degrade of military ranks in the sixth pay commission and particularly the PMOs recent fiat on lower grade pay to Lt Cols, this is what I have to say:-

1. Nandkarni’s piece had an intra-services axe to grind. That should explain the conjured ‘balance’. Navdeep, your timing is shocking, to say the least.
2. This PM, his foreign political mentor and Secretaries need to be banished/join their children in the United States.
3. The attempted degradation needs to be rejected, in toto, by the Chiefs.
4. The culprits who have performed this skulduggery must be taken to task and made an example of.
5. The issue- that of status - is, for good or bad, concomitant to fighting capability. There won’t be much to ‘reorganise’ if these issues are left festering.
6. The recent military impotence vis-à-vis the Pakis has merely had the EAM and PM choose ‘strong’ words in their Pak-bashing and sabre rattling speeches as befits a vassal of the US.

IndianACE said...

What Adm Nadkarni had brought forth is a factual statement of the working at the MoD albeit with a somewhat negative view of the uniformed component at Delhi as against a 'more than deserving' view of the civilian functionaries. So, it is slightly skewed, IMHO.

However 10 years have since passed and some unpolluted water could even have flowed down the Yamuna . I would be interested to hear what the Admiral's views are about the recent skullduggery carried out by the bureaucrats.

Further, there is no denying that a massive cleanup needs to be carried out by the services in respect of their dealings with the other organs of the govt and their internal appraisal systems and a back-to-the NDA-Credo campaign as suggested in an earlier post.

HOWEVER BEWARE- this must not in any way be linked to fulfillment of the core demands of the services post 6CPC. That would be a travesty.

Young Officer said...

@ anony 9:33 pm
here is the nda prayer for the benefit of all: -
O God, help us to keep ourselves physically strong, mentally awake and morally straight, that in doing
our duty to Thee and our country we may keep the honour of the Services untarnished. Strengthen us to guard our country from external aggression and internal disorders. Awaken our admiration for honest dealing and clean thinking, and guide us to choose the harder right instead of the easier wrong. Kindle our hearts with fellowship for our comrades at arms and with loyalty to the men we command. Endow us with the courage which is born of the love of what is noble and which knows no compromise or retreat when truth and right are in peril. Grant us new opportunities of service to Thee, to our country and to the men we lead, and ever help us to place such service before self.

I hope the prayer helps in re-igniting the fire which all of us had once upon a time.

Young Officer said...

Dear All,
10 commandments which were taught to us in cadets' time are enumerated below: -
1. THE NATION: -The nation’s honour and interest comes first, always and every time.

2. THE SERVICES: -We pledge to maintain the tradition of three services and keep the “TRISHUL” always bright and strong.

3.THE ACADEMY: -We are proud of the academy we will, at all times endeavour to uphold its reputation by our conduct, bearing and manners both with in and outside the campus.

4.THE CORPS OF CADETS: -We are a family, we are loyal to each other and we act as one man.

5. TRUTH: -We will always follow the harder right rather than easier wrong.

6. DISCIPLINE: -We will obey all orders at once. We will never leave a task unless permitted to do so by a superior.

7. PUNCTUALITY: - We will make punctuality our second nature.

8. SUPERVISION: - We will work without any need of supervision. Supervision is unnecessary when duty is performed consciously.

9. WORK AND PLAY:- We will work hard and play hard. We will keep ourselves physically fit, mentally alert and morally upright.

10. GENTLEMEN: - As future officers of the Armed Services we will learn to conduct ourselves like gentlemen.

I hope these commandments remind us as to why we have joined services and what is expected out of us. Though these commandments have been taken straight from nda but are very much applicable to all of us even today with slight modification.

digvijay said...

Dear Annon , this is the problem- you dont even know the difference between a Defence Secretary & a Cabinet Secretary & start passing judgements -problem with you is the same as most of the career officers .Sorry state of affairs

Anonymous said...

Thanks Young Officer. It read and read it and it made me so proud. I use to just rattle it without thinking and now I realise each word weighs a moral ton. Yes our salvation lies in following it.

Anonymous said...

Dear All,

What Admiral Nadkarani has described firstly is reflective of his own state, his times and experiences. Majority in Services HQ may not be as laughable and miserable as has been stated.

Firstly, the responsibility of running the Ministry, that is MOD, is that of the IAS and CCS. Services HQ till recently were attached HQs who provided their Specialist inputs to MoD and Controlled their respctive Services.

It is true that MoD goons , permanent or Aya Ram Gaya Ram, do not know much on service matters. on the other side,the uniformed Generals know even little about the functioning of the Civil setup. Both sides are equally guilty of remaining in their compartments. This, however, nowhere establishes the superiority of the IAS or CCS. Except for the Railways, this story is prevalent in all ministries with attached Deptts and offices. Take any ministry and its attached office or Deptt, and they are invariably at logger heads. The Law Ministry CCS Babu, a DS, overrules Chief Justice of India, leave aside minor functionary of the supreme Court.

This sorry state of Indian Administrative system exists in almost all the ministries where CCS and IAS goons co-exist to make some Note for the Minister based on what the the so called subordinate Deptt has written.
Ministeries do not do anything on their own except to boss around. A wide cleavage exist every where between the Ministry Babus and specialized attached deptts and many times worse than MoD.

