Friday, June 1, 2012
QUALITY LEADERSHIP CRISES FOR THE ARMED FORCES - A letter to the Prime Minister by Col (Retd) Vinay B Dalvi,
Dr. Manmohan Singh,
Honourable Prime Minister of India,
2, Safdarjung Road,
New Delhi 110 011.
Dear Honourable Prime Minister,
I have the honour of writing to you on a subject which requires your personal attention.
The Indian Armed Forces were once the pride of the country and the envy of the world. They attracted the best and the brightest of our youth to join this noble profession of arms. What the forces lacked in guns and equipment, they made up for in the quality of their officers and men. They displayed exemplary courage and valour whenever called upon to defend the country from external aggression and also threat from the enemy within. This earned them a high degree of respect and admiration for their professionalism, honesty and integrity.
The people incharge were indeed leaders of the highest calibre to which the soldiers, sailors and airman looked up to as ‘Role Models’, and whose dedication and leadership gave the serving defence personnel the motivation to put their best foot forward.
Overtime, due to vested political interests the armed forces were frequently employed for various internal duties and resolving of domestic issues which adversely affected their primary focus of operational preparedness against our formidable enemy across our vast frontiers, lengthy borders and vulnerable sea coast.
Our rapid modernization and speedy economic growth brought forth attractive and multifarious job opportunities for our youth. Unfortunately for the Armed Forces this lured away the best of our youth to more comfortable and lucrative jobs and careers particularly in the corporate world and business sector.
While the cream of our youth continued to be weaned away from the profession of arms, the armed forces leadership in particular and the nation at large, did precious little to check its negative impact on the quality of our officer leadership. This continued decline in the standard of our intake of our officer cadre began having serious negative implications in the training, growth and upbringing of our officers. The cumulative effect of this process brought further decline of our high professional standards, particularly with regard to honesty and integrity which were once our hallmark. Infact the system has lost considerable credibility and with frequent bureaucratic and political interference threatening to weaken our very foundation. The nation now needs to be reminded than ever before that the Armed Forces is their strongest bastion and the last line of defence.
To safeguard the economic interest of our country, from the ever looming threat of our strategic neighbours, particularly China, there is an inescapable need of a formidable defence establishment led by highly professional men of impeccable character. After all when the nation can spend billions and billions of rupees of public money for the procurement of expensive aircrafts, ships, submarines and other defence arms and equipment, surely some money can be set aside for improving the quality of our soldiers and particularly their leaders - the officer class. History has repeatedly taught us that the man behind the gun is the most important battle winning factor. The leaders of these men are even more important as they are required to lead from the front and be the architects of victory.
A nation gets the armed forces it deserves. If the people at large want a strong and highly professional organization with dedicated, selfless men of honesty, integrity and character, they must positively contribute their bit both individually and collectively. This will surely strengthen the organization and also help steer the Armed Forces out of their present quality leadership crises.
With highest regards and respect.
Col(Retd)Vinay B Dalvi,
Author-‘Role Model’-a key to character development
by Pentagon Press