Why the outcry against Shekhar Gupta’s column?

I’m sure by now most folks have read Saturday’s column by Shekhar Gupta in The Indian Express. If you haven’t, click here to read it now — it’s a must read. As with the Express editorial on September 3 titled “It’s the uniform“, Saturday’s column has facilitated a groundswell of response and backchat from the retired servicemen community.

First off, let me say that I believe that anyone who reads Shekhar ought to do so without emotional goggles for two basic reasons that have endured in his own long stint as a defence writer. One, Shekhar will say what others won’t. And two, I do not know a single person more resolutely on the side of the armed forces (and against the bureaucracy) than him. And I say this without emotion because I’ve worked with the man, and believe me, there’s no editor or journalist for that matter who takes armed forces issues as personally as Shekhar Gupta does. That would also explain the intro para to his column.

Ok, so Shekhar’s column basically outlines the fact that by defying the government over the pay commission orders, the three service chiefs have set a dangerous precedent. Now before everyone gets into a right-royal twist, it may be useful to observe just who Shekhar says the precedent will be dangerous to — future chiefs and liberties of the armed forces! Let’s be very clear about one thing. Knowing Shekhar, he probably felt great pride and personal camraderie with the chiefs for what they did. It’s only after he sat down and thought about the possible repercussions that he wrote this column — he still doesn’t oppose the actions, but he recognises their repercussions. And is he really wrong? Let’s for a second stop thinking about this as an emotional issue — I know that’s almost impossible — but let’s try.

I categorically support what the chiefs did. So do most people, and so does Shekhar. It’s something that’s made a lot of us really proud, and we don’t even put a uniform on our backs, so you can just imagine what icons these three chiefs are to their own men and women! But this does not take away from the fact that a vengeful polity/bureaucracy will strike back at an opportune time, and quote this incident ad nauseum in the future to curtail any proposed liberties, special or discretionary powers that the chiefs may require as the years go by. Let’s make no mistake about that. The defiance, while honourable and a real example in these cowardly times, will be used as an instrument of civil power against the armed forces in the years to come. It’s not business, it’s personal.

Therefore, to think that Shekhar’s column is anti-chief and anti-armed forces is to miss the very point. It’s a lament, in my opinion. A lament that such a worthy, upright and principled stand by the armed forces chiefs will likely be used against them in the future. And all of us — journalists, serving and ex-servicemen — know bureaucrats and politicians well enough to know that this is true.

And may I add that Shekhar’s analysis of Defence Minister AK Antony is bang on.

77 thoughts on “Why the outcry against Shekhar Gupta’s column?”

  1. Quite contrary to what Mr Shekhar Gupta has forecasted,the resolve shown by all the Service Chiefs will not serve as a negative precedent for the future,it will be a positive one.From now on,the ruling classes will take the military more seriously.As India grows in global stature,the military will assume a growing importance – not just for preserving the nation’s territorial integrity but also for preserving India’s interests abroad.That will take some bit of sheen off from the self serving bureaucrats.The very fact that all three Chiefs came together on this issue of pay-allowances is indicative of the serious state of HRM in the Forces.The present Chiefs have done their Services proud by taking a stand and placing their personal career/future at stake.Now they can be rest assured that none of them will be considered by a Congress led govt for post-retirement prizes,like Governor or Ambassador.Just before the present Army chief,we had the black demo who remained servile and condesceding throughout – finally earning himself the Governership of the ‘Land of our Rising Sun’.

  2. Shiv thats what he’s saying, that till now the bureaucracy which was wielding power over the services will –petty vindictiveness etc— will now sit up and take notice of the services’ demands

  3. Ever since Jayant last year broke Keltec and Brahmos joining hands with Antony’s blessings, followed by a couple of editorials in Express about how the Minister was trying everything to revive Kerala industries, as it is Antony was wary of Express and its tough stand on his functioning but Shekhar’s piece seems to be the last nail!!

    Poor Manu!! Express expect no more from …

  4. A response from former AOC-in-C Training Command:

    Dear Mr Shekhar Gupta,

    I enjoy reading your editorials and the views you express on TV. Therefore, it was with a sense of anticipation that I read your article entitled “Can’t and Cantt” which appeared in this morning’s IE. In this particular instance the core issue hit close to my heart as I spent nearly 41 years in the IAF, retiring less than 3 years ago.

    You have expressed a view that there is a real danger to the national polity with the service chiefs taking the unprecedented step of collectively adopting a confrontationist approach with the Govt. I take the point you have made and respect your opinion. However, one thing is clear, there has been a significant erosion in every aspect of parity between the serviceman and his civilian counterpart in government employ; strong action by the brass of the armed forces at the award of the 3rd, 4th and 5th Pay Commission would have probably avoided the present unacceptable situation. Silent acquiescence over the past 4-5 decades, while still remaining the nation’s most disciplined and loyal service, has been taken as a sign of weakness, with the bureaucracy getting bolder at each step. So, my understanding is all that the current chiefs are saying is : enough is enough.

    Which brings me to the reason for my writing this missive. Life’s experience has proved to me time and again that unsolicited advice is usually unwelcome. BUT, I also strongly believe that who ever criticises an action must offer a better unsolicited alternative. I would have expected a person of your intellectual depth, who can analyse and foresee the perils of the precedent being set up, to have suggested alternative means. What you would have done (and, in this case, inaction is not an option) if you had been the Chairman COSC, keeping in mind that the motivation, morale and welfare of about 15 lakh uniformed personnel depended on your actions?

