The armed forces are unhappy with reports of senior political and bureaucratic officials in the government putting down the comments of former Indian Air Force (IAF) chief Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major and other senior officers of the uniformed services as overstepping their brief, regarding threat perceptions from India’s neighbor’s China and Pakistan.
“We are after all, the custodians of these border areas. We are the guardians. If there is indeed a threat, why should it be swept under the carpet,” said one senior officer.
“There needs to be understanding and acceptance of the ground realities and planning for the foreseeable threats that are only too apparent. Aren’t the armed forces part of the policy-making framework?” he asks.
“If the facts say there is indeed force accretion in those areas and increased preparation and force modernization, then why try and hide it. Instead, this is also necessary for perception management,” he says.
“Why shouldn’t the armed forces have their say? In the existing security scenario, there is all the more reason for speaking out when required. The problem is that our strategic and diplomatic affairs are being handled in an environment of institutionalized timidity. We can’t run for cover just because of editorials in Chinese newspapers and reactions by the Chinese Foreign Ministry. We need to be confident and speak up with the right message at the right time,” he argues.