Stop “Mandalising” the military - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Monday 8 July 2013

Stop “Mandalising” the military

Lt Gen Anil Chait, a high-profile casualty of the extension of pro rata to major general rank

by Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 9th July 13

Promotion politics within the army is dividing a tight-knit fraternity. That was evident from the bitterly polarized responses to my recent report in this newspaper (July 2, “Top Army commanders shifted”) on the reshuffle of the army’s theatre commanders, the seven powerful generals who head the regional commands. That reshuffle sidelined an outspoken general who opposed the army chief’s ill-advised new promotion policy, which would have major generals selected on the basis of quotas reserved for each arm, rather than on merit alone.  

This retrograde move, which could yet be shot down, needs explanation. An “arm”, in this context, is a component of the army that is distinguished by its function. For example, the armoured corps fights in tanks, the artillery operates long-range howitzers and guns, the signals provide the voice and data links, the engineers bridge rivers and breech minefields, while the infantry --- the most numerous arm --- comprises of foot soldiers (except for the mechanized infantry, now a separate arm, which moves on the battlefield in armoured vehicles). Each arm performs a crucial battlefield function, but its officers are trained to understand the battlefield in its entirety. That is why the army’s “general cadre” --- officers of the rank of brigadiers, major generals, lieutenant generals, and the apex of the pyramid, the army chief himself --- has always been selected from these arms based on merit, not reserved vacancies.

This time tested system goes back to the late 19th century when the militaristic Prussian monarch, Frederick the Great, demonstrated the battlefield superiority of generals chosen on merit over those selected on the basis of influence and privilege. The British armed forces, from which we inherited our military tradition, select their generals on merit alone.

Over the last decade, this system has been subverted by the notion of reservations for each arm, authored by an unbroken succession of army chiefs from the two largest arms, infantry and artillery ---- Gen NC Vij (infantry); Gen S Padmanabhan (artillery); Gen JJ Singh (infantry); Gen Deepak Kapoor (artillery); Gen VK Singh (infantry); and now Gen Bikram Singh (infantry). Employing the innocuous rubric of “pro rata” promotion, vacancies at the rank of brigadier were reserved for each arm according to its numerical strength, ensuring that most brigadier vacancies were reserved for the infantry and artillery.  Now Gen Bikram Singh wants to extend this to the next higher rank as well --- that of major general.

These chiefs have so far managed to get away with this. Unlike other organisations, the army has no clear-cut promotion manual where selection criteria are written in stone. Instead, army promotion policies exist in the form of multiple “policy letters”, with each army chief issuing fresh amendments to benefit his constituencies --- usually his arm, but equally other interests. For decades, MoD officials have acquiesced in this fiddling because allowing the generals to muddy the waters lets the bureaucrats and politicians fish in those waters too.

Now pro rata promotion is creeping in. When pro rata was introduced for brigadier rank a decade ago, the policy letter promised a review of the policy later. Today, with no review having been done, a fresh policy letter seeks to extend pro rata to major general rank. The MoD can veto this policy; but has chosen to enjoy the spectacle. It has endorsed the army chief’s side lining of the army commander who steadfastly opposed pro rata. The Central Army Commander, Lieutenant General Anil Chait, who has been kicked upstairs, can only watch powerlessly from the backwaters of the Integrated Defence Staff.

While there is a powerful social justice argument for reservations in education and employment for the marginalized scheduled casts/tribes and other backward classes, pro rata in the military has no such rationale. It is designed to benefit the most influential sections of the army --- the infantry and the artillery --- which produce the most generals and almost all the army chiefs. It is mystifying why generals from these dominant arms --- who quite openly disparage SC/ST and OBC reservations --- are being allowed to push reservations within the army.

That they are doing so suggests a lurking insecurity, which stems from the fact that other arms --- notably the armoured corps and the mechanised infantry --- have produced more generals than their tiny numbers would suggest (though far less in absolute terms than the infantry and artillery). In the 1970s and 1980s, this was perceived to be because the best cadets at military academies opted to join those glamorous arms; and so the academies began allocating cadets equally across different arms. Thereafter, promotion fortunes have fluctuated randomly, which is how it should be. Sometimes there are more infantry brigadiers and generals; at other times the armoured corps garners a disproportionate share of vacancies. As long as merit and quality prevail, this is quite in order.

But the infantry and artillery want a guaranteed quota of vacancies through the myth that they serve in more operationally intense environments like J&K, while the others protect their careers in “sheltered” postings. In fact, officers from all arms serve on cross attachment with infantry units, the Rashtriya Rifles, and formations deployed in counter-insurgency operations and high-altitude areas. The credits obtained from these deployments already boost a promotion candidate’s profile when compared to a relatively mundane “peacetime” report, so reservations are a redundant benefit.

But the most dangerous fall-out of this preoccupation with counter-insurgency is the shift of focus from the army’s primary job --- warfighting. If counter-insurgency, not warfighting, becomes the primary vehicle of professional advancement, the military will be setting itself up for another traumatic defeat in war. Already there are signs of a “police mindset” --- with allegations of fake encounters, custodial killings and other unsavoury accusations that are associated more with the police than the army. It is time to re-focus on warfighting, and the meritocratic selection of commanders who can win a war.


  1. This is the constant theme of your blog...

    Well what about the culture of drinking single malt on grand stands. Running real state interests in the so called well established peace locations that the War fighters indulge into leads to merit.

    Combat experience as an edge is merit for military. Give that and not a single Mud Corps officer will make it.

    There is an established system of "adequately exercised" in ones role in the Army. Provide AC and Mech Infantry officers to be adequately exercised in AR, RR and Infantry battalions and see the fun. Other Arms and Services officers join the AR, RR or Infantry at relatively young age and service when they are not being assessed for further command as they are not being exercised as company commanders. Do not claim undue advantage of that. If an AC officer is adequately exercised in Infantry as company commander give him due advantage otherwise not.