    Best wishes

    Air Mshl Subhash Bhojwani (Retd)
    Former AOC-in-C Training Command,
    B-102 Riviresa Apts,
    Baner Road
    Pune-411 045

  5. And another reponse from a former AOC-in-C, Southern Air Command:

    Dear Mr Shekhar Gupta,

    Thank you for the most thought provoking article “Chain of command, demand”.

    It was nice of you to mention that Express has constructed two War memorials but perhaps it provided publicity than was/were of any constructive use for the armed forces. My reasons are simple – that money spent on building war memorials that nobody even wastes, let alone spends meaningful time on, could have been better used to provide succour to many widows of armed forces personnel for the betterment of their lives, some vocational training for them or their children, even supplementing the meagre family pension for a better future for the wards. Perhaps painting the Govt with cynicism would have been better understood by the armed forces.

    Next, you being a very influential editor and press person would have understood the run up to the action that you deem an unseemly protest. The 6th CPC made certain recommendations four of which were found to be inconsistent with their though processes by the Committee of Secretaries (CoS) when they reviewed the recommendations. Chairman COSC, the other Chiefs repeatedly pointed this out to any one who would listen.You have not covered in your article whether the CoS has more authority than the 6th CPC. In case the CoS was more powerful, then why call the recommendations as 6th CPC recommendations?

    Nobody, even the Press, took things as seriously or analysed what the objections were. It would have resolved the issue if the PM or External Affairs Minister had told the Raksha Mantri and the Chiefs why their objection were without any basis. You have not covered whether that is reason enough for you to tell the Govt.

    The ground swell in the armed forces is such that the near mutiny after the 5th Pay Commission and disparity in Flying Pay for fighter and other pilots was well as the pittance proposed to be paid as Technical pay would be insignificant.

    A majority in the country feels that the Armed Forces have finally shown the bravery that they do when they fight at the borders. Please analyse the problem and write. Don’t make the Armed Forces as insignificant as the War Memorials – please visit Pune and Chandigarh and see how much dust collects on the edifices and there is nobody from the Express to keep them clean.

    Thank you for the time.


    S Y Savur
    Air Mshl (Retd)

  6. Shekhar Gupta is bent on sabotaging the Ministerial Panel. He has called Antony worst defence minister just because he has taken the issue to PMO.
    After all he is the first to know how many coffins arrive from J and K week after week.

    Antony is a brave man.He has done his bit. He is also a member of the panel to fight to the finish.This piece of Shekhar Gupta is to sabotage the efforts of Antony .When Babus have found the matter going beyond them they are fronting Shekhar Gupta to bat for them.

    Shekhar Gupta need not worry about any future Babus or Minister putting the brass in their place. They dare not. After all who are going to rescue trapped miners,floodvictims,restore law and order,fight militants?
    The armed forces are irreplacable and it would take ages to build the morale which has been shattered by the recklessness of the Babus and insensitiveness of the Government.

    It is not the army of the old where there is no communication.Today the power of internet can ensure that injustice is highlighted.If the present Chiefs are forced to quit there wont be anyone willing to take their seats.
    The issue is one of status and it is felt by every service personnel.
    I know that Indian express is always lagging behind in media because it has no news channel of its own. Efforts to tie up with ND TV has not been fully succesful except for walking the talk with the famous and not so famous.
    So Shekhar is utilizing this opportunity to take on Times of India ,whose TV channel timesnow has become the No 1 Channel in English Tv Media.

    Shekhar you need to carry your fight directly,Pray do not use the army men to vent your feelings towards a succesful competitor.
    Indian Express must know that the main opposition party has understood the issue better than him and would be more Pragmatic

  7. Shiv:
    The outcry against the coln is because:-
    1.Poorly researched. No facts.
    2.No suggestions for the solution or the course of action that ought to have been taken by the Chiefs. No solutions as to what should be the further course of action.
    3.The best thing the Chiefs have done since 71 and our man dickless is trying to scare us as to how the babus will react – making it a fight with the babus? It is not a fight with the babus. It is our fight to gain our constitutional place. We are a democracy so why shouldn’t we take it to the people.
    4.He has no idea of the degree of discontent in the officer corps.
    5.It is sad that instead of contributing to better pol-mil relations, he seeks to undermine them.

  8. So what the Babus will get back. If they really want to have it out we can easily oblige. With or without gloves? Come on, we are are the Kashmir generation, commissioned in late 80’s, we are as it is doomed to go to hell after killing so many sodding terrorists. Knocking off a few real well paid ‘jihadis’ in the South and North Blocks may just prompt Peter to reduce our time in hell.

  9. Shekhar Gupta – here is a small factoid on him – During the NDA government, he went to Pakistan (Lahore) and declared that he was against the current Indian government (which is fine, as a reporter it his perrogative). On a response from a paki panel member he answered he (media) wll take care of the GOI and make it change its stance on national security to favor the terrorist state.
    The second incident is he (along with others in the media) took anti-national stand at Agra during Musharaff meeting.
    He is a snake oil merchant. As much s I want to say he is lackey of a certain particular party (which most news editors are – not a cime), i thing he has sold his soul to certain western power. If you keep this in mind, you can see the obvious bias in all his editorials in the last 10 years from him.

  10. Shiv,

    couple of points.

