Tuesday, 2 July 2013

Army promotion politics drives reshuffle of top commanders






Lt Gen Anil Chait, in conversation with victims of the recent natural disaster in Uttarakhand

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 2nd July 13

On Monday, more than half the Indian Army's top commanders were shifted around in what many top generals and analysts consider a motivated and unnecessary reshuffle. The crucial northern, western and central commands now have new commanders, as do the Integrated Defence Staff and the army's training command.

Officers in army headquarters say the army chief, General Bikram Singh, has personally initiated this reshuffle to push through a promotion policy in which quotas, not merit, will govern the selection of brigadiers and generals.

The Indian Army, like professional western armies, has traditionally selected its senior officers based on their career records alone. Until recently, that is, when vacancies in the rank of brigadier started being distributed between arms (infantry, artillery, armoured corps, etc) on a “pro rata” basis, i.e. in proportion to the number of officers in each arm. Now, Gen Bikram Singh wants to extend this to the next rank, i.e. major general.

Officers who want meritocracy at senior ranks call this “Mandalisation” of a professional army. The official term for it is “pro rata” promotion.

Seniormost amongst those shifted out is a resolute opponent of “pro rata”, former Central Army Commander, Lt Gen Anil Chait. At the apex Army Commanders’ Conference, the army’s only consultative check on the chief’s otherwise arbitrary power, Chait has pushed for the rollback of “pro rata” for brigadier vacancies, and blocked its extension to major general rank. But Chait has been side lined with his posting as chief of the Integrated Defence Staff (CISC). He is no longer an army commander.

The “pro rata” policy has been propagated by a unbroken series of army chiefs from the infantry and artillery, which most benefit from “pro rata” --- Gen NC Vij (infantry); Gen S Padmanabhan (artillery); Gen JJ Singh (infantry); Gen Deepak Kapoor (artillery); Gen VK Singh (infantry); and Gen Bikram Singh (infantry).

The infantry has the largest number of officers, and already benefits from “pro rata”: a corresponding number become brigadiers, regardless of merit. Extending “pro-rata” to major general rank will extend reservations up the promotion ladder. Benefiting similarly is the artillery, the second largest arm.

The big loser is the armoured corps --- the army’s key strike arm --- that has traditionally produced more brigadiers and generals than its small officer strength might suggest. Another loser would be the mechanized infantry, whose high-calibre brigadiers would be denied promotion because of its small quota of major general vacancies.

Replacing Chait in Lucknow is the newly promoted Lt Gen Rajan Bakshi, who was in command of the Leh-based 14 Corps, where he successfully handled the recent Chinese intrusion in Daulat Beg Oldi. Bakshi, himself an armoured corps officer, was well placed to take over command of the Udhampur-based northern army, on Lt Gen KT Parnaik’s retirement on Sunday. But that would have meant that two armoured corps army commanders --- Chait and Bakshi --- would have opposed “pro rata”. Replacing Chait with Bakshi, and posting Chait as CISC, has defanged that opposition.

Apparently, Gen Bikram Singh cited Bakshi’s armoured corps background to block him from commanding the northern army, which is involved primarily in infantry operations. This after Bakshi successfully commanded the infantry-predominant 14 Corps, including handling the Daulat Beg Oldi intrusion.

The army says it is not considering the extension of “pro rata” to major general rank. It says Lt Gen Anil Chait’s posting as CISC “has been in the organisational interest.”

During his eventful last days in Lucknow, Chait has earned plaudits for his handling of the recent Uttarakhand natural disaster. But MoD officials say the army chief has whispered to Defence Minister Antony that Chait is close to Mulayam Singh Yadav and, therefore, must be shifted from Lucknow.

Farsighted infantry and artillery generals like former northern army commander, Lt Gen (Retd) Rostum Nanavatty, believed that “pro rata” would drag the army into mediocrity. “I opposed this proposal at every forum. How are we going to get the best commanders if we are allocating quotas at the highest rank? Every step we take in this direction will be a mistake,” says Nanavatty.

