Thursday, October 2, 2008


There is a lot of negative publicity going on in the media about the stand taken by the Service Chiefs with regard to the implementation of the VI Pay Commission. This negativism is coming from people who do not understand the ethos of the services. I would like to put on record my take on the whole issue, as I see it.

The service chiefs head their particular service. The ethos of the service demands that every person put the country first, every time, followed by the people placed below him, and lastly himself. This is exactly what the three chiefs have done. They had been suitably compensated by the Pay Commission and could have just sat down quietly and let the people below them simmer on account of the injustice done. Simmering discontent in the services can only lead to one thing - drop in morale. Morale is one of the greatest assets of any fighting force. A low morale can be very detrimental to the well being of the service, and the nation. It must be understood that the men in uniform have no safety valve in terms of rights to form unions, associations or go out in protest. Thus there is no other way that the grievances of the force can be resolved except by looking up to their commanders to do what is best for them. The service chiefs have thus done what was in the best interests of the nation and the people placed below them without thinking about themselves. They could have sat quietly, hoping to get a diplomatic assignment on completion of their tenures as Chiefs. This would have been very un-soldierly.

The way things are being construed is rather unfortunate. It appears that the chiefs may not be given any diplomatic posts after retirement, primarily for being unselfish and for having kept the nation, and the people below them, above their own selfish interests. What actually have they done wrong? They apprised the Defence Minister at every step, they communicated the same to every one placed below them, so as to prevent rumours and the grapevine news about the goings on . The grapevine can be dangerous. It is a Commander's job to communicate with his subordinates and keep them posted on all issues affecting them, and their service. I sincerely believe the three Service Chiefs have shown great leadership, and have done an exemplary service to the nation, and also to the respective service they head. May India have many more such Chiefs.

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