    1) Lets say that a patient is in the ICU with an oxygen mask. Lets say Shekar Gupta comes in and takes care of the patient, brings food and pretty much everything else. And just before leaving he cuts the oxygen lifeline. Do you think he has any moral right to justify that saying that look at my track record, I cleaned and fed, etc. Present deeds count as much as past, it is the importance of the issue to the IA/IAF/IN, not what is important to Shekar that counts. War Memorials or not, what counts….counts.

    2) The chiefs haven’t done this before, nor has any of the MEN ever done this. Does this give you any message when they are asserting the injustices now? Just because they are men defending our nation give us any reason to treat less than any other human being withon our country?

    The politicians or should I say the beauracrats have over the years trying to rub these guys noses in the mud more and more. It has come to a point where “Pani Sar Se Upar Ho Gaya Hai”. You are telling me that isn’t justifiable reason to protest? What next, you want to take away the right to defend their life when someone threatens them and their family, because they have to uphold the traditional honour thing since they belong to the defence institute. Please, if I start judging people including you and me, we wouldn’t be worth the salt that we eat.

    Thats why there is so much protest. Where was Shekar Gupta all these while? Was he able to change the Pay Comissions nonsense 6th? If not, what are these guys supposed to do? “Laton Ke Bhoot Baton Se Nahin Mantein”. It has been true of our political and beauracratic class and will remain true in the future.

    Please stop defending the political class and for once fight the battle that the Military cannot fight openly with the politys. Do that and show us that you can change their diktats with your pen. Until then shut up and let the people who care about our military men and women, will continue to fight. Either join them or step aside.

  11. Shiv this is [email protected] again(goodness! the blogspace has created a new indentity called ‘anon’).I am sorry but the naiveity lies at your end.Mr Shekhar Gupta and you have failed to notice that the controversy surrounding the VI CPC has permanently altered the military-bureaucracy relationship- in favour of the military.While the miltary enjoys nationwide sympathy,the IAS led elite have come under widespread criticism – for their vice like grip over other Services of the State.As I said the relevance of the Armed Forces in national affairs is on an upward spiral in consonance with the rising clout of India.No more the ‘midnight children’ remembered only during external aggression,insurgencies and natural calamities,the global engagement of the India will only make them more relevant in the context of foreign policy.Consider this – the first subtle gesture(after the pronouncements of Ms Rice) which the US chose to convey its intentions after the Russian attack on Georgia came through the visit of USS McFaul to Batumi- purportedly for a humanitarian mission.This kind of ‘hard power’ exercise will become a necessity for India in the future(despite the pretentions of non-alignment).Therefore,I think the present showdown will turn out to be a helpful reference for the future.It will in fact remain a lesson for those who consider the secondment of military to civil dominance as something that is ‘granted’,howsoever grave may be the circumstances.It will make the more mature and sensible among the bureaucrats(there is no dearth of them in our intelligent bureaucracy)take note of the ground realities and conduct their business with a sense of balance and while keeping national interest in mind.Mind you,thousands of serving military officers owe a great deal to the reformist vision of Mr Ajai Vikram Singh,who,through his farsighted recommendations,permanently altered the stifled pyramidical promotion structure of Defence Officers.His recommendations have resulted in improved levels of satisfaction and credible career progression prospects for officers in the three services.We need visionary and progressive bureaucrats like him(or Mr Arun Singh)to chart the way for the civil-military relationship in our country.

  12. teews: glad to see some things (thickheadedness) don’t change 😛 Anyway, that apart, nobody here’s on the side of the politicans or the bureaucrats. i certainly am not, and i don’t suspect shekhar is either. i don’t think his column justifies anything. nor does it make any presuppositions. it simply states that the babus are now going to use this against the armed forces. that’s an indictment on bureaucratic vindictiveness, teews, not disparagement of the armed forces for doing what was, by all means, correct and upright.

  13. [email protected]: there has been no time in history when the civil services have enjoyed more love than the armed forces. therefore your suggestion that the pay commission has in some way “tilted” the balance of perception in favour of the military is flawed. the country has by and large — and rightly so — loved and respected the armed forces, and been deeply suspicious — double rightly so — of the IAF/IFS etc.

  14. Shiv,

    thickheadedness or not, stop writing the obvious, like the politicos are going to use this against the military, so the military shouldn’t be doing this because of the consequences.

    I have not written any nonsense to you so far on you blog. But this issue really irritates me.

    Shiv, instead of us going back and forth, please try this in your next article.

    1) State your position: Whether you agree with the 4 conditions that the Chiefs have put together, Why do you support it and why not?

    2) What should the services do if the politicos don’t accept the 4 points? How do the chiefs deal with this? What should the chiefs go back and tell the officers who are hoping to get a decent deal while everyone else is getting one and sitting on their head? What will the chiefs do if they can’t stop the eilte officers tendering their resigs and request to be allowed to leave?

    3) What should the people of this country do when the politicos and IAS beauracrats have demolished the very fabric of a non-politico military?

    Lay it out, no more hedging behind big words like thickheadness. Let everyone understand where you stand. If you dont want to do it, dont stop others from doing so.

  15. Teews, why are you hell bent on knowing what Shiv’s position is on this. Have you forgotton that he too is ex-Indian Express, and very rightly as someone has pointed out above that Shekhar’s soul has been sold to some foreign power. Well that power is none other than the US, which is why the IE is also called American Express.

