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Oct 16, 2012

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Indian Army’s Pivotal Role in Nation Building

Delivering Field Marshal KM Cariappa Memorial Lecture on ‘Army’s Contribution to Nation Building – The Way Ahead’ in New Delhi, Dr. Pallam Raju the Minister of State for Defence said the military virtues of sacrifice, loyalty and discipline have always remained and must serve as objects of veneration for the rest of the nation.

Raju praised Field Marshal Cariappa as he taught the Indian Army to be apolitical and guided it to play a pivotal role towards nation building. He highlighted that the implications of nation building have changed in a globalised and interdependent World. While post Second World War it implied formation of viable nation states from territories carved out by colonial powers without regard in many cases to ethnic, religious, or other boundaries, in a globalized and interdependent world nation states represent the citizens aspiration to be grouped in a single political unit. Raju stated that the 21st century looks towards security, justice, economic development and a democratic polity as the pillars of nation building. Security comes first in the pecking order because the other three pillars function effectively only if the security threshold on the nation, both internal and external, remains intact. He highlighted the role of the Indian army in maintaining security and also staying out of the political maelstrom unlike some other states in the region.

Dr Raju highlighted that societal security is a major challenge for India. “Social integration is however still a distant goal and its conflicts manifested in religious fundamentalism, caste and the ever-growing gap between the `haves’ and the `have-nots’ is certainly a cause for concern’” he said. Towards this end the secular contribution of the armed forces to foster, “spirit of One-India”, has been important. More over despite being a substantially big institution, the Army has so far played no role as an institutional power group in the country’s politics. The military forces have in fact steadfastly remained loyal to the elected government and been its obedient servant.

The Army role in counter insurgency was also highlighted by the Minister both in terms of enforcing security and public support programmes like Operation Sadbhavana and Operation Samaritan which have included roads, schools, public health facilities, vocational facilities, sporting facilities and provisioning essential supplies.

Dwelling on the impact of societal changes on man management he highlighted that, “The relationship between officers and other ranks should adjust to change in the socio-economic scenario of the country. The growing levels of education and increasing awareness of the enlisted man call for dynamic qualities of leadership and man management. This is a major `in house` problem of the military that has to be tackled”.

On another area of concern problems of civil-military relations he highlighted that while problems have existed over a period these, “should not prove to be detrimental to the larger cause. Parallely, civilian leadership should realise that there is an increasing need to leverage and integrate the rich wisdom of military experience of our Armed forces in the Nation’s Management, Governance and Diplomacy”.

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