To command the northern army, another well-settled army commander, Lt Gen Sanjiv Chhachra, who has been commanded the western army for almost a year, has been shifted out to Udhampur. Chhachra is an infantryman, as are the eastern army commander, Lt Gen Dalbir Singh; and Lt Gen Gyan Bhushan, who heads the south-western command.

Even after side lining Chait, the “pro rata” policy might still encounter resistance if army commanders from the mechanised infantry dig in their heels. These are Lt Gen Philip Campose, who has taken over the western army at Chandimandir; Lt Gen Sanjiv Madhok at the Army Training Command at Shimla; and Lt Gen Ashok Singh, who heads the southern army in Pune.

The MoD has the final word on changes to promotion policy. However, it has not questioned or blocked the “pro rata” policy at brigadier rank.

36 comments:

Anonymous said...

How utterly DISGRACEFUL

Anonymous said...

Not only in defence services, the promotion and transfer policies in all govt. & private institutions r done without considering any ethics & eligibility. Unplanned promotion policies is bound to degrade the work culture & productivity of any organization considering that HR is the most complex resource an organization possess. Unless transparent HR policies r adopted such woes will remain.

Anonymous said...

quality suffers... fourth estate... ditch reporting... indulge in politics... like wise... Indian Army...

Anonymous said...

Dear Ajai

It seems the COAS is yet another OQ case like his predecessor.

Pro rata /Mandalism what ever we may term this phenomena it seems to be a repeat of what Gestapo & SS did to righteous Russian Generals before launching an walk over offensive.

This great nation will only realize and pay a invaluable price when it requires FAUJ the most.

This nation can accept One Crore for every Indian Cricket Team member for Playing Bat & Ball.

What About our Faujis who played with there lives in Uttrakhand.

An extremely worried Indian Citizen.

Jai Hind!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

One officer from the MechInf put up a case against the Pro rata in the AFT.. Did you look into it?

Anonymous said...

In the time where the army has once again stood up for the nation and are doing yeoman service in the uttrakhand disaster me ajai shukla comes out with an article which tries to show the army chief in poor light ,that also after when the army chief has and is steering the army in right direction.Mr Shukla has a habit of shooting at wild targets and he has got his facts all wrong. Cmon mr shukla grow up you seem to be batting for individuals and they seem to be feeding you malicious information which you seem to lap up....for sake of our army please try and be fair rather than lopsided.....

Yogi said...

Ajayji,
I admire your loyalty to your dear Armoured Corps and your persistence in following a lost cause, or is it `tilting at windmills'? whatever it be, fact is that days of `peacetime charioteers' taking the Army for a ride are over!!

Anonymous said...

Mr Ajai Shukla is at it again , he has made his habit to try and bring the indian army down at a time when it is committed to the cause of nation in carrying out humanitarian operations in devastated hills of uttrakhand.I wonder for whom mr shukla is batting for .Someone feeds him unsubstantiated information and he laps it up like a child.Is mr shukla in the policy making body of the army ?Army is not about individuals and it has robust mechanisms to take care of its command structure , for heaven sake mr shukla leave the army alone...

Anonymous said...

Dear Colonel Shukla,
You are a journalist now. Please stop pushing armoured corps. The ability to differentiate between news and views is most important aspect of journalism and ethical journalism demands that you follow this distinction. In the interest of allowing unbiased debate please enlighten your readers about other issues with army's promotion policy like engineers and artillery not being considered in general cadre, selection boards for colonel being held at different years for different arms and services etc.
As an aside, how many armoured corps officers see combat apart from RR and the intelligent ones manage to evade even that. It is the infantry and artillery which has the bulk of officers involved in counter insurgency operations.
i hold your blog in high regard, but this is not the first time you have come across as a mouthpiece of armoured corps.
As a journalist please leave your service affiliations behind. Please take it as a humble request.

Anonymous said...

Dear Ajai Shukla, as has been rightly brought about by the last blogger you should leave ur service afiliations behind while in service also and after that also if you want to serve the organisation in right earnest. When armd corps was getting all the promotions through inflated acrs and fighting battles on paper, nobody thought of org interest. why dont you raise the discrepancy of services like eme ,asc & ord not getting their due. their result is a dismal 25% in selection boards and many brught officers dont make it. The same quota policy is their in staff college exam. why are service officers considered for command of nin fighting formations like sub area & areas. But since everybody wants to get inside the compartment and then deny others a chance to board, things will continue like this till the time general officers understand the meaning of general cadre and the the sign on their beret which is changed from their regimental insignia because they know belong to Army as a whole and should rise above petty regimental politics.