    Any doubts why Shiv is still invited by all these American arms companies? The tutelage goes way behind during their Express days and the connections made then.

    And look at Aroor, promoting his own cousin Air Marshal Savur here.

  16. And by the way Ajai Vikram never recommended Part-II. I met him some days back in Gymkhana, before the Cabinet could take it up, and he was amused at how the media was going ga-ga over the Part-II, which he himself didnt know about.

    He only recommended young leadership, lateral occupational absorptions etc. And he actually told me the problems that would arise now with so many vacancies anticipated in the next five years or so, with no justification of dignity.

  17. Thank u Mr Shekhar Gupta for telling us about the repucussions of this stand off for the services. humein tho pata hee nahi tha… for god’s sake spend your energies in some meaningful jounalism…hum apna bhala bura khud soch lenge… if u can’t take a stand then keep out of it…u can write on other juicy subjects like bollywood, nuclear deal, terrorism etc…

  18. Thank u Mr Shekhar Gupta for telling us about the repucussions of this stand off for the services. humein tho pata hee nahi tha… for god’s sake spend your energies in some meaningful jounalism…hum apna bhala bura khud soch lenge… if u can’t take a stand then keep out of it…u can write on other juicy subjects like bollywood, nuclear deal, terrorism etc…

  19. Thank u Mr Shekhar Gupta for telling us about the repucussions of this stand off for the services. humein tho pata hee nahi tha… for god’s sake spend your energies in some meaningful jounalism…hum apna bhala bura khud soch lenge… if u can’t take a stand then keep out of it…u can write on other juicy subjects like bollywood, nuclear deal, terrorism etc…

  20. Anon @ 6.12pm, Chanakya said “Do not reveal what you have thought upon doing, but by wise council keep it secret being determined to carry it into execution.”

    I am always wary of people who do not state their position, because it gives them flexibility to run one way or the other when the final man is standing. We know where Shekar Gupta stands. Lets see what Shiv has to say.

  21. Hey Guys.
    Have you noticed the resemblance of Guptaji with Amar Singh.
    Seperated brothers, it seems.
    They probably share same genetic code(compliment..you said,your wish how you take it!!!)

  22. Gupta is the reason Aroor did the hack job on DRDO.
    Gupta hates DRDO with a passion and will use any and every opportunity to run them down. And when Uncle Sam says so it is even better.
    When DRDO took a firm stance on offsets and TOT during the MRCA tender, Uncle Sam was upset and asked for banking offsets in non defence, DRDO said now..and pronmptly there was hack job and attack on DRDO in Indian express by Aroor and Ranjan.
    Yeah, Gupta sold out to the US long time back.
    Fellow anon mentioned Agra and Gupta’s we will pull down the NDA.
    Another famous incident is Guptas praise and chamchagiri of Stephen Cohen who is an expert on paki army and routinely used to call indian names. Gupta praised Cohen and gave him lot publicity.
    Many such incident. Gupta is a total sell out.

  23. Fighterclass…..where are you….come here fast…snoop down like a fighter and save this place and also all of us

  24. somebody …recipe for Poha and paneer kofta please….fast……help please…Shekhar Gupta uncle can you help please…..Kindly give the above two recipes uncleji please fast

  25. Above anon….as if you dont know, and if you really dont know, then ask, I shall expose all these express types.

    What do you wanna know?

  26. Chhote se kamre mein simat ke reh gayi meri yeh zindagi.

    Yeh gaadiyon ka shor,
    Yeh bheed ki daud,
    Isme guum si ho gayi hai meri yeh zindagi.


  27. shekhar gupta’s article is balanced and thought provoking keeping with his professional calibre which is exceptional.My only complaint is that
    what optons were left to the armed forces when no response was recd from
    the GOI.Unless this aspect is clarified one has no option but to give a thumbs up to the Cheifs who were pushed to the wall by the incompetence of the Govt of India

  28. teews: my position, since i evidently haven’t enunciated well enough so far:

    1) State your position: Whether you agree with the 4 conditions that the Chiefs have put together, Why do you support it and why not?

    I agree unconditionally with the four core issues raised by the chiefs. I support two of the issues because I do believe that they were introduced not by the pay commission itself, but by a conniving committee that was ironically constituted to iron out disparities (headed by the Cab Sec). I agree with the other two core demands because I am utterly convinced that they are fair, just and necessary to reverse huge disenchantment at the middle levels of the armed forces. if you’d like me to explain this in more detail, sure.

    2) What should the services do if the politicos don’t accept the 4 points? How do the chiefs deal with this? What should the chiefs go back and tell the officers who are hoping to get a decent deal while everyone else is getting one and sitting on their head? What will the chiefs do if they can’t stop the eilte officers tendering their resigs and request to be allowed to leave?

    Good question. That’s what everyone’s really debating now. What if. What if the three-member committee does NOT deliver. What then. I personally think the three chiefs should put in their papers in protest. Any other recourse would be less than this. But then again, it’s never this simple is it? Considering how brave the three chiefs have been to hold out against this government in the first place, that would be the logical and honourable thing to do.

    3) What should the people of this country do when the politicos and IAS beauracrats have demolished the very fabric of a non-politico military?

    Another good question. That’s just it. I believe Shekhar has warned against the petty vindictiveness of the bureaucracy and polity.

    The fact, Teews, is that there’s so much being written, it’s probably become difficult for a lot of folks to understand who’s for, who’s against, who doesn’t have an opinion. I’m for the armed forces wholly. And I do believe, despite all the half-baked scurrilous nonsense in the comments above, that a person like Shekhar genuinely is too.

