Indian Army: The ultimate bastion of the nation
- The Indian Army will continue to be foundational towards building a strong, modern and resurgent India
- The Indian Army as an institution and its soldiers will never be found wanting by the nation and its citizens irrespective of the adversities they may face
- Citizens too have a responsibility to the soldier who protects them and the family who they leave behind while making the supreme sacrifice for the nation
Concept of National Security and Nation Building
National Security and Nation Building are two sides of the same coin wherein one cannot exist without the other. Yet unless you have strong national security, you cannot build a strong nation.
Thus, national security is a nation’s insurance that empowers its democratic institution to pursue its national interest without fear or favour thereby providing an environment for the development of the state and for its citizens to live in peace and prosperity.
The 21st century looks towards security, justice, economic development and a democratic polity as the pillars of nation-building. Security comes first in the pecking order because the other three pillars function effectively only if the security threshold on the nation, both internal and external, remains intact. This in turn facilitates smooth functioning of democracy and brings in its wake social justice, economic development and prosperity for its people.
The rationale for the existence of the military thus lies in the concept of a nation-state where there are harmony and balance between defence and development. This underlines the importance of a motivated, modern, ready and relevant military to a nation-state and its quest for nation-building.
India’s Security Paradigm Needs a Strong Military
The world is living in a COVID-19 transformed era of geopolitical flux and re-balancing of traditional relationships,with multiple friction points and security threats. The emerging world order will remain one where the military and economic resilience will continue to dominate the global system and in which nation-building will become ever more relevant.
In a turbulent world such as ours, the need to grow in a stable and peaceful environment thus demands the necessity of a force which would ensure its national security against both internal and external challenges.
In today’s security paradigm, as India gains respect and finds its rightful trajectory in the comity of nations so do the challenges to its national security multiply. The twin challenges oftwoC’s -Chinese incursions and Wuhan originated COVID-19’s striking simultaneously and poses the biggest threat to the nation.While the vaccine will overcome the pandemic, the greatest challenge of 2021 remains the Chinese threat along with the collusion of Pakistan to our territorial integrity. Adding to the woes is the ongoing challenge of proxy war and terrorism.
There are no signs of disengagement in Eastern Ladakh, as on date. Even with a limited conflagration, we will need defence forces that are combat-ready to fight against a technologically superior force that is served by better infrastructure. We may hope for the best yet we need to be prepared for the worst.
To face the challenge we need to hasten our defence modernisation, border infrastructure development and defence preparedness by matching budgetary support all in quick time addressing our present voids and vulnerabilities. The sovereignty and territorial integrity of a nation come at a cost, and the nation will do well to acknowledge this and take action. Remember the reality that capability building takes time and intentions of our adversaries can change fast.
Indian Army Ethos - ‘Nation Above All’
Indian Army has been at the forefront of ensuring the safety and security of the nation, yet it has come at a high cost to precious lives of our gallant soldiers. The strength of the Indian Army lies in its high standards of discipline, professionalism, patriotism and selfless service to the nation.
The soldier epitomises the secular outlook and an apolitical demeanor owing allegiance only to the constitution and not any political party.From minus 55 degree centigrade white-out in Siachen to plus 55 degree centigrade blazing heat of Thar Deserts, the Indian Army soldier stands tall protecting our motherland and you. The soldier goes to the battlefield in honour of the tricolour flag, fully conscious of the fact that it may well be that he returns home wrapped up in it, and yet serves his motherland with pride. For him, duty is the most supreme religion – the only one he professes (Seva Parmo Dharma).
The Indian Army culture and ethos of “Unity in Diversity”, acts as a shining example to all others, bedevilled by communalism, corruption, petty politics and personal agendas. Our flag thus does not flutter because of the wind, it flutters with the last breath of each gallant soldier who sacrificed his life protecting it.
The soldier epitomises the concept of ‘Being Indian’defined NOT by colour, caste, gender, creed or religion but by an Indian defined by 5 C’s - Character, Competence, Courage, Commitment and Camaraderie. For him Army is not a corporate or just a profession, it is a way of life and a family. His blood is ‘olive green’ and blood group ‘Be Positive’, and so he is the best of a friend to the friends and worst of an enemy to the enemies. His religion is defined by the religion of the soldier which is ‘INDIAN’, and the worship place “SARV DHARAM STHAL”. His DNA is‘IMANDARI, WAFADARI AUR EKTA’ and his belief lies in “NAAM, NAMAK AUR NISHAN”.
