Indian Air Force

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  • Needed: A Better Appraisal System for Better Leaders

    There has been a palpable decline in the standards of morals, ethics and values as observed by officers in the armed forces and the bond between officers and men has weakened. This could be because officers with the requisite qualities are not adequately groomed to rise to the level of battalion commanders. The present appraisal system is largely to blame, it being based on a single Annual Confidential Report. A further drawback is that only superior officers report on a ratee. Inputs for appraisal need to be drawn from multiple sources geared towards a ‘360 degree evaluation’.

    April 2013

    Ethics and Military Leadership

    ‘Ethics’ derived from the Greek word ‘Ethicos’, means character or manners and guide actions thereby becoming a ‘normative discipline’. Military Ethics applies to a specialized realm and has developed principles appropriate to it over time to help guide future operations. The armed forces must be always ethically led to uphold the defence of the nation and its national interests. Ethical leadership embodying the ideals of the profession of arms entails creating ethical command climates that set the conditions for positive outcomes and ethical behaviour.

    April 2013

    Professional Ethics for the Armed Forces in War and Peace

    This article looks at the current situation in the armed forces, which has been in the news for all wrong reasons recently. The author undertakes an analysis of the causes of this state of affairs and suggests that the armed forces, which were well known for their ethics and code of conduct, need to review the situation and take radical steps to ensure a return to their ethics, values and traditions.

    April 2013

    Role of Military Culture and Traditions in Building Ethics, Morals and Combat Effectiveness in Fighting Units

    Developing culture and traditions is one of the pragmatic ways of breeding ethics and moral standards in the military. These moral issues are profoundly linked to the military’s way of life and ethos, which includes discipline and esprit de corps. Although issues like developing a sense of belonging may be the theme while creating cultures, the ultimate aim is to influence a soldier into becoming an ethical team player as an instrument for winning wars. The creation and pursuit of culture establishes common values and a sense of ownership amongst the troops.

    April 2013

    Changing Socio-economic Norms and its Impact on India’s Armed Forces

    The Indian Army remains rooted in an outdated, British-inherited system that is struggling to cope with the combination of challenges posed by demands of modern warfare and a society that is undergoing a great churn. The greatest challenge has been to the famous officer–men relationship in the Indian armed forces. In the past decade, the armed forces have faced a new problem: increasing incidents of indiscipline, suicides and fratricide. Are these incidents happening because the traditional bond between officers and men, the bedrock on which the military functions, is fraying at the edges?

    April 2013

    Institutional Challenges Confronting the Indian Armed Forces: The Moral and Ethical Dimension

    The phenomenon of the apparent lowering of both personal and institutional moral and ethical standards in the armed forces is not limited to India. What is missing is an open debate on the complexities that drive the modern day profession of arms and the need for a mutually supporting relationship between the armed forces and the institutions of a democracy, especially at a time when newer forms of security threats are emerging.

    April 2013

    Ethics at the Grassroots: A Values-based Approach

    This article addresses the declining standards of morality in the armed forces and suggests measures to address it by undertaking appropriate interventions at the grassroots, unit or battalion. It traces the importance of ethics in the military, particularly in the context of the post-modern state, which grants exclusive authority to the armed forces for the use of violence. Further, it examines the state of ethics today and the challenges in codification to arrive at the basic ethical norms that need to be fostered in the military.

    April 2013

    Roots of Moral Decline in the Armed Forces: Time to Reclaim our Izzat

    The precipitate decline in moral and ethical values, as well as the steep fall in standards of private and public conduct, in recent years, has been accompanied by a concurrent erosion of values amongst India’s military personnel. Consequently, the armed forces, which were once considered exemplars of ethical conduct, discipline and decency, are rapidly slipping in the estimation of their countrymen.

    April 2013

    Challenges for Indian Air Force: 2032

    This is the first in a four-article series on the theme ‘IAF Deep Multidimensional Change 2032: Imperatives and a Roadmap’. It examines the challenges that the Indian Air Force (IAF) is likely to face when it completes a century in 2032. The main external challenges facing the IAF are the Chinese, Pakistani and Sino-Pak threat, and the need to build and maintain capability for Out of Area Contingency Operations.

    January 2013

    Vipin Vijayan asked: Should India have invested billions in Rafale? What's the future of Tejas? Will the Rafale really plug IAF's squadron gap?

    Reply: Refer to the following earlier and current publications by IDSA faculty on the issue:

    Rafale MMRCA Deal: Last Minute Glitches?
    By Vivek Kapur, August 30, 2012, at

    Transformation of the Indian Air Force over the Next Decade (Issue Brief)
    By Vivek Kapur, June 13, 2012, at

    Major Issues of Immediate Concern for the Indian Air Force
    By Vivek Kapur, June 11, 2012, at

    The Rafale: An Opportunity Towards Indigenous Aircraft Design And Manufacture
    By Vivek Kapur, February 17, 2012, at

    MMRCA: Counter Point,
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 13, 2012, at

    The air force gets its ideal platform
    By Ajey Lele, February 11, 2012, at

    Rafale Wins the MMRCA Competition
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 6, 2012, at

    Dogfight: India’s MMRCA Decision (Book review)
    By Ramesh Phadke, February 7, 2011, at

    MMRCA: A difficult choice for the IAF
    By Ramesh Phadke, May 19, 2010, at

    Rafale: the doomed French bird
    By Guillem Monsonis, May 14, 2009, at