Not keeping this in the context or perhaps not knowing basics of Indian Administrative system, and then judging the functioning of MoD, reflecting poorly on Service Officers, is bound to be a very poor and prejudicial judgment as the present one by the admiral.

True and functional integration of the Services HQ and MoD is the right answer to overcome many "understanding" difficulties.

The Services officers, perpendicularly Lt Cols and Colonels and equivalents do a wonderful job admired always by the IAS and deputationists. Yes when it comes to brigs and Gens, the MoD babus know that they may have neither the exposure, experience or working knowledge of the Subject. Some of JS, Addl Secy level officers in MoD pick on that and deliberately show down the Gens. Some of the Generals see Delhi for the first time when he is a Maj Gen and equivalent. He can not override a JS who has spent five years in MoD and may be is on second tenure. That is why Lt Col / Cols and JS do well with each other functionally.

For an IAS officer, his longest exposure to an appointment is at the level of a JS. For a Maj
Gen / Lt Gen, it may sometimes be barely one year in Delhi.

Whereas the admiral is absolutely right in pointing out the Contribution MoD has made in terms of rules and procedures, his overall contentions are out of context, prejudicial and at times self pitying.

IAS is not supposed to Command Divisions and No Service officer should ever contemplate to run Ministries. Both are separate functions and need separate expertise. What is the need of the system is, to Integrate Service HQs and the MoD for real and on only on papers. That will make it as the best Ministry in GoI.

For the Services, they must make their Maj Gens around 20 /22 years of service and then allow one to be in that rank for minimum 10 - 12 years to have good impact on policies, programes, directions, stability and continuity at all staff levels. This should be achieved even at the cost of doing away with Brigs ranks or making command of Brig a stroke appointment. Services must allow its officers beyond 16 -17years of service to be devoted purely for directional, administration and staff functions of longer durations.

I agree with anon above that the write up is neither worth being put on the blog nor the timing are correct at all. Navdeep clearly is trying to please someone. I though, grant him all freedom without doubting his motives.

Lt Col AM Khan the GRINDER said...

@ Maj Navdeep.Jan 10 10:28

I believe the 'Holy Cow' image of the armed forces is confined to armchair analysts only. Believe me there is nothing 'holy' for the fellow in command, except his mission. Try telling the present GOC CIF'R'(Bhatidhar F'up refers), that he is a 'holy cow'. I wouldn't even try to imagine the epithets he would use!

"And you would soon see comments ripping apart the write up by the Admiral calling him 'anti forces' or 'pro babus'"
That's a tad presumptuous considering the vastly different context in which Adm Nandkarni wrote that article.
IMHO, it is unfair to assume positions of fellow officers on reorganisation issues without asking for them.
"get into the groove and be a little street smart". Really.
Is pleasing certain quarters with this Nandkarni's post street smart?


INDIA TODAY brought out an article titled “ VOYAGE OF INTRIGUE” describing the issues connected with the episode of sacking of admiral and the same is available at www.india-today.com/itoday/18011999/bhagwat.html

Anonymous said...

@Col Grinder Khan

If you have been a regular on this site/blog then you would know that navdeep does not please people or take sides, he only takes a stance and a stand - agree with it or do not but you should not question his objectivity. Had he wanted to please or play to the gallery, his articles would have been different than what they are. You should not forget (if you are a serving officer like me) that most of the arsenal and fodder to the pay cells was provided by him to the services and whatever little we have achieved has been due to his untiring efforts. I strongly object to your doubting his objectivity. He has merely placed an old article on the blog to perhaps show that the story has remained the same since times that have passed us by.

Lt Col AM Khan the GRINDER said...

@ Anon 12:18

I hope you are right.

Anonymous said...

I think the Admiral is quite right in his assessment of the situation, which has not changed much since 1998. In all the service HQs it is the JDs who are running the show and it is their drive that is moving the cogs of this lumbering edifice. (Perhaps they have got the PB4 for that reason only.) The saddest part of the show is leadership shown by majority of our superior brass, whose example and leadership is just not visible out of their grandoise offices.(May be egos bloat or selfish interests become more acute as you rise to the top) Blaming BABUS for all the ills facing the services today is like politician pointing towards foreign hand for their own failings. BABUS/or anybody else sitting in that system will perform in the same manner. Gentlemen I think we need to get that naivety out of our system, understand the system to achieve results and above all keep our moral fibre intact if not improve as we go up in the service and are exposed to all the goodies that it offers.

Lt Col AM Khan the GRINDER said...

