Instead of playing political games, BJP should keep the Indian army in its own democratic boundary

Published: May 31, 2017
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Indian Border Security Force personnel dance as they celebrate Republic Day at the India-Pakistan Wagah border post. PHOTO: AFP

Civil supremacy over the military, a necessary adjunct of the parliamentary form of government, stands firmly established in India, making the army a political neutral institution of the state. Over the decades, the Indian army has played a crucial role in preserving the democracy of India – first by serving the nation with professionalism, and second by keeping itself away from politics.

However, off late, post the Narendra Modi government at the centre, there is angst that the military is being politicised. The infatuation between the government and the army is quite evident.

The government, time and again, has been advertising cross border operations and using the name of the ‘Indian army’ for electoral and political gains.

While the army previously opposed such advertisements, it is interesting to notice that these days, it doesn’t.

Moreover, the recent comments that suit the ruling party’s hard-line attitude by the Army Chief General Bipin Rawat (handpicked by Modi by superseding two deserving officers) on the Kashmir issue further sabotages the credibility of the army and even raises doubts over the army’s apolitical nature.

When the opposition expressed their displeasure, Defence Minister Arun Jaitley backed the army by stating,

“Military solutions are to be provided by military officers, not through comments of politicians. How a situation is to be dealt with when you are in a war-like zone, we should allow our army officers to take a decision. They don’t have to consult Members of Parliament (MP) as to what they should do under these circumstances.”

In a democracy like India, the army gets orders from the polity either directly or through the bureaucracy. Besides, for every action, the army is accountable to the parliament. But here, the ruling government and its ministers seem to increase the tutelage of the Indian army at the cost of the Indian sovereignty.

It wasn’t surprising then when the Communist Party of India’s (CPI) Kerala secretary, Kodiyeri Balakrishnan, commented the following after Jaitley expressed that the army should have the power to take free hand decisions on war-like situations:

“They (army) can do anything to anybody. If they see more than four people standing together, they can shoot them…They can take any woman and rape her, nobody has the right to question them. This is the state wherever the army is.”

This is not the first time that the leaders of the CPI are pointing fingers at the army. Earlier, in 2016, Kanhaiya Kumar, the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union president, too stroked a controversy by claiming that some Indian army soldiers rape women in Kashmir. Kavita Krishnan, secretary of the All India Progressive Women’s Association (AIPWA), Polit Bureau member, and editor of Liberation, a monthly publication of CPI-ML (Marxist–Leninist), too joined the bandwagon:

No wonder, the Kunan Poshpora incident and the incidents in Manipur still haunt the Indian army. If the romance between the ruling government and the army continues, the Indian army will soon lose all its credibility from the masses as well.

Last month, when Delhi University’s website was hacked, a message against the armed forces splashed across the webpage. The site exhibited messages against the army charging them of ‘rape’ and ‘killings’ in Kashmir. The hackers, who identified themselves as “PHC”, posted messages like “Pakistan Zindabad” and “#Security is just an illusion” on the site. “Stuck by PHC” was the punch line at the top of the hacked page.

The hacked web pages stated,

“Do you know what your so-called heroes are doing in Kashmir? Do you know they are killing so many innocent people in Kashmir? Do you know they have raped many girls? Do you know they still are raping girls in Kashmir? How would you feel if your brother, sister, father and mother gets killed? How would you feel if someone rapes your mother or sister? Won’t your life and your families be destroyed?”

This is the reason why instead of playing political games along with the defence services, our government should keep the army in its own democratic boundary. After all, the army is supposed to show unquestionable devotion to the state, and not to the ruling government or its opposition.

The centre is forgetting that if it gives the army the power to be involved in politics, it will definitely limit the power of sovereignty, which will, without a doubt, disturb India’s democratic fabric.

Hence, it is high time both the centre and the Indian army keep the defence services completely apolitical, otherwise the repercussion like a slow poison can change the course of the Indian democracy.

Deepti Verma

Deepti Verma

The author is co-founder of NationalViews.com - an online portal for articulating opinions, views that needs national as well as global attention. She tweets @universal_rover (twitter.com/universal_rover?lang=en)

The views expressed by the writer and the reader comments do not necessarily reflect the views and policies of The Express Tribune.

  • Rahul

    Indian Army is well within its boundary. Author should stop taking the illicit stuff. It is dangerous and unhealthy.Recommend

  • hoohaa

    Just like Pakistani army?Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    That’s why India does this drama that pakistan is doing cross border terrorism in india to keep the world attention away from what they really doing in IOK to kahsmiris. They never let UN come near IOK, they banned social media in IOK, local newspaper and constantly keep IOK under curfew. Recommend

  • Zaman

    Whats new in this, everyone knows the indian brutal army been doing this for decades and who are there to stop them????? the hardliners hindutva bjp government and earlier the so called democratic congress all are involved in hand in gloves in these heinous crimes against humanity with the army and they has been given impunityRecommend

