A compassionate Indian Army will post its officers in a manner that they stay motivated. The Army’s Military Secretariat (MS) branch will give, wherever possible, the same posting to couples who are in the military, and offer compensatory overseas postings to officers who have missed their promotions. Childless couples attempting to conceive through IVF are being given postings in places where

such facilities are available. Couples are also being considered for postings in stations where they can stay together, that is at peace or semi-field family postings. Army officers get field and peace postings, alternately. Hard-core field postings take them away from their families for a minimum of two years. Couples whose family-lives have suffered because of this separation, are being identified, and the MS is taking steps to ensure that they stay together for longer durations.

Military couples (where both the husband and the wife are officers), earlier used to get every third posting together, but now the MS is trying to keep them together in every posting. The Army has approximately 6,000 women officers in various branches; 50% of them are married within the service.

“The idea is to keep them together as much as possible, although women are in non-combat roles, and when male officers are posted in field formations, it may not be possible to post them together. But the MS is trying,” an officer told this newspaper.

In June 2012, a study conducted by the DRDO laboratory, Defence Institute of Psychological Research (DIPR), found that approximately 70% of suicides in the services occur at peace stations instead of combat zones. The reason given was family or financial issues. DRDO’s head of research and development Dr W. Selvamurthy had said last year that in order to handle stress better, soldiers were being trained in yoga by instructors from the National Institute of Yoga.

The other significant step taken by the MS branch is to send those officers who have missed their first promotion, decided by a selection board, to UN postings abroad. Recently six officers were selected to go on various UN missions as observers. An officer said, “This is being done to keep the officers motivated. They contemplate quitting service after they miss their first (selection) board. So this is to tell them that their hard work would be rewarded in some other form, if not by promotion.”

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