What about the Indian Army?

Indian flag photographic collage

So a team came across the border and killed Indian soldiers. How many soldiers killed? Whether the killers were Pakistani Army or terrorists? Who said what and what to outrage about?

The usual flurry of activity continues unabated. As a citizen of India, my concern is less with all these things and more with the reality being presented.

A few months ago, the news on this front was a similar raid and beheaded Indian soldiers. Last week we were talking about Chinese incursions. Last month too. The Chinese are walking in, taking out a surveillance camera. Then they came in and warned us to vacate the Chumur area.

Each time, the dialogue is easy to derail in a country fixated with political blame games.

To me the situation is more worrying.

What the heck is the Indian Army doing?

With the amount of troops we have posted in Kashmir, how is it that these incursions happen, let alone manage to kill our soldiers? I am not very romantic about Armies. They are no more or less important than the many other ways Indians must participate in the country as a whole. The kind of romanticism and worse, coddling of the Army is driving me nuts.

The flat out question here is how are these intrusions happening and what actions were taken after the past intrusions. Whatever the answer is, WHY ARE THE MEASURES NOT WORKING?

We can outrage about Pakistan and China, but at the end of the day, we cannot ask them to defend our borders for us. We can blame terrorists, but we cannot rest with simply allocating blame, if the measures against them failed. And this is a huge failure if entire teams get ambushed, tents get pitched, camera gets removed, Chinese troops come with eviction orders. What the hell is the Army doing there that these things happen?

Worse, what is the media doing by treating the Army like some freaking victim of abuse by Pakistani regulars or irregulars? Pakistan is a hostile border. This is not news. So why is PAKISTAN expected to keep our soldiers safe, and why are our soldiers not able to manage their own security? Why are we talking about strong messages to either Pakistan or China as our sole responses to this crap? It would make sense if the intrusions were detected and prevented and we were talking about diplomatic relations. If the intrusions succeeded, is it not important to first ask how that happened? It is hardly an isolated incident.

This is incompetence, and the worse we shield the Army with our sympathy and anger at politicians on behalf of Army soldiers, the more we are ENABLING the lack of efficiency.

But who cares? The “ruling party” wants bilateral relations to showcase, the “opposition party” wants incompetence of the ruling party to showcase. Everybody and his cousin wants to appear to be “on the side of the Army” and “appreciating their sacrifices”. No one wants to be the unpatriotic chap who will ever imply our Army isn’t shining. Who cares if a few continue to die and provide headline fodder?

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2 thoughts on “What about the Indian Army?”

  1. Vidyut, while your concern is probably valid, I think you’re being insensitive to the reality of manning borders. Bordered by nature are porous. You can’t have men at every pore. Despite whatever amount of manpower and surveillance you have at border incursions and infiltrations are very difficult to prevent a 100%. This is exacerbated by the fact that there are areas which are no-man’s land where armies can’t persecute people and that there are regular local people living their livelihoods who will often cross over inadvertently and deserve the sympathy of both armies. This makes borders amongst the trickiest spots to man.

    The other aspect you should keep in mind is the philosophy of how certain armies operate. We usually operate with a philosophy of never striking first. In that, you will always hear of aggression from our neighbours first, be it Pakistan, China, or in rare situations, Bangladesh. Also, fidayeen terrorists vs a regular army is always tricky. One party is trying to create as much destruction as possible and the other is in a mode of defense. Since our exposure to warlike situations is just through the medium of video games, we underestimate these difficulties. An ambush during a time of agreed ceasefire is worse than having a hostile neighbour that is constantly in a state of attack. I can’t blame the army for being incompetent for this – I think that is a very unfair call.

    Let us also not forget that the borders we share with Pakistan represent some of the most difficult terrain – desert, salt marshes, high altitude deserts, glaciers, etc. The army deals with terrorists with state of the art equipment while they battle with whatever was the last issue they got. This is not to say they have bad equipment but any study will tell you that the terrorists always happen to be heavily armed in comparision to our forces.

    Let’s compare this to America’s homeland security that has some of the most sophisticated technology and some of the best armed forces. They end up letting through unarmed refugees on almost a daily basis and Mexican cartels have been infiltrating their borders like water through a sieve. That should tell us that borders are not easy to man.

    Again as an Indian, I share your concern. I totally disagree though, with your assertion that our armed forces are incompetent. That is not just inconsiderate – with the addition of context, it is also inaccurate.

  2. Vidyut, perhaps you are the first one to call spade a spade. I am in absolute agreement with you and your concerns about Indian Army. This is getting to be an alarming situation and our Netas are busy scoring brownie points on national tv channels.

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