Indian Defence and Aerospace Summit

Stand by the armed forces

Stand by the armed forces

By THE SUNDAY GUARDIAN | 8 October, 2016

Attempts by certain sections of the political class to question the veracity of Indian Army’s revelation of the surgical strikes in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir are most condemnable. The Army is not a political institution and does not go public with its operations with the intention of making any political capital. Secondly, when a senior officer of the rank of a Lieutenant General states something on record, there is no reason to disbelieve him. Why would an officer holding the position of the Director General Military Operations make a false assertion about anything? To hint otherwise is to cast doubt on the finest traditions of the Army, an institution that has largely escaped the degeneration which has befallen some other institutions in our country. The Army’s job is to protect the country and its people. The people of India have faith in the armed forces and hence we call upon the political class as a whole not to doubt a claim made by the armed forces officially. Political parties can have differences and therefore have the right to question each other. However, in the case of the armed forces, especially when they are engaged in countering covert and overt hostile operations from across the border, there should be unconditional support. On their part, political parties must refrain from dragging our jawans and officers into any controversy. The reason why our armed forces are regarded so highly worldwide is that they are totally committed to the tasks assigned to them. At no stage have the armed forces even for an instant shown any indication of following the putrid path of the Pakistan army, which suppressed democracy in the 1950s and even today has supplanted civil authority, in the process reducing elected politicians to mere ciphers. As in other evolved democracies, the armed forces in India report to a duly elected popular government. They are constantly in a state of preparedness and accomplish the job given to them. The review of any situation is done at the highest level and once the Prime Minister is on board, the service Chiefs carry out even the most difficult tasks with a lot of ease. Over the years, the armed forces’ personnel have displayed unmatched bravery and heroics. The surgical strikes in PoK are an example of their capabilities. It is good that Prime Minister Modi has ensured that the situation which has prevailed for decades, that of Pakistan ignoring the sanctity of the Line of Control despite their solemn obligations under the 1972 Shimla Agreement, has been met with India regarding the whole of Jammu & Kashmir as its own territory and therefore reserving for itself the freedom to act within what is its own land border. Since such operations are by nature secret, it is not necessary that evidence regarding the strikes should be provided to politicians or others wanting to take any kind of political or strategic advantage. Operational secrets need not be shared in the public domain, as they can give out vital information to the enemies. The US SEALs have yet to give the details of how they executed the difficult task of eliminating Osama Bin Laden in Abbottabad. No one even asked them. Why should our special forces, which carried out the surgical strikes, be asked to provide details of how they did it? Their word is enough. There are many things that strike forces do at different times. However, the secrecy is never divulged. It is in the overall interest of the country that specific information remains in the realm of military domain. We need to trust our men. No further questions should ever be asked unless certain matters get shared over a period of time due to strategic reasons. The politicians should also remember that in statecraft it is not desirable to inject politics in actions taken by the armed forces. Therefore, leaders should show grace, dignity and respect for the armed forces and not seek to derive political advantage in such a critical matter as action by the military against terrorist camps run by the ISI across the LoC.

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