  • Swaadhin

    Deepti, you seem to be writing for quiet some time, can you post a link to one of your stories which does not show either Army or the ruling party in poor light.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Madam you could have bashed India for so many other reasons including Kashmir but not cross border terrorism because your country has copy rights over it even when there is little competition to you guys on itRecommend

  • sParthiv

    They are just rookies writers rejected jobs in reputed newspapers. Even they need to make a their living. So they stoop low to write articles in Pakistani newspapers. Recommend

  • Ramakrishnan

    It is quite obvious that the writer is one more of those commissioned by the opposition, mainly the Congress and it’s terrorist supporters like Mani Shankar Iyer. which is not used to remaining away from power. Kashmir situation is a result of it’s misdeeds starting right from the partition.
    The author is trying to revoke the controversy over the 1991 incidence thinking people might have forgotten the BG Varughese Committee findings. It conclusively proved that it was a false attempt by the supporters of terrorists and gave a clean chit to the Army. I was present there at that time and can categorically state this. It was 26 years back and the author may have been a child and therefore her story is a hearsay. She thinks the readers are gullible. No. People are much more discerning. Wake up to the reality.
    Democracy also demands responsibility from the citizens. You cannot write whatever you want. It is time the Govt files defamation suit against such people.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    India is the biggest supporter of terrorism, you only cry terrorism for your own benefits in IOK. Recommend

  • Patwari

    Should we discuss Balochistan? A favorite destination for
    Hindian RAW agents. Who come with their pockets bulging
    with USD $ dollars. And cause mayhem, destruction and deaths
    of thousands of innocent children, women and men.
    All 16 consulates of Hindia, in Afghanistan are near the Pak border.
    For easy infiltration into Balochistan or FATA tribal areas.
    Somehow, when these Hindustani agents of death and destruction
    are caught, red handed, their Bharati govt. moans and groans and wrings it’s hand, shedding crocodile tears of how these brave stalwart private citizens, who were rounded up while visiting their
    unknown mothers in laws in Balochistan. Strangely, they all happen to be commanders in the Hindian navy or captains/majors of the Hindustani army deputed to the comedy show known as RAW.
    One was caught recently. He is now rotting in a military jail.
    With the blood of thousands of innocent civilians on his hands.
    Seems like the bumbling RAW invented importation of cross border terrorism. Decades ago. In the 1950’s
    May the Lord Rama shower his benedictions on ya’ll. In triplicate.Recommend

  • Mariana Nichols

    Excellent Blog. I think very useful for all people. keep up the great posts! Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Give me a few examples MadamRecommend

  • Swaadhin

    Madam I am waiting for you to rant with your fiction which you believe as factsRecommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    kulbhushan jadhav is one example, who has been killing people in karachi and balochistan for 7 years. To save your terror face you took the case to ICJ to prove your further that your were behind this, his family whoch is from poor background admitted Jadhav suddenly left Navy to start business in Iran, I’m sure Iran had his visa already for him to do business. ICJ is against capital punishment you knew this very well from beginning.
    An other example is our neighbor Afghanistan where you are playing your dirty games you have constantly been pushing rented donkeys in Pakistan.
    So stop your defending rant there are 1.25 billion of you I’m sure not all of you are saints.Recommend

  • LS

    They are well with in their borders and killing terrorists supported by ISI/Pakmil. What government was in center has nothing to do..

    While you conviniently forget your violence against humanity in AJK, GB, Balochistan, Sindh, Waziristan and above all in East Pakistan. Your generals have gone as far as helping Jordan kill 25,000 Palestinians. Ignorance is bliss?Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “So stop your defending rant there are 1.25 billion of you I’m sure not all of you are saints.”

    Thanks Madam!! I agree with the above comment of yours, not all of us are saints but a dangerous ideology and a mindset that people of your ilk represent cannot be countered by saints, don’t blame me if I am not a saint.

    Kulbhushan Jadhav- I would be surprised if he is not an Indian spy but a spy does not necessarily have to be a terrorist. Why don’t you simply put him on a trial as we did to Kasab rather than resorting to a Military court drama.

    I was hoping for an example from you who would be an equivalent of Hafiz Saeed and Maulana Masood though.

    “An other example is our neighbor Afghanistan where you are playing your dirty games you have constantly been pushing rented donkeys in Pakistan. ”

    I guess an Afghan would respond to you by saying rented donkeys are way better than rented dogs which the Afghan Taliban and Hakkani network are. Why blame the Afghans/ Indians when you are the home to all kinds of terrorists.