  29. Anon @ 7.25pm, I have learned this the very hard way, never let anyone get away, when they express their opinion based on wrong facts. It is important to correct perception, which will otherwise be taken as the gospel truth.

    Similarly, we are here on Shiv’s blog, not on Shekar’s blog. So I can’t let Shiv get away defending Shekhar Gupta and asserting that Shekhar’s point of view is correct, i.e. that the Chief’s shouldn’t have done what they are doing.

    Shiv has opened a blog so that everyone can give their opinion. So I got to respect that. But that doesn’t change a thing when it comes to countering perceptions.

  30. Shiv, when earleir you replied, it used to come only “Shiv Aroor said…”, but now why does it say “blogger Shiv Aroor said…” Are there two different people with the same name.


  31. Shiv, thanks for the clarification. Much appreciated. We are now in sync.

    Seen in light of your opinions above, how can you still defend Shekhar Gupta when he says the Chiefs shouldn’t have done what they did? Isn’t putting your papers in a way giving in? This is our military chiefs, they would rather stand and fight for the people that they value. And that’s what they are doing and that why I disagree with Shekar Gupta.

    In fact, there should have been a 5th Core issue, the next Pay Comission should include the military personnel in the committee.

    So what are you doing on your part? Any National article supporting the military and put some sense into the politicis? At least give it a shot!!!

  32. Teews, I think you’re reading too much between the lines. This blog is read just by bhai log like us and it has no serious readership, nor does it affect anyone nor mean anything to anyone.

    [email protected] 7.25 pm

  33. teews: perhaps this is my opinion, but i don’t think shekhar disagrees with what the chiefs have done. he empathises completely with their actions. his column, in my opinion, simply calls attention to the definite repercussions the actions of the chiefs will have, i.e. the retribution of the babus. I don’t believe Shekhar is questioning the action at all. Knowing him, and like i’ve said in my piece, he would be proud of such personal and professional courage. Nowhere in his column does Shekhar say tha the chiefs should NOT have done what they did. I think we all agree that there will be repercussions — his column merely enunciates what these are likely to be. I don’t see how that goes against the forces. If anything, I believe it’s a heads-up.

    Regarding your second point, our campaign on my channel continues to highlight the criminal negligence of not allowing a rep of the forces on the pay commission. In fact, in our own coverage, we consistently perpetuating the need for a separate pay commission exclusively for the armed forces.

  34. Retribution of the babus??

    Yes Shiv, this word retribution very rightly suits you….its your word and you mean it everytime you utter it.

    Revenge and retribution

  35. And when has your channel shown anything worthwhile and thought-provoking as this. Dont lie.All your worthless channel shows is half naked women, bollywood people and their affairs, actresses et al.

  36. Shiv, again thanks for the clarification on the military being part of the pay commission. Kudos to you guys on that.

    I still disagree with you on what Shekhar was trying to portray. If what he is saying is true, then he is stating the obvious. But he doesn’t give a viable solution on how the Chief’s should have approached this problem with the politicos without facing the retribution.

    My point is, there is no point is clarifying a problem without giving a potential solution. That’s my problem with his column, assuming he is just trying to convery the obvious, i.e. retribution.

    Anon @ 7.25pm, even among us lot of people do not understand the issue faced. Hence we have to clarify and get appropriate support. Thats the only way to put pressure, knowledge is power. Thats why I like the US way of Presidential debate, they take a stand on an issue, public votes on those issue.

  37. Returning to Lt Gen S K Bahri's point of view, he does have the moral higher ground simply because the internal civilian/internal law & order machinery seems to reside in the 19th century and is pressurised to combat 21st century crimes and criminal techniques, this consequently resulting in the armed forces being called out to fill the void. I received yesterday a draft of a speech given 48 hours ago by Shri L K Advani (it was sent to me by his press secretary) and this is what he says in his speech: if elected into power the BJP-led coalition WILL re-introduce POTA, and MAY CONSIDER the setting up of a federal intelligence agency to combat terrorism on a national level. Now, please just set some time aside and consider the implications of his statement and how he prioritises his charter of functions. When the entire empowered intelligensia of India fully agree on what needs to be done at the organisational and operational levels to neutralise pan-India terrorism, this politician who remains optimistic of heading the executive branch of the Govt of India in future, can still make such remarks in public! Therein lies the problem: sheer lack of strategic visioning (this course is not even included in the curriculum of IAS/IFS probationers, whereas this course is compulsory for armed forces officers destined for upward-mobility as senior commanders, by the way).
    Now to turn to the issue of creation of additional senior appointments within the armed forces, one needs to bear in mind that contrary to its counterparts in other continents, the Indian Army and Air Force have since the 1990s been engaged in limited 'proxy' wars. They were combat hardened and combat-proven purely due to the nature of such low-intensity limited wars of attrition. For the Indian Navy the domain of maritime awareness has only increased manifold, especially after May 1998. At the same time, the sheer size of the armed forces has had to increase due to factors such as the creation of new tri-service and service-specific field commands (this being done to score over parties hostile to India at the operational level); creation of the Strategic Forces Command (SFC) for which additional human resources are definitely required), and the establishment of the HQ Integrated Defence Staff, which also requires a functional secretariat and chain of command. These issues are generally regarded as esoteric and not harped upon, with the average citizen only thinking that with the parading every year during RDP of the families of ballistic missiles India has a credible nuclear deterrent, and conveniently forgetting that a huge tail of skilled and experienced manpower is required not only to operate such strategic weapons, but also to man their redundant command-and-control systems.