    Merit in the Military is job specific and contextual and not free for all. That is why you have vacancies specific and special to Corps.

    Brigade and (even Divisions for that matter like Armored Division, Artillary divisions) are not All Arms Formations. Brigades are special to Corps formations. AC officers staking claims to command Infantry or Artillery Brigades is devoid of good arguments and merits. The requirements of merit demand that those formations be commanded by Special to Corps officers. AC officers staking their claims on mechanized formations would otherwise be absurd and bizarre to say the least.

    Combat edge must have some quantification to determine merits for war fighting rather than the quantity and quality of single malts being served in Mud Corps sand models and grand stands.

    You have very little case without defining "Merit" which simply rests on being born in AC.

  2. I dare say that the raison d'etre for all such moves is the deep seated inferiority complex that persists amongst the larger fraternity over the perceived intellectual and professional superiority of Armor and Mech Infantry....

  3. Its pure inferiority complex, jealousy and envy of the infantry and arty officers, who unfortunately rule the roost.. well the Indian Army is hurtling towards mediocrity and sub standards in all fields!!

  4. tiger can... act like a kitten... cat can't... tiger...

  5. Na Ghop Na Nikal, Bog down and Pichhe Chaal

    What is Merit?

    A merit system is the process of hiring and promoting people based on their ability to do their job. The earliest example of a merit system dates back to the Qin and Han dynasties...........[1] After the fall of the Han Dynasty, the nine-rank system was established during the Three Kingdoms period. The concept of a merit system spread from China to British India during the 17th century, and then into continental Europe and the United States...

    A common objection to the merit system is that it does not provide a comprehensive method of judging a candidate's abilities or predicting their future performance. This flaw often eliminates the most competent candidate for selection. Proponents of the system admit that the system does not always lead to the choice of most competent candidate but is effective in eliminating those most incompetent.[4] In addition the possible exclusion of most competent candidate is outweighed by the system's benefits such as limiting the ability of nepotism and political favoritism.

    According to Austrailian Public Serviced commission:
    Merit, ...... means that employment decisions should be based on an assessment of a person’s ability to do the job
    So merit is strictly not comparision of CR marks but assessment of a person's ability to do a job which is based on hie past experiences, his exposures, training and performances cumulatively.

    Genral Cadre In IA

    Starts at the level of Brigadiers but only to command Infantry Brigades !! Wow, is it Infantry Cadre or General Cadre? Is that Fair by any stretch of imagination that an Artillery officer commanding Artillery Brigade ceases to be General cadre but AC officer commanding AC formation continues to be General Cadre? Why not Mechanised formations, Arty Brigades etc are also given to Infantry officers? If one officer is general cadre, he should be able to command any given Brigade. Lack of Experience exists for AC and Arty brigadiers commanding Infantry formations. If it is acceptable why not inexperience on the part of Infantary brigadiers acceptable for Armoured Brigades and Artillery brigades.
    Who on earth ever says Infantry formation are not special to Corps formations. Mountain for Infatry brigades require previous experiences in those typical terrain and operational environments and experience in the verstile job infantry is required to undertake. Why the mechanised officer piss when posted to mountains or CI formations?
    How can a Mechanised or AC officer become experienced of commanding troops at Tawang without having ever served in high altitude areas. Just because he earned more marks in his CRs for blabbering and meeting peace time requirements of his boss. Where is merit in this? Keeping ones lips tight is a demerit as per one enlightened commentetor on your previous post !!

  6. Contd....Na Ghop Na Nikal, Bog Down and Piche Chal..

    Infantry is the Most Versatile, varied and Specialised Job.

    Infantry in India undertakes the most varied and multi specialised undertakings as comapred to AC and Mechanised elements who are constricted to a small sagement of the border and are more of trades than soldiers. Infantry constitues of Para troopers, mountain formations, desert formation, plain formations, amphibious tasks, heliborne tasks (mechanised units) motorised functions, Scouts etc. Infantry undertakes the most versatile and varied assignements in our context. It is another thing that time and again you use detogatory term like "foot soldiers" for them and stll blog about them day and night without shame. Suddenly one day an AC officers like you becomes eligible to command these troops without previously having any exposure to them except for being trained to command an infantry platoon in IMA and doing an academic course called JC. It is the only big meritorious claim for equality . What is their performances in RR and AR is well known to the environment. Unless an AC officer has been tested in the command of an AR , RR or Infantry battalion, he should not even think of aspiring to command an Infantry formation. That is what merit is all about and not the claim to being Arm or General Cadre who practices warfare only on sand models.

    What is required

    We need military leaders who fit the job or who are best suited for the appointment. Merit invariably must include those factors who are not part of CR such as Combat experience, field tenures, achievements in the combat, difficulties faced by the officer in his tenures, honors and awards etc. AC officers have had strong objections to it and did not allow Combat Edge to be quantified when every one who counted were Mud Corps.

    Pro -Rata
    Pro-rata is asking for one's legitimate share and not taking your share. Every one who gets commissioned in the Army has the right to do well and aspire for promotion. How can Infantry do well if they are doomed to vanish just because one is commissioned into infantry ? Organizational well being as a whole is and must be the aim of higher military leaders rather than ensuring only a miniscule group is assured Generalship due to protected and patronized environment. Merit is a comparative quality and there must be comparison between the conditions and circumstances of comparison. Comparisons between apples and oranges is not permitted. When a Colonel of AC and Infantry is made to appear for selection of Brigadier both do not posses equal degree of expertise and experience in selected fields. It is ridiculous to think that both have same merit except for their CR grading's. An Infantry officer when coming up for selection for a Brigadier has had minimum four to five field tenures and four to five types of terrain exposures besides minimum two staff exposures. Compare that with an AC officer who if lucky would have served only once on the staff of a RR formation / RR or AR battalions as a junior officer. Horses do not compare with helicopters or Everesters.


