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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Musings on One rank One Pension and the Perfidy of Modi and the BJP



Recently at the Singapore club an interesting talk commenced with some officers of the Singapore air force, retired like me. The talk inevitably turned to the Indian armed forces. I was surprised as to how abreast the foreign officers were of the affairs in the Indian armed force, in particular the army. The gist of the conversation was that the Indian army was losing its cutting edge and in the years to come would be so demoralized that it will not or could not hold India together and the balkanization of India was inevitable.

This appeared to me a farfetched thought, but the fact is that the armed forces right from the time of Nehru has been downgraded at every step and their perks and privileges pruned at every opportunity. This is surprising as a country like India facing an insurgency in the Indian heartland led by Maoists and independence movements in the North east as well as calculated terrorism in Kashmir are a neglected lot. The government be it of Nehru or Modi have not grasped that if India is to stay united it is only due to the army.

Nehru had his reasons as he feared a military coup and thus let the finest fighting machine in India go to seed, culminating in a massive defeat with China. Indira Gandhi was the best as the armed forces gave her a name in history for ever with the cutting to size of Pakistan and creation of Bangladesh. I remember in 1984 on R Day she sanctioned free rations for officers as well. Unfortunately Modi has talked about sanction of OROP, the most contentious item in the list of demands of the services. He promised, but like Humpty Dumpty has had a great fall. He has changed his mind and now is silent as his cabinet ministers Jaitley and Parrikar go about dousing the flames in the hearts of the servicemen. To say they are misled by the bureaucracy is a misnomer, for no civil servant can oppose something, if the government wants to give. It happened during the time free rations were sanctioned and again if the Modi and the government want OROP, it can be a reality.

There is apathy in the BJP government towards the armed forces. I wonder how they are better off than the Congress and Nehru. A decision of 2 parliaments has been negated by Modi. I am afraid he is the man; if he wanted would Jaitley and Parrikar not acquiescence?

 A lot of blame must also go to our top brass, the army in particular, where successive chiefs for personal gain (maybe) have acquiesced with the government in demoting themselves and the soldiers under their command. If right from the time of Cariappa the armed forces commanders had put their foot down this state of affairs where the retired armed forces personnel are literally begging for OROP would never have happened. Coming to OROP, I am afraid that what we understand in the classical concept of OROP will not be sanctioned. I hope to god I am wrong, but 2 or 3 decades hence the Indian state will have to pay a heavy price for the antics of the political leaders from the time of Nehru to Narendra Modi.