  38. To !!breaking [email protected]: Are miya, is this your idea of fun? No matter what’s your blogger ID the point remains that the ISP can zero in on you in a jiffy. You can’t hide bro. Haven’t you as yet noticed how the HAL wannabes like Void Walker et all have been silenced for the past 2 weeks in BROADSWORD? Take a guess as to what happened to them. Beware, the same fate will befall you.

  39. Aw!!! Come on now Prasun, on one hand you say you silenced them , on the other hand you give advice to them that they will get in trouble for giving out information and identifying themselves to belonging to a particular department in HAL.

    You trying to have your cake and eat it too 🙂

  40. i wasnt scared of being nailed just didnt want prasun to face any problems as he claims.. coz i highly doubt blogger is gonna reveal the IP of commentors and even then to make an abuse report and stuff is really time consuming and most often than not wasteful. and it must be a crime in my country for any action to be taken against me. unfortunately its not. and such instances are not covered in my internet contract. and moreover my pc is in an open place.. they can zero down the machine n not the user HEHEHE

  41. void, prasun is a jerk and a grade a liar. keep posting Bro and teach him a lesson. HAL zindabad, and i mean it, i was proud when u HAL ites stood up and corrected his lies.

  42. Better get your facts right. Who corrected whose lies? I spoke up and listed out ALL the airworthiness compliance directives for the Dhruv ALH, while the so-called HALites (Void Walker) only came back with strange shell-shocked silence and emotional wet-dreams in the terminal stage! Only one guy (Kunal) was decent enough to say that my FAR/MILSPEC listings were 73% right. And that Void fella cannot even properly identify which of the two Dhruv ALHs is the definitive ASW helicopter: the one with SV-2000 radar on-board or the one with the Mihir dunking sonar. All the more reason to believe that fella was not who he was claiming to be. He was just jerking around.

  43. National Interest

    Were the Service Chiefs left with another Subtle, skilled and honourable option

    Shekhar Gupta and the Indian Express- friends of the Indian Soldier, no doubt deserve to be congratulated on his bold and brilliant analysis of the situation arising out of the ongoing differences between the soldier and the babu.

    Before going into the justifications or implications of the situation ,it is important to understand and underscore one important point.

    The serving soldier and the veteran are inseparable parts of one larger family. A significant proportion of today’s soldiery is drawn from the sons and grand sons of veterans- Politicians and Babus do not send their precious off springs into such hazardous careers .What happens to a serving soldier today, effects the veteran immediately and will effect the soldier of today, perpetually and even more severely after he becomes a veteran himself. During these two Avtars, the soldier and veteran share the same commitment to discipline, loyalty, the constitution and to National interest.

    Agitating veterans; rather than egging the service chiefs on, have been acutely conscious of the long-term implications of their acts of protest. It will be wrong and unfair to imagine any unholy alliance or instigation. Veterans as well as the chiefs have shown exemplary constraint in the face of serious provocation and will hopefully continue to do so unless the vindictive riposte as envisaged by Shekhar brings about a situation with potential for catastrophic consequences.

    A strong government may well be tempted to teach the brass a lesson or two but a strong military leadership emerging in spite of safeguards built into the system of promotions and appointments by an ever suspicious bureaucracy and the politician, is by far a more fearful eventuality.

    The article more or less endorses the fact that the angst and suspicion of the soldier – Veteran fraternity is fully justified by the self serving and vindictive acts of the babus and the insensitive, inapt and callous attitude of the political leadership towards the genuine interests and serious grievances of the soldier fraternity- Not just through the Sixth Pay Commission but indeed over the six decades since 1947; without any signs of a let up.

    The instant action of the chiefs in delaying the notification of a cabinet decision and the issuance of signals down the military chains of command are NOT acts of defiance as being made out . These are acts of communication and confidence building so that soldiers sailors and airmen are informed and reassured that their
    genuine interests are under serious consideration by the government of which the chiefs are an integral part. This was indeed essential to check disaffection and despondency taking the better of discipline in units. Reading these as some kind of collective disobedience is foolish, to say the least. Thankfully the soldier and veteran of today understand their unique responsibility to safeguard national interest well beyond his or her own personal interest. Their patriotism, loyalty, discipline, commitment to secular democracy and our constitution remains unshakable. The service chiefs are not petty, unthinking and self centred men- a moral stature to which our scheming babus and politicians can not lay any claim. Lack of faith and communication between commanders and their commands could be extremely dangerous.

    There are two more issues that need to be understood by all including the fourth Estate. First, the question of ‘Civilian Authority’ being supreme. The services have no doubts or reservations on this. Their conduct since independence bears testimony if testimony was needed. But then; If the political authority decide to abrogate this authority or perhaps mortgage it to the sycophantic bureaucracy, as has happened, and the later make it their objective to achieve absolute supremacy for their own cadre by throwing the principles of justice , fair play and reason to the winds, the rest of the country and the Aam Admi, can not be blamed for crying foul. This is exactly what has happened and this alone explains the public sympathy for the soldier. Does the Parliament of India really approve the policy that Babudom is indeed the supreme civilian authority in our democracy. There is need for our parliamentarians to take a call on this vital question and in doing so they must be exhorted to rise above the expediency of their immediate and narrow political interest. National interest must remain supreme.