  7. Blogger ravin's musings said...
    I dare say that the raison d'etre for all such moves is the deep seated inferiority complex that persists amongst the larger fraternity over the perceived intellectual and professional superiority of Armor and Mech Infantry....

    Hilarious .. give an example of that superiority... 1948, 1965, 1971, SriLanka, Nagaland, Mizoram, Punjab, Assam, Kargil...

    Country and the Army need intellectual soldiers and not model makers...

    That much for your superiority..

  8. Dear Anonymous and Ravin's musings,I must say your comments to the post just prove what the author has intended to say...your comments reek of insecurity and inferiority...dare I ask if you both are Infantrymen! As a serving young 3rd gen offer having most of my family and extended family members not only in all arms of the army but in the other two services too, it goes without saying that the kind of professionalism that the AC and Mech Inf have, NO other arm even comes close! Just make an Inf and Mech Inf YO stand together and the stark difference is for all to see. Fact is, till date the cream of IMA and OTA opt for the AC and Mech Inf, however, as the author has pointed out, to balance things a mix of merit is sent to all the arms and correctly so, yet, the the AC and Mech Inf come out on top. Another sad but true fact is that most 'casualties' of GCs in the Academies go to the Inf. I will now give you an unbiased view, my father was commissioned almost four decades back into an elite and well decorated Inf battalion. Serving for 12yrs as an Infantryman, the bn was selected for conversion to Mech Inf, which he went on to command with distinction. Till date he remembers his Inf days fondly but swears by Mechanization... The best thing that could have happened to the Regt. Now with respect to your argument regarding AE for Mech Forces offrs whilst on Inf Att/AR/RR... The Inf is lucky that Mech Forces offrs finish their att by the time they are due for their AE! The records are for everyone to see! Mech Forces offrs perform much better than their Inf counterparts whilst on att. In terms of excellent performance appraisals as well as gallantry what's the silly argument about?in fact one particular RR bn in the valley affiliated to one of the Regts of the Mech Inf arm has done more than all RR bns put together! What do you Dayton that?? That units record is unparalleled and yes, they are officered by Mech Inf offrs and soldiered by Mech Inf troops. Your argument killed again. And why exactly should a MechForces offr be "Adequately Excercised" according to Inf norms/ops. that's not his job. Irrespective, he does it well and how!
    It's not going to be long when some wonky Inf/Arty Chief will make it mandatory for only Inf/Arty Lt Gens to make it to Chief...n that'll be the day! So, if u claim there's no insecurity, then let merit speak! Intellectual and professional superiority of the Mech Forces is not perceived but for all to see. Prorata is finishing off some excellent offrs while the junta is carried along because of their arm. So then tell me,what then is the difference between Reservation and Pro rata? I guess...the SCs and STs have their way in the Army too... Except they're called differently.
    So, then... Having Single malt whilst sitting in our grandstands? Why not I say??
    Bash on regardless!

  9. Shukla ji
    Kyoun? why this enimty against army? I hope you have nothing personal to settle by pitching armoured corps fraternity against other arms. Is somebody behind your agenda? To a civilian like me it appears to be a motivated campaign against one of our finest institutions in the country. I and my children continuously watched TV for days seeing army and airforce doing wonderful job in Uttrakhand.

    There are so many other issues needing attention of the country. A business newspaper should concentrate on bringing down the inflation rate and dollar rate which is affecting our daily lives. The Army has fine traditions and lets us leave the same to the organisation.

  10. why can't a larger debate and study be conducted by the MoD to resolve this impasse......and then adopt certain guidelines and rules. It would serve int he best interest of the country to have thinking generals, however the trust deficit which is leading to the isolation of the armed forces needs to be bridged and the initiative needs to come from the elected government.

  11. The Game is already started..
    We first came to know about it during Gen V K Singh's tenure the those will be picked and promoted who are trained in some other countries and developed CONTACTS?? in those countries. So that some other country can fight it's war (next world war) on India's soil with it happened in previous world wars..Europe,Russia,Japan,East Asia were devastated but for some other major players..their own soil was far away from war zone and Industrialists (The actual policy makers)were making money war effect at all on their soil.
    True recipe of industrial & financial growth & development is "Fight Your war,on some body else's soil" or "Keep the war away from your own soil"

  12. I find this debate gets side-tracked onto the issue of whether the infantry is "better" or the "mechanized infantry" or the "armoured corps".

    Come on, folks, you can argue about more relevant issues.

    The fact is that the infantry produces some wonderful officers, as do all the other arms.

    This article, as do all my other ones on this subject, simply argues for selecting the best from all arms. The concept of "reservations" works against choosing the best.

    And remember, reservations are a double-edged sword. Today, the armoured corps and mechanized infantry are losing out. Tomorrow, it could well be that excellent infantry officers miss the board while relative mediocrities from the armoured corps and mechanized infantry make it... because they have reservations too!!

  13. so mr anonymoous..
    u better remain so...because ur head will hang in shame when we bring out the truth of ur combat experience and decorations..half the SCs n SMs n Citaions are not even worth the paper on which they are written..I too hav 1 n how ur medal hungry infantry distributes some1 elses FRUIT is a saga in itself..
    n there z no average Inf YO cant even open his mouth infront of a mech Yo..u gguys are nothing but MOB..n SC/ST of the Indian Army..
    its amatter of tym..wen u ll b shown d door..INCOMPETENCE doesnt last brother..

  14. Most of the Trades Corps officer here admit / claim that when they serve with Infantry battalions / formations, with RR and AR which is predominantly infantry in young middle or matured period of their service, their performances are well acknowledged in appraisals or honors and awards.