Anonymous said...

@anonymous at 11:42:
Sir/ma'am,
The General cadre itself delinks you with the arm. Who says the Engineers and Arty offrs arent considered for general cadre, they are given a choice to either continue in their arm or be a part of the general cadre.

Now coming to Armd and MechInf chaps not seeing enough combat. How does it even matter! We are discussing the promotion policy here, not the time served in field areas. Also, I personally know quite a few infantry offrs who have 'intelligently', as you put it, evaded combat! And I also know of Armd officers who've taken bullets.

u dont realise what this policy is doing to the morale of meritorious officers who have slogged hard since their NDA days right upto the point where he is superseded by much less competent officer.

Not only is it demoralising the officers, it is also draining the army of professionalism.

Ill ask you a question, would you want a good well-performing general from the armd corps commanding your army, or would you rather have an underperforming officer who made it to the next rank (luckily) because of the reservation?

I'd request you to come out of your cocoon and face the reality. Reservations only kill merit, no matter wherever they are!

Anonymous said...

@ all the anonymous who are chafed at the unearthing of the 'pro-rata' great game. Aren't you all from Infantry? So just because a guy has been in Infantry so there must be a Mandal like reservation for you when you reach the rank of brigadier. That is why less than capable officers in Infantry are commanding brigades and meritorious officers are languishing, just because they are not from Infantry. And why can't a General who has commanded a Corps in Leh cannot command the Northern Command ? What kind of warped logic is that? Mandalisation all the way , and the sufferer in the end will be the Army and the nation.

@ Yogi - wake up & smell the coffee. However much you can rankle at the armoured corps , you can't wish it away friend; it's the arm arm of decision. Still chafed at not having got your choice when you were a cadet? Grow up !

Anonymous said...

An armoured corps officer pushing the case of his arm in the guise of being a journalist. The implied ideas of Colonel Ajai Shukla (ex-armoured corps) that its only the armoured corps and the mechanised infantry that produce competent Brigadiers and Major Generals is laughable.

Anonymous said...

If promotions are truely based on merit, then there is no need or pro-rata. Though I am not a statistician, that branch of math predicts that if there is no interference from out-side forces, and time is allowed, the ratios will be in proportion to their representation. It's not like the one group has smarter folks than the others. Therefore eventually a general will be named from all, but only if there were no corruption (including polical pressures). Pro-rata seems to be designed to minimize the effects of bad practices, however, in my opinion, pro-rata is a bad practice in it's self. What we really need is a fairness in the process by minimizing political and corruption related influences. Pro-rata unfairly denies someone an opportunity in the name of fairness. That's the hight of dumbness.

Anonymous said...

There is a new-found optimism amongst the Gunners & the infantry which has spawned a saying 'that as long as you pay your Mess bills in time, the pro-rata genie will make a mediocre Lt Col to a Higher Command Colonel and an ordinary plane Jane Colonel to a stuttering Brigadier'. This pro-rata Mandalisation starts early - vacancies for the DSSC and advanced career courses are distributed amongst arms & services based on pro-rata basis. So if the infantry and artillery can only survive and thrive based on this perverse form of 'affirmative action' so be it. The Army as a whole is a loser.

There is a old jungle saying in the Army that to succeed professionally as well as administratively, one needs an Armoured Corps IO (Initiating Officer) for appraisals ands a Gurkha sahayak for administrative excellence & comfort. It has an earthy ring of truth to it.

