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Thursday, September 1, 2011

But what's in a name ???

The MoD has again touted the renaming of Services HQ as a major achievement as can be made out from the following report appearing in the Times of India today :

NEW DELHI: The old debate in the Indian defence establishment, about the lack of integration between the bureaucracy and the military, is back - and as expected the civilian bureaucracy has disagreed with the military leadership.

Authoritative sources said the Chiefs of Staff Committee, comprising the three Service chiefs, has complained to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh about the lack of integration between the ministry of defence and the three Services, saying it was contributing to prolonged delays in procurement and hampering other higher defence management activities.

According to a senior official, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik, who was the chairman of the Chiefs of Staff Committee, in a detailed communication to the PM put forward the military concerns. It was among ACM Naik's last communications to the PM before he retired on July 31.

Sources said ACM Naik pointed out to the PM that the Kargil Review Committee, appointed after the 1999 conflict between India and Pakistan, had recommended integration between the defence ministry and the three Services, and it was duly approved by a Group of Ministers. The Committee had recommended that the "structure and interface between the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Armed Forces Headquarters be comprehensively studied and reorganized". Many decisions of the GoM were implemented, resulting in the setting up of the Integrated Defence Staff (IDS), Defence Intelligence Agency etc.

Some aspects specifically regarding the integration between the MoD and the Service headquarters were also implemented, among them being the concept of the single file system. Earlier, the MoD and Service headquarters used to maintain separate files on the same subject, but this was given up. The Army and Navy headquarters have been renamed "Integrated Headquarters of MoD".

However, ACM Naik complained to the PM that the level of integration was not enough, with the civilians in the MoD having overriding powers over most crucial activities of the military, especially big ticket purchases. He suggested that it was high time that the government appointed senior military officers in the MoD, at the level of joint secretary etc, sources said.

In response, the MoD in a recent communication told the Chiefs of Staff Committee that the integration was in fact complete and was visible in several aspects. The MoD cited the single file concept and the renaming of the military headquarters to back its claims.

The Kargil Review Committee had pointed out that India perhaps was the only major democracy where the Armed Forces Headquarters were "outside the apex governmental structure". Thus the Service chiefs have "assumed the role of operational commanders of their respective forces rather than that of Chiefs of Staff to the Prime Minister and defence minister". The committee said the "Prime Minister and defence minister do not have the benefit of the views and expertise of the Army commanders and their equivalents in the Navy and Air Force so that higher level defence management decisions are more consensual and broadbased."


Anonymous said...

Navdeep has brought out exactly where the Fauj actually stands; Cannon fodder at combat level and Babu fodder at higher levels. It only remains to be seen whether the Pakis can ever inflict as much damage as the Babus have.


It is pointless on the part of Ex Air Chief to talk of the rot settling in MoD now after retirement fully knowing nothing much is going to happen. As Chairman COSC he should have put his foot down and ensured changes take place.
It is high time that the babu's in the MoD got replaced with professionals. The spirit should be that of two Lt Gen's who have filed a contempt notice against the Def Secy. The Ex Air Chief has given a safe burial to CDS for the next 10 yrs. So much for the cohesion!

Anonymous said...

I am afraid,there may not be some ante national agency actively functioning within the MOD to degrade the morale of troops in a bid to destabilize the presently strong foundation of the country!

avishek said...

Dear Maj Navdeep,
Can you pl shed some light on the implementation of the SC judgement in Maj AK Dhanapalan case involving wrong pay fixation of ofrs after the 4th pay commission.My father retired as a Lt Col ( S ) in 2000.Will he be eligible for any of the arrears? Thanks once again for the yeoman service being rendered by you to the armed forces fraternity.

Anonymous said...

A good amount of 'crack' is very much in existence as far as relationship between plain clothed officials of the MOD and the Uniformed Armed Forces and on date, that is an Open Secret.
Instead of 'blinking' towards the related issues,the Govt.of India should now intervene,ON TOP PRIORITY,to erase the 'badly shattered' state
of co-ordination which MOD should definitely maintain otherwise,with the Armed Forces by pushing away petty Ego Factors and obviously for a more valuable National Interest.
Aggravating the situation any further is not at all desirable and it will be 'great' on the part of all Responsible National Heads of the country to look into this touchy issue, with due seriousness, and without any further lapse of time.


I would like to comment further. Mr Praful Patel, Heavy industries minister says "If such a Bill(Sports Bill) is passed, bureaucrats like jt Secy will be running the sports federation.What is their competence in sports administration?
Very well said by Mr Patel. If that be so what is competence level of the babus sitting in a sensitive ministry like 'Defence' to deal in matters relating to military. If you go as per this anology it would be zero. If as a responsible Minister you feel bureaucrats are no good for even sports ministry how are you allowing them to pile up in MoD. In fact the Minister should initiate a case to shunt out bureaucrats from MoD.

Olive Greens Chandigarh said...

Very difficult to move elephants...especially white elephants like the MoD

Olive Greens Chandigarh said...

Instead of taking just superficial actions, the Government should indulge in taking concrete actions which improve the organizational effectiveness at the highest levels. In serious tasks of nation building...petty thoughts and actions should be avoided and interest of nation be kept above the sub organization and individual interests.

Anonymous said...