@Anon 12:18

When you stop questioning motives and "agree with it or do not but you should not question his objectivity" as you have suggested - is'nt that what 'Holy Cows' are all about?

pawan said...

dear anonymous 8:52 am and all those who support his view,
It is such short sightedness of promoting IAS and IPS officers which has been one of the main reasons of the poor and sorry state of affairs in those departments. Armed Forces have resisted this temptation but it seems they too are succumbing to the Political and Bureaucratic pressures. People who actually do the groundwork are upto middle rung officers. Middle rung officers with at least 15 to 20 years service experience can contribute maximum. Holding Senior ranks with just 12 to 14 years of service leaves huge gaps in administrative management. e.g.
Late Mr Karkare, who was ATS Chief and IG Police was required to physically move for the operation. where as such operations are mostly handled on ground by Team Commanders and Squadron Commanders (Captain/Majors).
Senior officers are required to give directions and guidance. You cannot prevent them from enjoying vast priveleges which they enjoy due to their senior ranks they hold. Therefore these ranks should be fewer unlike IPS wher an officer
with 12 to 14 years (less Training period) becomes a DIG whereas at that age he should be deployed in districts and working with junior officers and men in the districts.
I am sure today over 80 % IPS officers would be SSPs and above where as it should be other way round. It is a BIG Joke by our ELITE IAS and IPS officers and all those who support an organisation having over 80% Senior officers are actually Big JOkers. By next pay commission these jokers will recommend that we must do away with junior rank officers and only have IG/ DGP equivalents to boost the morale of Officer cadre.

Anonymous said...

Any news what is happening to the Lt col scale.Has the fixation table issued .If some one has kindly put it on the blog.What is the fuss about deputation and how it will be implemented.

Anonymous said...

Pawan!!!! Dont you know the IPS do not want the DIG rank. You are so right. Probably they will call Army Capt and Major on deputation where ever one has to die like in the NSG

Anonymous said...

@Pawan and supporters
Your views show your ignorance about IAS/IPS service conditions.Late Mr Karkare has courage to go alone How many Eq rank officers in Army have done so.A DM/SSP with 9-10 years of service controls administration and law and order of district in all odd conditions with little force with them. You are comparing their service condition with army who has man power and equipment. Please come out of cocoon and see the world.Dont write just for criticizing. If you feel they are better you should have joined that service.You arecritizing the views of one of senior officer of ur family only. Shame

pawan said...

dear anonymous 7:26 PM, I accept I may not be as wise as you are.
However I do wonder Why the reputation of IPS is so terrible. Most of the Police force is busy collecting HAFTA. public voting has every year voted Police force to one of the most corrupt. I really pity and salute those very few honest and sincere policemen like Karkare and Kamte who had to work in such adverse conditions. If you do not comprehend the point regarding ratio of senior : middle rung : junior officers, then I really cannot blame you. You can only improve if you feel there is scope for improvement. It is ungentlemanly to throw challanges but I would suggest you or your IPS friends to serve alongside defence officers or men or do a defence course, it will help clear lot of myths of superiority. Just as a good soldier makes an average indian proud in the same way a good policeman through his professionalism can make us proud. Touch your heart and reply me if you really feel that AN AVERAGE citizen is Really proud of our police force. It gives me NO Pleasure in pointing short commings. I (and the entire nation) will be happier if only our officers become more mature in assessments and decision making. my best wishes to you and thanks for your kind words.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Nadkarni has expressed those weaknesses in AF.there are some valid pts in all those comments.
The services are from the people of this GREAT NATION.We are not different.
All that bad we see in the country is also prevalent in def forces and all uniformed forces.
I totally agree with present agitation for parity and removal of disparity .The bureaucracy of both civil and military are equally guilty of present conditions that are subverting security of the NATION.
I would always welcome introspection based on critical analysis and constant endevour for improvement and efficiency. We cannot run away from this.
Let me say what an officer with 10 yrs has said when I asked him why he is seeking release/voluntary exit from ARMED FORCES,quote " DURING MY 10 YRS SVC I HAVE NOT COME ACROSS A SINGLE OFFICER WHOME I CAN EMULATE .That is the rot.
We dont have even few officers like the present chief of NAVY.
After some more time the DF will be starved of such leadership at all levels.
We will be left with bunch of self-seeking psychophents.Can that type of leadership lead the def forces to victory. Victory in war is sum total of successful battles /actions at coy/subunit level. If the young leaders are not motivated or demoralised the effect of 1.5 mil DEFENCE FORCES will be less .It is better to have lesser force with greater eficiancy and motivation.

Anonymous said...

@Anonymous 8:09 pm
What courage Mr.Krkare displayed? Putting helemet and bullet proof jacket in front of media like a film star and instead going to the site of fight at CST, going to Cama Hospital. Moving all the three officers in same vehicle. This can't be called courage. It is foolishness and eager to project in the media. What Mr.Antulay said is right. Any intelligent police Officer will not do it and hence unbelievable.

Rajababu said...

For all the wise men on this blog

Guys i repeat what i have written earlier:

Empathy,Sumpathy,Respect,Trust and Modesty are some of the virtues worth emulating to become completely wise and be sucessfull in life.

I found this to be missing in both the IMA and NDA. Dont u guys feel that the above qualities needs equal emphasis in addition to the TEN Commandments, which becomes a part of folklore after few years of service. In fact it is remembered only in the josh years but jab hosh aajata hai sab moh maya lagta hai!!!.

So imbibe some good and righteous qualities i have mentioned that will bring maturity and Saadigi to services in addition to palin agressiveness. Remember that is good to have a complete officer than a half cooked one who is an emberassment to one and all.