There is something rotten in the Indian army. The recent cases of mutiny in reputed regiments of the army enunciate the dropping standards of men and officers to a limit of rendering them combat ineffective. A good news for Pak army though.
An army is about its officers as an old quote of Napoleon goes “there are no good or bad regiments, only good or bad officers”.
Not only incidents of ill-discipline and insubordination are visible at battalion level and below but cases of corruption have become the hall-mark of Indian generals. Even the present COAS Indian army could not save his uniform being blemished; he has two court cases pending against him. The first involves fake encounter of locals in Indian occupied Kashmir and the second is regarding widespread rape and sexual assault by contingent under his command on UN peacekeeping mission in Congo.(Don’t Know how he became chief ) The earlier COAS controversy on his date of birth also manifests the trend.
In August, 16 cavalry regiment in Samba(occupied Kashmir) went to a battle, not with Pakistan but within. After suicide of a Jawan on a leave issue, the regiment ranks ganged up and surrounded officers and their residences in protest, leading to a prolonged confrontation. Two other infantry units rushed to control the soldiers.
In another incident involving 226 field artillery regiment located in Nyoma (Leh), a major along with four other officers beat up a Jawan on allegedly misbehaving with his wife on a firing Range( what the hell was she doing on the range!). Despite the Jawan being in critical condition, the officers refused to let him get any medical help. This fumed the fellow soldiers and they mutinied. When Regiment commander intervened, reprimanding the officers for their conduct; only to be allegedly assaulted by the five. Witnessing this, the soldiers went outrageous and thrashed the officers. They went out in streets with knifes and clubs to protest against their officers. The standoff was 48 hours long.
The recent 45th Cavalry mutiny at Gurdaspur, Sikh mutiny in 1984, Gurkha mutiny in 1970 and an officer posted on LOC declaring independence of area under his command are some thought-provoking facts.
Another incident also clearly tells about the decaying moral fiber of the Indian army. Recently a major of army aviation posted sexually explicit video and pictures of his commanding officer with his wife on several porn sites!
The colonial era institute has become corollary of the culture of impunity and lack of accountability. The scandals such as Tatra truck case, the sukna land scam and Adarsh Housing society in recent past have become the insignia of major defence purchases.
During my service on LOC as well as in Siachen glacier, Indian army soldiers cannot associate with their officers because of vast differences of class, caste and religion. Sometimes a Muslim soldier used to tell us the exact time and location of next artillery bombardment by Indians. We exchanged gifts amidst of fighting with an outpost commanded by Muslims on Eid. We knew that even if ordered that post will not engage us effectively, and we reciprocated the favour. My men used to say “Sir we speak the same language, eat the same food, watch same movies and listen to same songs, some are even Muslims among them and they might be a better one and Sir they love and envy us at the same time”.
My soldiers used to feel sorry for the Indian army’s soldier. The distance between the posts was sometimes even less than 50 meters and it was not uncommon to hear an officer shouting at his men in an abusive tone. Incidentally, defence minister A K Antony told Parliament that as many as 1,018 soldiers had committed suicide since 2003.
Pakistan army has its own issues but never in the army occurred a moment when men mutinied against the officers or even a slight face-off. The ratio of officers to men martyred in war zones should ideally be one ratio ten, but Pak army officers are going beyond the call of duty. In the war against terror this ratio is one ratio six. The demand of Pak Army on UN duties is ever-increasing because of high standard of discipline and love for humanity.
A third of the army is fighting the war against terror, a third deployed on the Indian front and the rest preparing to go in either theater. In commitments so dense there are very few desertions and even lesser cases of suicide. No nation in the world can claim such a state of morale and discipline. Maintaining an army of 6 hundred thousand strong with officers highly short numbered; talks highly of officer corps.
Pakistanis need to feel proud of an institute which is doing its job properly under the parliament. It has evolved into a dynamic and unique institution, very different from its colonial past. Yes, there are thousands of misunderstandings among people, which will certainly appear on the comments below but believe me I haven’t seen anyone more sincere and patriotic than a Soldier of Pakistan. More than 6000 lives is an ample testimony. During all my assignments in Tribal areas or on LOC, these verses of an unknown author represented my feelings and thousands like me:-
“We the willing
Led by the unknown
Are doing the impossible
For the ungrateful
We have done so much
For so long
With so little
We are now qualified
To do anything