    Second; Shekhar Gupta raises the all important question” Was this the only way to handle this”. Given 60 years of relentless and unabashed cynical, scheming, vindictive and insensitive crusade against the soldier, did the politico – bureaucratic combine leave the soldier with any choice? Discipline is not synonymous with abject surrender, submissiveness and subservience. This is not the material with which the Indian soldier is crafted. Nor should it be so. Did the political leadership including the prime Minister, the Finance Minister our Supreme Commander, The President of India or for that matter the supreme party leaders in government or Opposition, indicate any interest, understanding, or sympathy towards the wellbeing and honour of the silent soldier at any stage of the proceedings?

    Could you, Shekhar Gupta, be so kind , considerate and supportive even at this late hour to show some light. We are waiting with bated breath to know what other subtle, skilled and honourable management on the part of the service chiefs could have avoided even this minimal and easily manageable level of inherent conflict potential. The soldier is prepared and indeed keenly desirous of an honourable resolution even at considerable cost to his own personal interests provided National interest is safeguarded and fair play is assured.

    Brig RS Chhikara,
    Veteran, Indian Army

  44. Prasun etc, firstly someone else also suggested this IP identification thing to Shiv sometime back, for someone, let me tell you brother that all this is not so easy.

    Only if national security is involved only then they take interest , not for stupid blog comments. They dont have time, and firstly you guys dont even know where to go and approach for something like this.

    Everyone just keeps threatening everyone here, but does anyone have the balls to do anything.

    Didnt Shiv know that all this would come if he started a blog. He’s expeienced from his war for news days. Ask him. He was going to be sacked. He lost weight as he could not eat, his wife left him….you should’ve seen his condition.

  45. When is karva Chauth? I think its on October 17th…I have decided not to fast for my husband Shiv Aroor Upadhyaya for his long life, as we are mourning the death of Soumya.

    Till Soumya’s killers are nabbed, no party, no celebrations, no Karva Chauth also Shiv.

    Mrs. Tavleen Singh Aroor.

  46. All you so called defence journalists are frauds.You all needs to be kept on scrutiny.
    Mostly cut and paste experts, nothing more.Stop all this mud slinging in public,instead get confined to some fucking press club and after couple of drinks sort out your personal problems.

  47. Shiv…
    57 comments and long long articles…. But can anyone clarify where is the injustice?
    In the name of the honourable soldier laying his life on border, why the high rank officers should get extraordinarily high pay? Any body has done the exercise of exactly quantifying the Pay package of Forces by properly factoring their Shaktiman load of perks and benefits being given. Is the top brass asking for the increased pay to the ORs alone? Whom are we understanding !

  48. LOL !!BREAKING NEWS!! is here too.. expected.. I guess Prasun has removed their comments isn’t it coz I can’t find any.

    No matter what’s your blogger ID the point remains that the ISP can zero in on you in a jiffy. Haven’t you as yet noticed how the HAL wannabes like Void Walker et all have been silenced for the past 2 weeks in BROADSWORD? Take a guess as to what happened to them. Beware, the same fate will befall you.

    Prasun playing some scare game huh?

  49. prasun is a pompous idiot who responds to anyone calling a spade a spade with gutter abuse. see his reaction above. he first abused void and others when they told him that he was wrong about the ALH then he tried to play divide and rule bringing kunal up. congratulations to void and other hal-ites for exposing prasun and giving him what he deserved.

  50. the freak sengupta wants to make people think either

    1. he got my isp to trace me down in a jiffy and got me in hot soup

    2. he advised me not to devulge anymore or else HAL will get me

    3. i got tooo scared of his big fat list (which is as fat as his ego) and so i dissapeared

    go eat shit sengupta.

  51. and now that freako knows i dont have spare time to come by as i used to and is bringing up my name. what kept him quiet for these past weeks? he thinks i am no more. nevermind if it makes that pig happy so be it.

  52. HeHehe! Mujhse darna behut zaroori hai, isiliye darte raho. Aur har raat mere shit khate raho. Sehat ke liye accha hai. Whether you exist or don’t doesn’t make any difference to me, as you’re still shell-shocked!!! So try to get an MRI-scan of your peanut-sized brain and nurse your mortally wounded ego. Ab so jao aur sapne dekho aur apne bistar ko bhigao.

  53. there goes that prasun son of a bitch again crapping around. if my brains a peanut then you are the maggot that eats the peanut you freak.


    you saw in the news 2day tht even Malaysian police could not trace posts by some prominant blogger called Raja Putra. ok? So you gonna trace me? from that very Malaysia? where even Police and MMA cannot help? U sue me with ‘sedition’ also won’t help.. watta fool. just stay at home and join hindraf ok?

    Giveme a kit kat.

  55. hi
    i compliment shekhar gupta and shiv
    for great analysis
    however i only want to spell out that had chiefs not taken the stance they had :they would have remembered as …… by their officersc and men
    they ahve taken oath to look after interests of personnel placed under their command and they did their duty
    point 2 what will happen in future if service chiefs remain strong enough to prove their point no one can ever pulll them down
    they had taken a stance which is right just and correct
    whatever happens in future can not be criteria to forgo present
    manner yes coild have been a bit different but for that political claass is to be blamed

  56. Sheesh. I think a ban on all blogposts relating to SCPC is in order.

    Mr Shekhar Gupta is wrong (with ulterior motives or not, GOK), for the simple reason that he is putting the typical babudom spin on the whole issue.

