gfiles magazine

April 9, 2012

Are bureaucrats ‘controlling’ the military?

Are bureaucrats ‘controlling’ the military?
The controversy over the Army Chief’s age and the alleged conspiratorial role played by the bureaucracy to fan it points to such a situation
IN his 1998 treatise titled The Soldier and the State, former Chief of the Naval Staff Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat writes: “The modern military profession exists as part of the government in so far as the term ‘government’ includes the executive departments of the nation-state….Modern democracies therefore pay great attention to the supremacy of the political class over the military in governance, normally referred to as ‘civilian control of the military’. This is clearly how it should be, since all ultimate power and decision making should be wielded by the elected representatives of the people.”
Much water has flown down the rivers since then and ‘civilian control of the military’ has taken the different tone and tenor of ‘bureaucrats controlling the military’. The maneuverings behind the shortening of the serving Army Chief’s tenure and the allegedly conspiratory role played by Defence Ministry bureaucrats, in full media gaze, has brought this subject into sharp focus. The common refrain among senior military veterans is that bureaucrats have over-reached in their efforts to ‘control’ the military.
Defence analyst Maroof Raza echoes this view: “The system has closed around the Chief and this will only embolden the bureaucracy. The fallout will be that at least for two generations, no military commander will raise his head. And the message for military commanders is that it isn’t merit or accuracy of documents that will get them promotions, but pandering to the politico-bureaucratic elite. The last bastion of professional meritocracy in India has crumbled. The damage will be lasting.”......READMORE :

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