    This acknowledgement only demonstrates two things:

    Firstly, Infantry units and formations provides officers and soldiers opportunities to prove their mettle, prove their worth and their efforts are recognized and well taken irrespective of the fact that the officers is from ASC, Horses or Infantry. Infantry is the place for soldiering and gaining some experiences even if it was Fake encountering as Shukla derogatorily says. A soldier who carries out fake encounter is far better than the one who has survived on home supplied ghee in Hissar and is perpetually on leave.

    Secondly, the admission proves that Infantry environment is impartial, non discriminating and congenial to all arms and services officers and recognizes their merits. I am afraid same is not the case with environment existing under Mud Corps and Muck Formations where the pointer on the sand model is asked to be held only by these Mud officers, being the final road to a nine pointer. The Armoured and Mech generals who have risen having served in Infantry formation is testimony of the impartillity and fairness of thei system and envirobment, which now is being vitiated by the likes of Shukla. On the contrary, It could be a death knell for other Arms officers particularly Infantry being posted in Muck environment not for their inefficiency but sheer prejudice against them. Well, the comments in this forum from Mud Corps and Muck formations prove this amply. Just look at the share hatred Shukla exhibits in describing the Infantry in derogatory terms.

    So far as medals not being worth the paper is concerned, it is part of the system and Muck / Mud Corps generals are part of that system. At least Infantry Generals do not hang on Tamagas for driving a tank on the sand dunes which is so prevalent for the other side.

    Think of those unsung heroes who are not medaled or recognized still the Infantry goes on and on. The system survives on them. And that is what precisely my point is . If one officer has taken part in an operation there is merit in this whether he is medaled or not disabled. If we as an organization do not recognize it, then why cry at the civilians, Babus and the Govt. Let us begin at home and recognizes merit of our soldiers and officers who gain at very darely.

    It is very unfortunate for some that even in 22nd Century 3/4 of the IA will comprise of Infantry particularly when there is paradigm shift in nature of threat to India from all those areas and terrain which needs Infantry and Artillery. Artillery can still be compensated by the third dimension but not Infantry. One can not change the terrain of the nation and outer areas of commitments. Infantry can be mechanized but Armored Units can never be infantry-cised. Gone are the days when mounted warriors finally fought on ground with their "Broadswords". The days are of Bog down and peeche chal..

  15. @Ben..

    Dear Ben,

    If you are cream of the IMA, why do not we straight way commission you as a Brigadiers..

    No controversies then..??

    if You were cream you should have opted of SF or Gorkhas or SIKH Li rather than for having khushi time in few select Cantt improving your handicap.... and driving tanks on models rather than into battle fields...

  16. @Broadsword

    Blogger Broadsword said...
    I find this debate gets side-tracked onto the issue of whether the infantry is "better" or the "mechanized infantry" or the "armoured corps".

    Well that is what you have been harping on since last two years that AC officers are God's own ......

    That sickening "mandalisation.." catch phrase speaks how sick you have gone

  17. @bleedingbadly...

    Bro keep bleeding in the interest of your sour wound...

    I have seen enough of your YOs and mine too... My Yos get the country proud by taking back tiger hill when your YOs are learning their trades..which would be never utilized.

  18. Hi I am a CIVILIAN

    But having a keen interest in Military Matters

    The Thing is that today TANKS have become so vulnerable to ATGMs and attack Copters and bombings done by Fighter planes

    Tanks have to be Protected by INFANTRYMEN who carry ATGMs and RPGs and other Land attack weapons

    Similarly BEFORE Armoured columns move in an area has to be well pounded by the Artillery

    So the Tanks have become so DEPENDENT on other Arms

    So How can Armoured Corps people claim SUPERIORITY

    And the thing is that in the Army there is a system of Continuos LEARNING and education ALL your Life

    So even if some Infantry and Artillery officers might lack in some knowledge and skills they can SURELY Learn everything with time

    Merit is NOT cast in Stone
    You can IMPROVE on a Daily Basis
    if you have the will

  19. @Na Ghop Na Nikal, Bog Down and Piche Chal

    How is it that you make the right argument that best officer should be chosen for a job (if infantry officers have better experience/merit) they should be chosen... and in the end you support pro-rata....

    ridiculous....The fact is the best institutions attract the best talent ....and the best talent tend to go to the most prestigious is a vicious cycle but is present schools/ best colleges/ best companies and even best countries (consider USA)

    Merit alone can be the only way to select the best candidate. The way merit is defined maybe wrong and then that needs to be addressed....but pro-rata is definitely the wrong approach.

  20. Army HQ (the MS Branch) must carry out a study to compare how AC or Mech Inf general rate an Infantry officer and vice versa...

    The institutional prejudices will be mind boggling..
    How come infantry officers in SW Command and Southern command rarely make it to NDC? Are the AC brigadiers posted their special as compared to Infantry Brigadiers.

    Then what is equal opportunities? If AC generals are not capable of evaluating Infantry officers fairly, then the concept of General cadre is worth it.

    We all know it that this malice and malpractice has been started in IA by The AC generals and when some corrective measures are being taken their paid mouthpiece in the name of journalism is misusing his freedom in raking up the Mud in his old habit ! AC officers and generals are using proxies and indulging in sabotage.

    Some have stooped down to name calling ?

    Where will it end and with what effects ..Shukla is aiming at some effects which might not necessarily be so and effects may be absolutely contrary to what Shukla expects.

    Shukla and people behind him are aiming at stalling the Move via MoD but the impact of such journalistic politics being played is not going to remain limited. The internal health of the organization is required to be set right and all rogue elements must be sorted out. The COAS and MoD must not give in before such politicking, blackmailing and misrepresentation of facts.

    I am sure IA has a COAS which Shukla is trying to take over on someone's else's behalf.

  21. One thing being harped on here is that insurgency experience is combat experience .......I find that hard to believe (I am not in armed forces)..