    The Forces have not “rebelled” against “civil” authority. Guess what ? Civil authority for the Executive is the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE. They went to the ELECTED REPRESENTATIVE, the Minister, who happens to be their boss. How is disagreeing with another arm of the Executive counted as a rebellion of sorts ? It is the babudom that claims all civil authority as their own; and it is this line that Mr Gupta supports by calling a perfectly natural complaint a rebellion.

    Plus, despite all the IE’s posturings, there is yet to be a public disagreement between the Minister and the Service Chiefs. When there has been earlier, the same minister made no secret of his displeasure. The Minister is on record rebuking the media for making a big deal of the so called “signal fomenting discontent”. He stated that the signal was on the official Naval site and freely available for all to see. This is totally in contradiction to the IE’s “Service chiefs rebel” and “Service Chiefs rapped and back down” comments. (BTW, the IE should make up its mind. Either the minister is weak and knuckling to Forces’ pressure or the Chiefs are getting rapped by him. You can’t have both rumours).

    For the guys in uniform : please. Don’t make your comrades seem irrational, abusive or foolish.

  57. the posts @ 10:08,10:11 & 12:43 were not by me….of course I'm alive and kicking..was so busy..kya kare deadline is approaching fast….so prasun,when r u coming to my deptt….i hav good news for u…..i have been selected as part of the team for the first test flight….aroor ,make sure u come…u haven't responded to my first invitation yet..only ajai managed to drop in….till then tc regards

  58. sorry void i m your fan and just didnt like prasun mocking you. please throw some ehit on his blog. you can go there by clicking on his name. it is called trishul (trishulgroup.blogspot.com)

    void, first test flight for what buddy?

  59. Maj Gen NCKhanna (retd)

    15 Oct 2008.

    Dear Shekar Guptaji,

    I was genuinely sad to read your article. I was taken aghast that a journalist of your standing ignored the prime issue that a group of bureaucrats introduced without authority and in a surreptitious, dishonest and an unscrupulous manner a number of clauses totally detrimental to the interests of the armed forces of the country. Without any sanction whatsoever they brought down the pensions of personnel below officer rank by 33%, brought down the pay and status of Lt Cols, and tampered with the precedence and status of Lt Gens. Their mala fide actions were the spark that could have cause untold turmoil and unrest in the military and could have caused severe cracks in the very fabric of India’s sovereignty.

    This unethical and unbecoming action of this group of bureaucrats is a criminal act, tantamount to treachery, and the government needs to deal with this serious misconduct accordingly.

    The Admiral and the Chiefs of the Army and the Air Force deserve the highest commendation. They saved the nation from serious damage and indignity. The military leader’s response is that of dedicated and selfless military men who put their personal interests well below that of the nation, and the valiant men they command. You surely are aware of the armed forces laudable character trait not to form unions or to take recourse to agitation, even in self interest. You surely are not ignorant that this professional elegance has been exploited unscrupulously and shamelessly to their total disadvantage over the last 60 years.

    A learned person of your caliber must be aware of what Kautaliya advised his Emperor Chandragupta Mauraya on management of his armed forces. Kindly read it now, if you have not already done so. Winston Churchill had this to say “Indian Army is not so much an arm of the executive branch as it is of the Indian people. Military professionals have the duty and the obligation to ensure that the people and the political leaders are counseled and alerted to the needs and necessities of military life. This cannot be done by adhering to notion of military profession as silent order of monks isolated from the political realm”. Mason ICS in his book, ‘A Matter of Honour’ lays the blame for this long record of military defeats at the door of politics and the type of governments that had grown up in India.

    With your alleged knowledge and interest in military matters one sits in amazement and disbelief and wonders as to what was the consideration or compulsion that made you write this article. You shall probably need to search your conscience to learn of the truth.

    I suggest that you change your canvass of vision, remove the blinkers, and devote time on real serious issues that are impinging upon every dimension of our nation.

    Did you know that Rajiv Gandhi as PM of India mentioned that he was aware that not more than 10% of the money allocated by the Centre actually reaches the beneficiary; the rest 90% was being filtered? This governance pattern still continues. The percentages having changed slightly. Could this be the main cause of 30% of us living below poverty level, illiterate and being denied their basic needs? This did not arouse in you an iota of concern. Similarly, criminals as MPs or even as ministers are of little relevance to you. Are you aware that the Government of Liechtenstein wrote to our government that it was in a position to reveal the names of people of Indian origin who have siphoned their ill-gotten money in safe havens in their country? Similarly you may have come across recent a rumour that in the Swiss bank, safe havens, nearly $1600/- billion of ill-gotten Indian money is lying stashed up. Are you aware that India is one of the most mal-administered countries, this, despite a devoted Indian Administrative Service to manage it.

    None of these appear to arouse your conscience and yet you and your kind in the media go about hounding the very instrument of dignity, that upholds the sovereignty of India. God bless you for your dedicated eagle eye and your readiness to not only publish unanalyzed articles but even those that you are aware are ‘Goebbels’ handouts.

    Indian Express enjoyed the highest levels of journalistic probity during Arun Shourie’s leadership.

    With kindest regards,

    Yours faithfully


  60. I suck coz I only appear to be able to think of one joke and one joke alone…

    Why did the plane crash into the house????


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