Lastly is this hogwash the infantry dispenses about being combat-tested and 'forever-in-field' on counter-insurgency or LC or High-Altitude deployment. The culture of sahayak misuse, extravagant diversion of combatant manpower including sahayaks to separated families and retired Generals is a distinct infantry gift. One needs to audit the Supply & Services (S&S) funds expenditure Army-wide, especially amongst infantry battalions on the LC and in high-altitude to realise the corruption and wastage of precious Govt funds. Add to that the infantry battalions and formations mismanaging extravagant funding of Birder Area Devp and Operation Sadbhavana Programmes. Post the ceasefire on the LC, most infantry battalions are holding posts with barely 50% of the mandated strength. The missing manpower is enslaved on mundane personal administrative duties earning the concerned CO vital brownie points and/or breathing space. For those who doubt this read one of Broadsword's previous blog 'Wake Up Generals' celebrating General Bikram's administrative pursuits on elevation as COAS. And the Army's not formally (or informally) denied that till date.

Mediocrity is in - let's celebrate it until or ass is kicked in a future conflict like it was in 1962, Sri Lanka, Nagaland and the current pot-boiler in J&K which is a huge golden goose for the infantry in particular - the allowances, awards, spoils and riches are in perpetual abundance notwithstanding their self proclaimed expertise in tackling counter-insurgency.

Anonymous said...

Incidentally, have any of you visited the well-publicised Central Command administered Internet web site http://www.SuryaHopes.in ?

it's an appalling embarrassment! It's nothing to do with rescue or relief ! In fact it is a Headquarters Central Command farewell web photo album for the dashing omnipotent and omnipresent Army Commander who graces every frame as off in a election campaign.

I could go on.... and run out of words to describe all that is wrong with the effort. Its a pity that this country and its swooning millions forgive this bizarre self-promotion by a uniformed 'celebrity'.

Anonymous said...

where he successfully handled the recent Chinese intrusion in Daulat Beg Oldi...Did you mean it sarcastically?

Anonymous said...

A man who became the Chief under a cloud can hardly be expected to do better !

The Armoured Coprs has always suffered at the hands of the Pongos.

One can only feel sorry for these stalwarts who were responsible for the Humiliation of Kargil .

Good luck to them - they need it.

Anonymous said...

Dear Mr Shukla
a very good article but waht you have missed to cover is that the pra rata is already in place and is affecting all arm/services less infantry/artillery very badly as there has been a drastic reduction in their vacancies for Colonels rank. Bright officers which form the cream are being overlooked whereas mediocre/average officers of infantry/artillery are making it. Quality of leadership in coming years is highly questionable.

Anonymous said...

Primarilyall the comments fall under thre categories : Fistly the armoured corps and Mech Infantry chaps - unable to digest the fact that they are no longer 'God's left b@ll' so are raking all and irrelvant points like sahayaks etc, Secondly the service corps chaps, crying about how unfairly they are being treated forgetting the case of Lt Gen Kaul during the 1962 war and lastly from the Infantry/Artillery, smug with the knowledge that for the foreseeable future we will be getting our due.

So ..... keep cribbing but like its said '..........stood silently with victory at his feet'.

Anonymous said...

There are many commentators here who are spewing venom without looking at the color of their own collars...

Forgetting tanks running om expensive fuel in the garages .. soda factories in unit lines and soldiers running farm lands... mutinies and what not..

better stop stooping so low..

Vikram Karve said...

Is this pro-rata "quota system" officially promulgated by the government or is just being unofficially implemented "in-house"?
In today's modern technology driven world, when distinction between "arms" and "services" will get blurred, officers of all branches must have equal opportunity for all senior posts.
Also, when you cross Colonel's rank, don't you become a general service officer and lose your arm, service and regimental affiliation?

Yogi said...

Anonymous@14.52
Kya GUmnami ki jindgi jite ho or merit ki baat karte ho! Being meritorious means being upfront, upright, uncompromising and untiring in quest for justice. And, justice means `level playing field. And, level playing field will always result in the ratios will be in proportion to their representation that is what statistics, the branch of math predicts that if there is no interference from out-side forces, and time is allowed (to paraphrase what has been earlier said by another anonymous@ 18.54.

Actually the debate should start from an accepted definition of merit, as applicable to an Army Leader. So let us first define merit.

Anonymous said...

Merit in India is determined by birth and in Indian Army it is determined by the Arms you get commissioned into. Mud Corps is the meritorious like Brahmins - that is how the argument goes. Rest all have to be OBC, scheduled castes and tribal devoid of any merit. specially since they are in majority they can not be meritorious and do not deserve promotions.