    If we are going to go to war with Pakistan or China then how are tactics intended to capture/kill few terrorist help? Can anybody here explain this to me...?

    Let me ask this way... had terroist not been in India, then it seems that infantry guys at best are firing guns or jumping from parachutes and strolling on the border for nightly walks....Armoured/artillery people atleast are handling sophisticated equipment... on that logic of infantry guy should ever make as a general upto 1990s (is that the case?)

    To be it seems the best general would ideally be one who has served in armoured/infantry/artillery and addition if possible also the navy and airforce...

    If fighting insurgencies/small battles are making better generals...then God help us..

    How would this play out in the Airforce? Does it means that if I fly sukhoi instead of migs I am better or maybe someone who has killed a few terrorist from a helicopter wins...

    Navy....I think catching Somali pirates should be the criteria....

  22. @anon 10 July 2013 11:54

    The whole argument of the meritorious and the best being chosen is being advanced from both the sides.

    The question is what is "best" and what is "merit"?

    Peace time officers are opposed to combat edge being accepted as merit. For them or in their arguments they emphasize that if they have no combat experiences it is not their fault. But the fact remains that they are combat inexperienced.

    Fine, but the system needs combat experienced commanders and Generals. At the same time the system can not totally suppress peace time soldiers and officers. and both can not at the same put into one basket.

    Both these groups are required to be separated and compared amongst their own set of officers. An Infantry officer with combat edge would get benefit as compared to another infantry officer without a combat edge. How does that effect AC or Mech ?

    Similarly let an armor corps officers be compared amongst themselves. This the result of incomparable set of parameters the system would like to adopt or why should an Infantry officer willingly go to Nagaland or Mizoram if there is no incentive for him or others. After all Army is being fed for combat and not polo riding.

  23. Contd...

    The basic problem as being harped upon by AC officers time and again is their false belief that they are better than others. On what account are they better than other Arms officers if some one may ask them? The result of this fallacy is that they all deserve to become Brigadiers and Generals at the cost of others by deliberately over rating and patronizing?

    That is simply ridiculous, devoid of logic and any substance.

    Hence for the betterment of the system, prorate is the best system to be adopted. Pro-rata means the system would be able to meet aspirations of maximum people within the parameters of comparative merit within a particular group.

    The argument that AC are meritorious due to their being higher in merit at IMA is most felicitous. If right the system needs to be corrected at later stages for the wound the system is inflicting on itself for allowing meritorious candidates only to be commissioned in AC as if AC is the one which is elite set. The system commissions officers for Combat and we all know that every one contributes to Combat and not only ( or rarely the AC) in real time.

    How can the system allow one set and type of officers to corner the majority of the vacancies on parameter of merits which have been manipulated by them ? Do not we know that this system of Merit based caste system was so badly manipulated by higher castes in India towards perpetuation and permanency?

    Tell me what did India achieve under that Brahmincal merits system which was manipulated from the very inception. Did we achieve world status. economic dominance, knowledge superiority. corruption free administration or betterment of society. Similarly AC merit system of ACR is manipulated which can be easily proved by carrying out a comparative study of CRs earned by these so called non functional elites. With those credentials why should they compare with Infantry system of ACR which is comparatively strict, objective and justifiable?

    In order to ensure the best officers from each Arm and Services are chosen for leadership in respective fields, pro rata is the best answer and solution to achieve organizational goals.

    I would like AC always represented even if the officer chosen is far worse than an infantry officer not chosen. After all organization requires all sorts of experiences and representation and not that there five Army Commanders from AC at one time of questionable caliber.

    Requirement of selection for Job is evaluation of likely future performance and not only past glory. Hence factors like experience in combat must get an edge. The consideration of age is another factor to meet this requirement. Maj Gens commanding Divisions are hardly All Arms requirements as a division is hardly an all Arms combination which is otherwise is a big requirement as Corps commander where all Arms employment really figures. Our system evolved is such. An infantry division would hardly be employing its horses independently. Some one from horses would have high jacked it ??

    Hence in order to nip this unwanted and undeserving frustration into the bud, the COAS and MoD must implement pro-rata up to Major Generals level.

    Who is Shukla to decide what constitutes merit ? The organization will decide it as per its requirement.

  24. ridiculous....The fact is the best institutions attract the best talent ....and the best talent tend to go to the most prestigious is a vicious cycle but is present schools/ best colleges/ best companies and even best countries (consider USA)

    again here the question is what is best ?

    Is NDA the best which attracts the best ?

    Is IMA the best which attracts the best ?

    So you mean the best amongst the worst?

    and what is the best about Mechanized forces ?
    Pay ? Perks ? facilities ? career progression ?? It is like all others.. nothing best in all these..

    We all know what is the best there which attracts influentails and merit holders.

    No field but Jammu or Ganganagar !
    No combat whatsoever !!
    Undeserved promotions and generalships !
    Good family life and education for Children !

    That is all about the best best !!

    Can you deny that ?

    Even Gurukuls never attracted the best but the most influential who could make it. so did Oxford, Cambridge or American universities. Those who could afford it !

    Your so called best do not produced IAS, IPS or other services whom you call the best !

  25. How is it that you make the right argument that best officer should be chosen for a job (if infantry officers have better experience/merit) they should be chosen... and in the end you support pro-rata....


    The second part of argument is supported because the first part of argument is not supported by the Mechanized people.. hence the need for pro - rata

  26. The second part of argument is supported because the first part of argument is not supported by the Mechanized people.. hence the need for pro - rata

    This is not correct... if Infantry generals could push pro-rata they could have pushed a better selection criteria rather than pro-rata...I am sure Mech would have opposed pro-rata and as per your argument they oppose chnage to merit system so what is the difference....

    Two wrongs do not make a right....and pro-rata is definetely wrong...

  27. and what is the best about Mechanized forces ?
    Pay ? Perks ? facilities ? career progression ?? It is like all others.. nothing best in all these..