    Btw I have heard Pakistanis no longer need bombs and guns to kill the Kuffar, they are managing to unleash their hatred even with knives as was done in London.Recommend

  • Duniya Hasan

    So you don’t have any answer to my questions I asked? You are saying kulbhushan yadav was a spy who killed innocent people in Pakistan for many years but not terrorist I guess that makes it okay. Kasab was not a navy veteran or a spy, he was a brainwashed kid unlike kulbhushan yadav who was working for interest of his country. You people made movie on kasab and made money.
    It was India who supported Soviet Union invasion in Afghanistan not Pakistan, that’s where all the mess started in the first place now all of the sudden your their friends?? And you don’t want me to blame the Afghanis?? A country which absoultely has no control outside of Kabul city where you indians are hiding plotting attacks on Pakistan. Why would India be interested in Pakistani neighbors a war torn Afghanistan and sanction imposed Iran who also share nothing with you people, it’s obvious you want to disablized pakistan thru them, you don’t care for them. Also Pakistan is home to millions of Afghnai refugees because of them we are in a bad situation today.
    FYI, Christians and jews are not considered kafirs in islam only hindus are kafirs as you people worship idols. I think you didn’t know Bible and Torah are 2 of 5 holy books in islam. 😊Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    “You are saying kulbhushan yadav was a spy who killed innocent people in Pakistan for many years but not terrorist I guess that makes it okay. ”

    Your saying something is not enough, we proved it to the world by give Kasab the trial he deserved. You can’t say the same for Kulbhushan. You may get hold of anyone and call him a terrorist but you still need to prove it to the world if not the Indians.

    “Kasab was not a navy veteran or a spy, he was a brainwashed kid unlike kulbhushan yadav who was working for interest of his country. ”

    Kid? Shows where your sympathies lie. I believe we also have one of your Army veterans with us whom I am sure India will use appropriately.

    “You people made movie on kasab and made money.”

    Not me, not my people, not my country, an individual who made the movie just the way people all across the world make movies on tragedies. I can understand your angst considering the shame this movie might have brought to proud Pakistanis like you. You need to look around and you would find there are many such movies made all across the world which features Pakistan prominently as the home of all kinds of terrorists. All you could see is the money though in a tragedy that your kid(by your own admission) and your mindset had unleashed upon us.

    “It was India who supported Soviet Union invasion in Afghanistan not Pakistan, that’s where all the mess started in the first place now all of the sudden your their friends?? And you don’t want me to blame the Afghanis?? A country which absoultely has no control outside of Kabul city where you indians are hiding plotting attacks on Pakistan”

    That’s funny Madam!! You sell a story and you believe there is not a counter narrative available. Who asked the Pakistanis to take the money from the US and other Sunni countries and become a host to Sunnis from all across the world in their Jihad against the non believers. Who asked you to radicalise your own youth long after the Soviets had left and use these folks to dominate Afghanistan and to create trouble in other neighboring countries.

    “And you don’t want me to blame the Afghanis?? A country which absoultely has no control outside of Kabul city where you indians are hiding plotting attacks on Pakistan. Why would India be interested in Pakistani neighbors a war torn Afghanistan and sanction imposed Iran who also share nothing with you people, it’s obvious you want to disablized pakistan thru them, you don’t care for them. ”

    So how do you control Afghanistan? By offering to facilitate a dialogue between Afghan Taliban and Americans while claiming you don’t support the Afghan Taliban and also complaining at the same time that TTP is being supported by Afghans/ Indians? You can support the Good Taliban but others can’t have their own Good Taliban? India I am sure uses the Afghan territory to disturb Pakistan but Pakistan uses its own against India, Hafiz and Maulana will shed further light on it if your interested.

    “Also Pakistan is home to millions of Afghnai refugees because of them we are in a bad situation today.”

    Good one , this narrative would go a long way in strengthening your ties with the Afghans. Do you only blame an average Afghan living in Pakistan or you also blame those Afghans who constitute Quetta Shura?

    “FYI, Christians and jews are not considered kafirs in islam only hindus are kafirs as you people worship idols. I think you didn’t know Bible and Torah are 2 of 5 holy books in islam. 😊”

    Let me admit I am not an expert of any of the faiths. As far as who is an infidel is concerned, leave alone ISIS and Al Qaeda, ask any terrorist/extremist group based out of Pakistan(you have plenty) and they will tell you what do they think of “people of book”, not just the Christians and Jews but even those within the so called Umma are Kafirs for them for not adhering to their version of the faith. It’s not the book which leaves an impression of ones faith on others but the conduct of its followers.

    Your response seemed as if you are fine to see the Hindus killed as you consider them Infidels going by your interpretation of the holy book. I am assuming you to be a Shia going by your name, so you must know what the Sunni groups of your country consider you, the Umma is afterall a hallucination.

    What’s the point of claiming Torah and Bible as one of your own when you cannot stop hating its followers for who they are. I can understand your hatred of idol worshippers across your Eastern border as you don’t seem to have too many left in your country but how do you manage your hatred of your idol worshipping ancestors.Recommend

  • Sudhanshu Swami

    We wont advice Mr. Nawaz sharif about Army. Else his plane will be diverted to Jeddah.Recommend

  • Swaadhin

    Madam I am waiting for your response.Recommend

  • ashish tiwari

    Zaman get yourself a break from pakistani military and govt propaganda. Indian Army is mostly a professional force otherwise kashmiri stone throwers and even pakistan would have ceased to exist well before it got any nuclear bombs. You should also thank stupid indian leaders from Gandhi family and our ignorant people who kept voting for them for 65 years. Foolish indira gandhi couldnt even take back whole kashmir from pakistan after having pakistan by throat in 1971Recommend