That is a pet Shukla like argument

Anonymous said...

Tankman Ajay Shukla who spent his entire career in Jhansi, Babina, Jodhpur and Ambala acquiring "military merit" wish his ilk to be the sole meritorious candidates to be Generals of IA which is spread in NE, J&K, Himalayas and where not? Tanks and IFVs are relevant only to 1/5 th of Indian Military machine and terrain. IA should gladly give 1/7th of their share.

Anonymous said...

you said:

Is this pro-rata "quota system" officially promulgated by the government or is just being unofficially implemented "in-house"?
In today's modern technology driven world, when distinction between "arms" and "services" will get blurred, officers of all branches must have equal opportunity for all senior posts.
Also, when you cross Colonel's rank, don't you become a general service officer and lose your arm, service and regimental affiliation?


Agreed. All positions from Brig rank onwards must be opened to all and there should not be any Corps vacancies.

Why cannot a Brig of AC be DDST, DDEME, OR hold appointment of Brig Ordinance ? What is so special about these post? Why can not be an Infantry officer commend an Artillery Brigade ?

Some want to have the cake and eat it too !

Ghope-Nikal, Kharhe-Kharhe Kadam Taal said...

The battle between merit and pro-rata kicks-in at the IMA and OTA itself during allotment of arms to passing-out GCs as evident in the inter-se distribution of vacancies to various arms and services based on relative merit. For example if 'X' number of 'super-block' merit holders opt for a particular arm, these vacancies are automatically deducted from those otherwise allotted to the higher merit blocks. This form of moderation of merit is adopted to ensure an even distribution of merit across arms and services for each passing out course. I don't know whether it has ever been reviewed or modified but it appears to have served its purpose. And, eventually, it is the passing-out order of merit in its IC Number form that decides ultimate seniority amongst peers. So if it is indeed merit that decides inter-se seniority on passing out, why resort to pro-rata later - give each GC what he wants in terms of choice of arms or service.

Apropos above, if merit is being distributed evenly, atleast amongst the arms, then there is no rationale for pro-rata; and especially so beyond unit command (Colonel rank). That infantry and artillery Chiefs have done so, and gotten away with it, stinks. They have distorted the promotional structure for very, very petty reasons.

The infantry especially must admit to poor cadre grooming and management. They milk other arms and services for inducting subalterns on the ubiquitous cross-attachment, especially so in 'field' or for high altitude and counter-insurgency tenures. It goes almost without saying that a significant part of an infantry battalion's successes - operational or administrative - are attributable to very spirited junior leadership provided by subalterns on cross-attachment. Ditto for RR battalions where an all-arms mix helps hone the operational edge. Armoured Corps does not rely on cross-attached officers from the infantry for professional sustenance; these officers come prepared for a peaceful, family tenure rather than a useful professional exposure.

Therefore the pro-rata system of affirmative action must cease from the time Colonels are screened for career progression courses like Higher Command and their equivalent. In any case, its about time that these courses were kept exclusively for the development of the General Cadre. It's quite bizarre that officers from the AD, Engineers, Artillery, Services including AMC attend HC / HDMC when they will never be employed in command of regular formations. It makes eminent sense for the parent arms and services to run specialised courses to train their cadre for higher responsibility within their parent arm or service.

Lastly is the aspect of significant bias against the mounted arms - armoured corps and mechanised infantry. The bias was born as a result of numerous circumstantial and professional factors:-

1. Bitterness arising from 'missing the cut' during allotment of arms on passing-out from IMA / OTA for commissioning to the armoured corps in particular.

2. Envy, bordering on contempt, generated by the vibrant professional and social culture that marked armoured regiments and formations.

3. The persona associated with cavalry officers of being professionally and socially ebullient was systematically distorted to project them as conceited and superfluous.

4. A mistaken and perverse perception of inflated appraisal culture in the armoured corps that threatens the infantry and the artillery in an ACR-based quantitative merit regime.

Contd ....

Ghope-Nikaal, Kharhe-Kharhe Kadam Taal said...