    We all know what is the best there which attracts influentails and merit holders.

    No field but Jammu or Ganganagar !
    No combat whatsoever !!
    Undeserved promotions and generalships !
    Good family life and education for Children !

    That is all about the best best !!

    Can you deny that ?


    I cannot make head or tails of the argument here...simply ranting... you mean to say that the best in NDA choose AC due to peace time and better education for children?

    If yes then so what... if they are the best then they can choose what they want. Same argument applies when selecting generals...the best should be chosen is not the solution...

  28. Similarly AC merit system of ACR is manipulated which can be easily proved by carrying out a comparative study of CRs earned by these so called non functional elites. With those credentials why should they compare with Infantry system of ACR which is comparatively strict, objective and justifiable?


    these arguments are so messed are saying infantry has a better and more strict system of evaluating their officers...and take the moral high ground here.....

    And then use pro-rata (the moral low ground) to ensure infantry officers are made generals...

    Why couldn't the recent infantry generals fix the evaluation system rather than push for pro-rata?

  29. IMHO ,when the term "General officer" was coined by the British it was to signify that at that level of Maj Gen and upwards , the officer was a generalist ie he could either command a Corps/Div / Area ,hold a AHQ staff job or command an establishment like a Centre and School.

    Times have changed now with increased specialization starting at the lower levels and going up.Successive chiefs have tinkered with the promotion policy , Command/Staff bifurcation et al. Right or wrong, it has unfortunately led to this AC/MI and Inf standoff with claims and counter claims.

    From what i can make out of Ajai Shukla's very informative article is that with the COAS's new policy, now the cut for "General Officer" -the generalist as we know it, is being moved up to Lt Gen.

    The Army needs to have a consistent long term promotion policy -this business of each COAS leaving his chaap on the policy has to stop. Put out a pragmatic long term policy in place and have a 5yr moratorium on changes.This period is long enough to assess and address the short comings of the existing policy , new environmental threats and most important give the Army enough time to push for MOD approval.

    I also agree that the shifting around of Army Commanders was kinda senseless. But as I have said earlier in one of my comments on your blog,the COAS is giving a clear message -don't think as an Army Commander now u are a God and your job is secure. Cross the COAS and there is a beautiful little hole called the CIDS-CISC which you will be dropped into and forgotten.

    With this in mind , I would look forward to Ajai Shukla reporting on ensuing Army Commanders conferences.

  30. Sad state of affairs...After going through the comments i feel we don't need Pakistani or Chinese to fight... Hum aapas mein hi kafi hain... Toads fighting in a well

  31. No one can fight without the Infantry Armoured corps will flee the battle field if they do not see the infantry around them and what to talk of Mech. Inf they are worse then AC a by product give more importance to Paidal fauj at least they will go deep inside like they did in Bangladesh unlike AC who went only 14 kms in western sector incidentally i am a mech inf offr

  32. have you seen photograph of Anil Chait walking on his four and panting do you think he would be fit to command anywhere and who said AC they superior in intelligence and tactics first round and they would be inside own territory.
    I remember in 1971 when we as a combat group were being inducted into Pakistan in Shakargarh sector in line ahead formation almost 6 to 7 km long, a burst of MG and out of range RCL fire from the Pak Recce and support elements sent the whole Regiment reeling back into India almost the same distance while we the infantry men were left alone behind in the dust and haze of the melee.
    As if at was not enough next morning we hit a huge mine field and it took 24 hours for the mine trawls to come up having cleared the mine field by early evening the combat group fanned out a few kilometers and that the end of the end the war the so called Armoured and its deep thrust
    Similarly on the other side of the Basantar a Mock battle was painted and there were gallantry awards / medals galore Please repeat please let the infantry fight.
    How I wish if Infantry was leading and Armour following we would have at least invested Nainakot and captured Narowal.
    Oh! those coup de main forces and raison d'etre for all such moves of Armoured corps my unit would have danced in Zaffarwal (Pak)


  33. It seems officers of our army argue sensitive issues on narrow parochial loyalties than facts.

    Now it is not my point to denigrate anyone.But most officers have a very narrow base and they don"t make efforts to educate them on all matters military and national security even when they grow up in service.

    Let me be very outspoken.For all champions of arm wise vaccancies,who has given u the right to think that by serving in CI ops or any other theatre or scenario,u become eligible for becoming higher commanders and start handling matters as diverse as Doctrines,National Power,Force Projection,Procurements,Indigenisation etc.

    Dear sir's ,i hope u r aware of the differences of tactical,operational ,strategic levels and their respective leadership qualities. As far as gallantry awards are concerned,you are advised to go through the life history of the famous British General who was Bar to VC and sacked as div cdr on burma front.No offence meant,but it will amply bring out the leadership differenecs at various levels.

    Now the point i want to make is:leaders in any field metamorphose over years.And not everyone has the capability or inclination to the hard work.Having served as a coy cdr in sikkim will not make anyone fit to command formations against china.For that you have to read about china,their national policies,war doctrines,force levels,plans for future.And this comes with experience and will to learn and then translate it in some form for enhancement of our armed forces capabilities.

    And that is why sir's,only the wheat should become commanders of our army not chaff.Just because u belong to any particular arm and that may be anything should not translate in tangibles for higher military set up.And pl remember one thing this is not ur army,anyone's personal fiefdom.This is our army,this nations army ,funded by citizens money and most of us want best heads to run our great institutions.The stature of our nation is rising in the comity of nations,our institutions have to catch up ,and it can be done only by spotting,grooming and baptising our better lots.

