Our Defence Forces are the best



There has been so much written about the Army and other wings of our armed forces during the past few months. Some of the stories suggest that if there was anything wrong in this country it was only in our defence forces. As if everything is right elsewhere.

While writing about our men in Uniform there is a tendency to play down their role in securing our borders. The irregularities in the three wings in respect of wrong selection or purchases at inflated prices are sought to be linked to the military establishment rather than to the bureaucracy, which plays a very big and important role in such matters.

The report by a prominent newspaper on Wednesday, which tried to connect the movement of a section of our troops in January to a possible coup attempt, has already been termed as “alarmist” by our Prime Minister and needlessly “sensational” by many others. The report tries to suggest that the Army was acting on its own and without the sanction of civilian authority and had authorized some battalions to illegally move in the area of the National Capital Region. And alert civilian wings informed the political establishment, which in turn reversed this movement. The report has naturally been rebutted at the highest level but shows that vested interests were at work to malign the Army and the office of its chief.

The newspaper in question and many others should always remember that the debate over the Civilian supremacy over our armed forces got over long time ago and no one in our defence forces or in the political class has any doubt over this. Yes, the bureaucracy, which often acts bigger than its boots does play its little games sometimes. But this kind of sensationalism is something, which no one can ever condone.

It is very obvious that many of the reports appearing in various newspapers could be inspired by selective leaks by the powerful arms lobbies. These lobbies have cultivated strong and influential contacts in our establishment and it cannot be denied that some bureaucrats, defence personnel and politicians are on very friendly terms with this resourceful bunch of individuals. Last week, a top-secret letter by the Chief of Army Staff to the Prime Minister highlighting the unprepared ness of our armed forces was “leaked”. It has since been virtually established that the leak did not happen from the Chief’s office and neither from the PMO. Obviously, it had its origin somewhere in the bureaucratic section of our defence ministry.

It is commonly said that defence deals in the ministry of defence are nothing unusual and every purchase needs greater scrutiny in order to avoid middlemen and fixers. But to tarnish the image of our Army or any other wing merely because some vested interests are leaking selective information is nothing short of being “anti national”.

While it is the prerogative and right of any media group to dig out information about any wrong doing in any arm of the government, care should be taken to ensure that no unjustified insinuation is made against any department or those who head it. We must act more responsibly and not question the integrity, patriotism and valour of our men in uniform. But at the same time, Crooks if any should also be brought to book.

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