.... Contd

The infantry, or for that matter other 'arms' (given its incestuous relationship with the infantry, the artillery thinks of itself as a 'teeth' arm now), get more than their due for their field (combat ?) tenures. Preferential family accommodation priority, allowances, foreign postings, honours and awards are a de-facto infantry domain from which they have shut out everyone else to a miniscule symbolic representation.

Officers from the armoured corps and other mounted arms attend the infantry-oriented and infantry-dominated 'all-arms' JC course and match the infantry professionally. Yet the infantry, as also the artillery, continue to allot vacancies at DSSC and TSOC courses based on pro-rata basis. Evidently, these two arms remain convinced that their officers cannot match officers from other arms professionally.

The result is a downward spiral wherein professional merit is swept aside by 'affirmative-action' such as pro-rata promotions beyond Colonel rank. The increasing number of professionally-challenged, tongue-tied infantry (and artillery) flag-rank officers who appear on electronic media are testimony to this decadent and corrosive policy. Finally, if the infantry-dominated commanders of units and formations have been unable to sort out militancy in J&K or in the North-East all these years, it is absurd for the infantry to cite perpetual field and counter-insurgency tenures as a rationale for professional eminence under the garb or pro-rata.

spanner50 said...

Firstly, this merit issue needs to be examined thoroughly. What establishes merit?

The appraisal system in the armed forces has suffered from flawed design and implememntation from the word go. It is a totally subjective and non-transparent process and tying one's faith to the arbitrary benchmarks such a system throws up is not a totally rational way to manage and administer HRD.

More often than not, it's a question of whom the reporting Officer 'likes' and whom he doesn't while raising an appraisal report. All the individual parameters of appraisal then can be 'worked out' in a bizarre process of HRD reverse-engineering.

That said, the pro-rata system may further compound the situation. Friends in the Indian Air Force narrate how, even as early as the mid and early 90s, this pro-rata matter was heavily tilted against the ground duty branches in that Service.

More than that, even at the stage of promotion to Wg Cdr, the existing vacancies of technical branch would be 'hijacked' through some process of 'vacancy transfer' at the time of promotion boards in order to accommodate Officers of the predominant branch. This would be something on the lines of 'Super Pro-Rata', where after exhausting one's own already inflated 'quota' of vacancies, other's share could be preyed upon.

The AV Singh Committee did provide some relief from such predatory and capricious practice, but it was not enough.

No matter which way one looks at it, this pro-rata and merit debate will remain surrounded in mists of ambiguity. App[raisals, Merit and Promotions in the armed forces will always remain a grey area till concepts such as enlightened Total Quality, with it's requisite transparency and overview structures, get a firmer toe-hold in the HRD processes relating to armed forces.

Anonymous said...

Finally, if the infantry-dominated commanders of units and formations have been unable to sort out militancy in J&K or in the North-East all these years, it is absurd for the infantry to cite perpetual field and counter-insurgency tenures as a rationale for professional eminence under the garb or pro-rata.

In the end you did show how much knowledgeable and professional you are (probably from Mud Corps : from the Punjab plains and deserts of Rajasthan) who thinks it is for infantry to do away insurgency !

Do not expose your corps so much... remain on those tanks which would never run but in models and charts... leave aside combat activities...

Anonymous said...

@
Anonymous Ghope-Nikal, Kharhe-Kharhe Kadam Taal

Is this is the opinion of an Mud Corps officer about Infantry and if Mud Corps senior officers carry that narcissist love about Mud Corps and hatred for Infantry, Artillery and as a matter a habit for all others, imagine where will the Army land up..

I am sure Shukla and other Mud Corps officer are blinded not to realize the consequences of it..

You know where will it end ?? Signs are not good. One can fight for his share and not for the loot..

Anonymous said...

Just to be clear I am not int the armed services but follow this blog in general.

It is ridiculous for anyone to support pro-rata based promotion. No one in their sane mind can say that such a system is fair. If there has been a problem where infantry or artillery guys have been under-presented earlier then those issues need to be addressed separately.

No argument can be made which supports pro-rata based promotions and the best interest of the army.

Ghope-Nikaal, Kharhe-Kharhe Kadam Taal said...

Apropos my previous comments against the pro-rata system and the unabashed infantry-artillery nexus in perpetuating the practice despite its obvious pitfalls.