    Some historical military facts to break your myths:-
    a) Skandgupta s/o Kumargupta vikramaditya(6th century ad) crossed hindukush mountains at the age of 16 and defeated the mighty hun army.Dear sir's,till 15 years he had never seen mountains,then how did he defeat the invincible huns????

    b) Alexander the great set foot out to conquer the world somewhere at 28 years of age.He had never been out of Greece before,then how did he capture mighty persia,syrian empire and threatened India?????

    c) Napolean ,the great became French emperor probably at the age of 35,fought some great battles of Austerlitz,Freedland and Jena by that time.He was in those times(19th century) a gunner,not seen infantry life.He was not even a french but Italian by birth.And by far he is considered best french general ever born and credited with french revolution and most modern things about France?????

    d) Gen Eisenhower,the supreme allied commander in the european theatre ,after command of the battalion had only done staff work.He commanded multinational forces with elan and later became american president.He had never been in politics.Sir's then how did he manage it?????????

    e) Gen Mc Arthur for a great part of his life before WWI was a sapper officer.Then where did he get the experience to become one of the finest exponents of military craft?????

    Now pl ponder over these few snippets with open mind(and of course heart) and then consider your view points.

    I will glad to get some honest,thought provoking rejoinders(no emotional out bursts please)

    Now finally my view point:
    For General Cadre(Brigadier and beyond for fighting fmn(and mind u arty bde ,engr bde are not these.Whosoever thinks they are ,pl go and revise ur basics)) army should pick best officers across all arms,support arms and may be services(????).

  34. It is not understood why such article has been written against the army third time in a row. The author deserves both pity and sympathy. It looks to me that he is suffering from some psychological problem and urgently requires mental treatment perhaps from the Army medicos, the organisation which he is repeatedly condemning. The nearest to his house would be army RR hospital. The next destination would be Agra if things do not show sign of improvement

  35. Common Ajai,
    Post some more stories quite some time now....i m literally bored now .... :)

    By d Way i do remember u posting a nice photo of urself on this blog holding a MSMC we have any updates on it ? Is it the carbine going to be used on our F_INSAS Programme ??

  36. You know a little history of Horses in India..

    Cavalary was never the Arm of decision for the British at least in Indian wars. At best they used to be employed for flank protection.

    Rajputs were very famous for light Cavalarry charges and so were Marathas and Sikhs but Coup de main was always delivered by the Infantry...

    Before Independence, there were three C-in_c from the Horses. In their zeal to promote their Horsemen, the starting pay of Sawar was made Rs 38 as against Rs 18 for an infantry Sepoy... Cavalries were made all angrej officer fauj ..shukla even thinks like it today

    There is a history of Horsemen indulging in upman-ship in India even before independence. Nothing new in this schizophrenia being exhibited now...


    Rawalpindi, August 8: Selection Board for promotion of Brigadiers to the rank of Major General for the year 2008 was held at General Headquarters on 8 August 2008. The Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani presided the Board. 26 Officers have been recommended for promotion to the rank of Major General by the Selection Board.
    The Officers recommended for promotion to the rank of Major General include Brigadier Shahid Hamid Khan, Armoured Corps, Brigadier Asif Nawaz Janjua, Armoured Corps, Brigadier Syed Traiq Nadeem, Artillery, Brigadier Muhammad Ijaz Chaudhry, Artillery, Brigadier Javaid Iqbal Nasar, Artillery, Brigadier Zahir Shah, Engineers, Brigadier Junaid Rehmat, Engineers, Brigadier Mohammad Azeem Asif, Engineers, Brigadier Muhammad Rafiq Sabir, Engineers, Brigadier Muhammad Khalid, Signals, Brigadier Muhammad Saeed Aleem, Infantry, Brigadier Wasim Sadiq, Infantry, Brigadier Naweed Zaman, Infantry, Brigadier Muhammad Nawaz, Infantry, Brigadier Raza Muhammad, Infantry, Brigadier Khawar Hanif, Infantry, Brigadier Maqsood Ahmad, Infantry, Brigadier Tanveer Ullah Khan, Aviation, Brigadier Niaz Kausar Sheikh, Army Services Corps, Brigadier Muhammad Shahid, Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Brigadier Obaid Bin Zakria, Electrical & Mechanical Engineers, Brigadier Zia Ullah Khan, Army Medical Corps, Brigadier Azhar Mahmud, Army Medical Corps, Brigadier Muhammad Hamid Akram, Army Medical Corps, Brigadier Asif Ali Khan, Army Medical Corps and Brigadier Suhaib Ahmad, Army Medical Corps.

    Chief of Army Staff, General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani presiding over the Promotion Board for Brigadier to Major General at General Headquarters on Friday. (8-08-2008)

    total of 650 brigadiers were put up for selection and 26 were promoted. what happens to the 624 who were superseded?.


    Pro Rata in Pakistan also... Ha Ha Ha

  38. @ConceredAboutIndianArmysFuture17 July 2013 at 03:46

    This is a well written article and I tend to agree with the author about the PRIMARY ROLE of the Army being WAR-FIGHTING, while the basis of modern 'pro rata' systems being COUNTER-INSURGENCY (police-like) tasks. This is a VERY valid argument. I am from the Infantry, incidentally.

  39. @ConceredAboutIndianArmysFuture17 July 2013 at 03:49

    Oh yes, and to add.. while the author seems to voice valid concerns - Lt Gen Anil Chait seems concerned only with becoming popular. Let's stick to 'realism' here. He's no great warrior.