Today very proudly, the gender ‘He’ is only a metaphor because the Indian army is proud of its women warriors who have done the nation and Indian Army proud.
Indian Army And Nation Building
The role and responsibility of the Indian Army are not limited to the national borders but also to be the strongest pillar of nation-building. In India, democracy, however, tenuous has managed to hold and the basics of the constitution as initially introduced continues to be sacrosanct. This has been facilitated, by no small measure, by the armed forces who have maintained, most scrupulously, the ideals enshrined in the constitution and have made a great contribution towards the nourishment of democracy in the nation.
While being operationally committed, the Army continues to be the ultimate responder in times of natural or manmade calamities and chaos, a sheet anchor during the national crisis when all other organs of the nation appear helpless. Intervention operations in the Maldives and Sri Lanka at the behest of their governments and evacuation of beleaguered Indian citizens from the war zones are examples of out of area contingencies.
To support India’s efforts for world peace as a responsible member of the global community, the Indian Army as the nation’s Ambassador is one of the largest troop-contributing force to United Nations peacekeeping. Defence diplomacy and military to military cooperation between India and other friendly countries is another facet that has helped in strengthening bilateral cooperation enhancing India’s international image. Besides, the other allied organs manned by Indian Army like the BRO, TA, NCC, MES and DGQA have done yeoman service to the nation in diverse fields from infrastructure development to restoring ecological balance and beyond.
Even in a health crisis, the Indian Army stands tall providing succour to its citizens in far-flung remote areas.The military is thus an unyielding bastion to protect the nation and project the country’s image contributing effectively to nation-building.
A Soldier’s Expectations from the Nation
As the Indian Army proudly celebrates its seventy-third Army Day, it’s also time for introspection by the nation-state, its people and society at large including media, politicians and bureaucrats. The need is to reflect upon the outlook of the nation to this most respected institution and systemic erosion in its stature over the years.
So, what a soldier expect from the nation and those in power? These are five basic aspects yet often neglected or overlooked as under:-
1. Arm him to Fight, Win and Live to Fight yet Again - A soldiers life must be valued by the nation. While the spirit to fight of a soldier is infinite, inadequate fiscal support and sluggish modernisation have failed to arm him adequately for the assigned tasks.
2. Ensure his Status and Dignity in the Society - The systemic erosion of status by successive dispensations has adversely affected civil-military equivalence and dignity of the uniformed fraternity. The need is to reflect and arrest policies which dilute and tarnish the image of defence services resulting in a sense of victim-hood.
3. Keep the Institution Apolitical and curb detrimental policies to its brave human capital - The systemic attempts to politicise the uniform, its exploitation for political mileage and enunciating policies which adversely impact both the organization and morale of human capital by ambitious few in high places must be ruthlessly curbed.
4. Defence Reforms to be Ready and Relevant for the Future - Reforms must be pragmatic, joint service integration driven and driven by the felt needs of the organization based on present shortcomings and desired future capabilities.
5. Respect, Care and Well being of Veterans and Families of our Fallen Soldiers / Disabled Warriors - Possibly this is the nation’s weakest point because it does not impact the vote banks, yet remains the moral measurementof the nation’s duty and responsibility to its soldiers. There is a need fora better outreach model with greater compassion, respect, empowerment and assured lifetime connectivity to address all concerns expeditiously, than just release of paltry monetary dues. The evolution of a large number of NGO’s supporting this noble cause is welcome, but also reflective of the state failing to meet their vital obligation. The mantra should be to connect, show compassion, take care, and empower our veterans and the families of our fallen soldiers.
As India emerges to find its rightful place in the world, the Indian Army will continue to be foundational towards building a strong, modern and resurgent India. The Indian Army as an institution and its soldiers will never be found wanting by the nation and its citizens irrespective of the adversities they may face.
Yet the reciprocity by the nation and its citizens to empower them to fight and show compassion for their basic well-being is only a righteous responsibility.Is this asking for too much? I leave the judgement to the citizens in whom I have complete faith. They too have a responsibility to the soldier who protects them and the family who they leave behind while making the supreme sacrifice for the nation.