At no point have I tried to disgrace or denigrate the infantry or the artillery as an arm (or supporting arm). I have merely highlighted the flawed professional (and aspirational) culture that has taken root in these two arms especially, resulting in a disproportionately small number of officers from the two arms making it to flag-rank. This ideally should have stimulated introspection and corrective actions - that's the mark of a professional entity. Instead, both the arms sought to correct the 'perceived anomaly' using affirmative action by forcing through the pro-rata policy. As a result of the same, if you see the past ten years record, there has been an alarming upsurge in the number of cases of criminal and moral turpitude involving flag-rank officers almost entirely from the artillery and infantry. We have the sordid sagas of booze-brigadiers, ketchup-colonels , Lt Gens Avadesh Prakash and P K Rath as also Lt Gen Jatinder Singh (ex-Commandant NDA) and numerous false or staged-encounter killings that are under investigation. The reputations of Gen Vij (ex-COAS) for financial misappropriation and then Gen Deepak Kapoor and his cronies for buying flats in the Adarsh Housing Society are open secrets. Paradoxically, Gen V K Singh's legal battles against the System were indirectly symptomatic of this malaise of quotas and nepotism.

The point I am making is simple - pro-rata upto Colonel's rank is defensible because we want the best officers commanding units of the Army. Therefore the number of Colonels must be tied to the number of command vacancies. Pro-rata selection processes should end here and not extend to quota-based selection for career courses or higher (flag) ranks and appointments.

If the infantry, and its combat cronies like the artillery, is employed perpetually in field conditions or in counter-insurgency or in high-altitude then they are being compensated for it in many ways - allowances, postings, priority accommodation, honours and awards, and what have you. A field tenure is a mandatory requirement for a UN tenure - why so beguiles me but it is thus because the infantry says so.

The armoured corps and the mechanised infantry have managed to develop and nurture an ethos of professional and social 'ebullience' (for want of a more descriptive phrase) that encourages them to be more forthright, gracious and assured in all that they do. This confidence is misinterpreted as brashness by the ironclad-discipline infantry, not to mention the obvious envy directed at the mounted fraternity. For the record, the Armoured Corps writes-off more Lieutenant Colonels and Colonels in ACRs earned within the Corps than any other arm - notwithstanding the Artillery culture of 'cut-throats' and 'lanyard-stranglers'. This 'culling' represents an inherently self-cleansing and self-correcting culture that promotes merit above all other considerations.

I conclude by reiterating the fact that let us not get swayed by lanyard and beret colours (and shapes) to berate one arm against the other. As a professional Army we need mature and comprehensive HRD practices to retain and promote the best men for the corresponding jobs.

After all, it did take an Armoured Corps COAS to decide on raising Rashtriya Rifles, increase the number and employment of TA battalions, institute several Army-wide welfare measures such as the AWES etc.

Anonymous said...

Another retrograde step..............why officers in army need reservation for promotion ....... while it is still considered a taboo on civil street.......if you need a quota for promotion , it means you are not competent.........an incompetent leader ......recipe for disaster......... and failure of generals of other arms to protect the interest of officers of their own arm. Disgraceful indeed

Anonymous said...

One wants to scrounge upon the other's share with the mistaken belief that he is more meritorious. It is the famous "Whiteman's Burdon" of civilizing the uncivilized Indians. Similarly the mounted corps want to professionalize and civilize the Artillery and of all the Arms, the Infantry from which they run into the mounted Corps during their commission.

Hilarious and interesting ?

All the best to you guys. Someone has to stop your plunders...

@ConceredAboutIndianArmysFuture said...

Well Sir,
Firstly, I agree with you that pro-rata is not going to do much good for the org.
Now, I disagree with your subtle hinting at the competence of armd corps offrs - please interact with young offrs of today and you'll realise just how BAD our intake has become - ACROSS THE BOARD, into the armd corps, the inf & all other arms.
Having said that - it's time we left our petty affiliations behind while suggesting measures to better this org we so love.
As far as Gen Chait is concerned, one search on "google news" is enough to see through the motives of this gentlemen.
I have said enough. I am from the Infantry. I am a third-generation officer and fouth-generation in the indian army.