Armed Forces

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  • Enhancing Soldiers’ Capability for Counter-Insurgency Operations

    Demands from society and family are higher on soldiers and, thus contribute towards greater stress. Therefore, desired capacities have to be built in our recruitment system, training philosophy, training methodology, training infrastructure in training academies, regimental training centres, divisional training schools and other military colleges/ schools of instruction as also in our military thinking to produce motivated, efficient and stress-adapted officers and soldiers capable of meeting future warfare challenges efficiently

    January 2011

    The Human Element in Military Effectiveness: A Systems Approach

    This paper examines the human issues in the entire system that could make the military more effective recognising the military as a sub-system within the larger system, which is created to address the aims of that very system. It asserts that there is no requirement to institute committees or make any more laws to address the human element issues relating to military effectiveness. The existing politico-legal system being adequate, there is no need for ‘novel’ or ‘creative’ solutions but only the will to effectively and ruthlessly apply them.

    January 2011

    Optimising Stress in Sub-Conventional Warfare

    Optimising Stress in Sub-Conventional Warfare

    On an average we have been having about 100 suicide cases a year in the past four to five years, so this year has been the same. Mainly it is in insurgency-hit areas, but suicides are also happening in areas where there is no insurgency.

    Managing the 3Ms of Military Readiness

    Money, manpower and material (3Ms) determine a state's capacity to leverage its hard power for fulfilling its national security objectives.

    January 28, 2011

    Neha Jha asked: I wanted to know about Armed Forces Special Powers Act

    Ali Ahmed replies: The AFSPA was based on a colonial era law enacted to face down the Quit India movement in 1942. Its immediate precedents were two similar Acts for East Punjab and Bengal in 1947 to come to grips with the Partition riots. Thereafter, to control the Naga insurgency that had broken out in the mid fifties, the Act was promulgated in September 1958 for operation in Assam and Manipur. It has since been enacted for Tripura in 1970, Manipur in 1980, Punjab in 1983 and J&K in 1990.

    The Act envisages the following powers for the military (Sections 4, 5) when employed in areas declared ‘disturbed’ under Section 3 of the Act:

    ‘4. Special Powers of the armed forces – Any commissioned officer, warrant officer, non-commissioned officer or any other person of equivalent rank in the armed forces may, in a disturbed area,-

    (a) if he is of opinion that it is necessary so to do for the maintenance of public order, after giving such due warning as he may consider necessary, fire upon or otherwise use force, even to the causing of death, against any person who is acting in contravention of any law or order for the time being in force…;

    (b) …destroy any arms dump, prepared or fortified position or shelter…;

    (c) arrest, without warrant, any person who has committed a cognizable offence or against whom a reasonable suspicion exists…;

    (d) enter and search without warrant…’

    The Act has been under scan for long. Writ Petitions which were filed in 1980 challenging the Central Act as well as the State Act were dismissed by the Delhi High Court. The Central Act was held to be ‘not violative’ of Articles 14, 19 and 21 of the Constitution. The Supreme Court’s verdict in the case dating to 1988 of Naga Peoples’ Movement of Human Rights vs Union of India, was essentially that ‘Parliament was competent to enact the Central Act’. However, the BP Jeevan Reddy committee examining it in relation to the North East in 2005 and the Veerappa Moily report of the Second Administrative Reforms Commission of 2006 (Fifth Report), asked that the Act be repealed. The latter recommended that the substitute chapter for insertion into the UAPA suggested by the BP Jeevan Reddy Committee be applicable only for the North East, thereby defeating the intent of the BP Jeevan Reddy Committee.

    It came under intense critical scrutiny in 2004 with the custodial death of a Manipuri woman, Thangjam Manorama Devi, accused of being an underground operative. The Act has been under focus in J&K with the government favouring reframing of its application. Consequently, the Central government is in the midst of an exercise to rethink the Act. This could be through repealing it, refining the Act in a more ‘humane’ manner or by incorporating its provisions in a diluted form in the Unlawful Activities (Prevention) Amendment Act, 2008. The Ministry of Home Affairs had asked for comments from the Ministry of Defence. The MOD has reportedly asked for maintaining the Act in its current form. The issue was discussed in the meeting on the Cabinet Committee on Security. The Army and Air Chiefs have publicly made their position clear on retaining the Act and its provisions. The current status is one of status quo.

    Probity in the Armed Forces

    People in India have traditionally looked up to the Armed Forces. Corruption in the Armed Forces therefore militates against the spirit of service to the nation. It has to be cleansed wholesale, with effective mechanisms for protecting whistleblowers and taking swift action against the guilty put in place. Caesar’s wife must be beyond reproach.

    November 01, 2010

    Armed Forces: A Career Choice?

    The youth of today are a well-informed gentry. Mentally mobile, analytically aware, surgically sharp and clinically precise - the Indian teenager is rarely ingenuous or naive. He is inquisitively thorough, exhaustive in examination of his options and intensive in the depth of his research. With myriad technological tools at his back and call, he need look no further than the nearest cyber café, his very own modem-enabled palm top or better still his personal 3G I-phone.

    Winter 2008

    Jointness in Armed Forces and Institution of Post of Chief of Defence Staff are Mutually Exclusive

    Interestingly the very first issue of “Journal of Defence Studies” published by Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in August 2007 decided to focus on the subject of “Jointness in Indian Armed Forces”. There are possibly many more pressing issues impinging on the Indian Armed Forces and National Security, but apparently they were not considered for one reason or the other. “Jointness” was given pride of place as the first topic to be discussed.

    Summer 2008