  40. Lets have faith in the intrinsic fairness of the system...and not squabble over petty issues like promotions...let our Indian mentality to keep dividing on the basis of ever narrowing loyalties be away for the sake of nation.lets have an ops oriented well equipped and a hungry for fight force that is actually respected in the true professional sense.and we have everything to do it. but lets have faith in the system first.Did we join the forces to retire as flag rk offrs at all costs with plum govt assignment post retirement..or did we actually have something nobler and simple in mind. Even today finally nin empanelled offrs still go out of line of duty when treated with respect. No other org can give the kind of life that we have in forces. At the end of the day the brass on your uniform wont matter...but whether you gave the best years of your life towards a deeply satisfying,almost spiritual quest fired by the legacy of our national heroes earning the respect of those wonderful men...or licked your way to an empty and hollow top.Jai Hind

  41. Ben
    There are some fallacies that need to be cleared for people like you.
    1. Best Cadets at IMA going to AC? Pl check the stats and then talk.
    2. The RR bn that you talk about claims close to 300 kills, this year, pl be aware that 36 RR has more than 700, 22 more than 500 and so many of them. I quote only these two as they were both raised after the unit that u talk about.
    3. Now achievements, well the achievements of AC offrs are only seen in the Golf course or SMDs. I wonder if you are one of those?
    4.By the content of your argument, I agree that you are indeed a young offr, you certainly need to watch the grass grow a bit.

  42. Apropos comments by Ghope-Nikaal-xxx (I love that nom de guerre !)

    Firstly, let's clear one thing - Artillery is not a 'teeth arm'. One BC/OP, or eight of them for that matter, do not constitute the entire artillery regiment going into an assault or close combat with the enemy. They need to get off this high horse, their 100-gun concept fantasy notwithstanding. The Sappers are a 'teeth arm' - and deservingly so. It is not for nothing that Gunners were, and are, known as cut-throats because their professional outlook and prospects were limited. That they have swindled their way into reckoning by way of pro-rata is a credit to their cut-throat and survival abilities.

    The whole argument by infantry officers who have posted / commented on this blog is defensive and dumb. Contrary to their inane ramblings and rants, nobody has claimed that armoured corps or mechanised officers are BETTER. The mix-and-match of merit is rationslised amongst arms (and services too) while allotment of arms at IMA & OTA. Goodness, merit or a lack of both is spread all-round.

    It is but axiomatic that the professional horizons and social graces of an officer from the mounted fraternity are 'superior' to those from the infantry and elsewhere. The reasons for this 'superiority' lie in the professional ethos and social grooming that exists in units of the mounted arms. It is for this reason that an ordinary GC commissioned into aarmoured regiment or mechanised inf unit soon blooms into an articulate and capable youngster. Despite the infantry being 'forever in combat' they have failed to develop a professional ethos that nurtures proud and competent infantry 'professionals' - if they did there would be no pro-rata. That the mounted arms have developed and institutionalized a professional culture despite being 'forever in peace' is a primary grouse held against them. There is no hiding the professional prestige attached by infantry officers posted to armoured / mechanised formation HQs and mounted units - any such exposure is an embellishment on the CV of the fortunate infantrymen. Armoured corps officers do not reciprocate such sentiments on joining infantry formation HQs or units; for them it is a retrograde exposure. Ditto for officers from mounted arms who command an infantry complement - infantry considers it a blessing vis.a.vis serving under one of their own.

    Before I close I must add that almost every military reverse suffered by the Indian Army in counter-insurgency or regular combat has an infantry contribution. Almost 70% of the LC is dominated by Paki posts that the infantry has never had the gall or the pluck to take or retain, we needed the Nagas to agree to a ceasefire to catch our breath in CI operations in the NE, J&K is still simmering despite years of 'battle-hardened' infantry running the show as far as CI operations are concerned; Kargil epitomised the results of false reporting and ghost patrolling which is a distinctly infantry charter; Sri Lanka was a feather in the infantry's cap ! 1965 and 1971 were a bounty all around for false claims, stage-managed awards and false bravado. Those who participated probably know better - armoured corps, infantry as well as artillery.

    The sole plea of officers of the mounted arms is to be compared professionally with their infantry counterparts, man for man, on common selection criteria and let the better man prevail. Pro-rata is the infantry's way of admitting a professional inferiority with respect to the mounted arms and hence deserving of protection under the guise of 'sheltered promotional avenues' and 'assured career progression' beyond their league.


  43. @Gabbar

    I can see the froth on your mouth. Suffice to say that....

    If such a diverse country as ours still remains to be one today, it is partly kind courtesy Infantry and their sacrifices. You have only enjoyed military benefits accruing out of that in pay, perks, prestige or whatever.

    Your utterances reflects on how parochially the mounted Corps officers are brought up. Nothing more nothing less. Do read your comments time and again. The Mud and Much. There is no élan in those

  44. Ghope Nikaal, Kharhe Kharhe Kadam Taal20 July 2013 at 04:27

    @Anonymous at 08:40 20 July 2013

    The infantry's held the country together ? Hah ! Man, that helped my constipation...

    While I am not a mounted corps guy, I know how much the infantry (and sister Artillery) hate the Mud Corps for its ethos and elan. You can't stand the unshaped berets, the black overalls, the blue patrols, the sound of a tank (that gives you the loosies) or the giant arrows on a sand model. You can't understand the fact that mounted soldiers don't get tied down by meters and feet and degrees and the magical 'aam rukh'. The directive style of command followed in the armoured corps and the mechanized infantry defies the infantry's anklet-and-pouch constrained rigor mortis standards of discipline.

    There are quite a few remarkable officers at every rank in the infantry - and probably outnumber those similarly blessed in the Mud Corps and Muck Inf - but they are culled within the infantry for breaking the mould. It is the infantry officers who go around unabashedly justifying their ignorance of matters professional or other worldly pursuits by dumbly stating that "I'm an infantryman, so please don't bog me down with technicalities..." It is a standard excuse which has been raised to an art form by the wily amongst the Pongos by stating that their inherent simplicity (read dumbness) enables them to point all troops at the objective and then say shoo....

    Ahhhh yes, there's somebody in one of the comments stating that 35 RR has knocked-off 300 'kills' alone last year or this year or whatever. Forget about porters being knocked-off as terrorists, I have seen it on ground as to how the infantry gets its 'kills' - by paying double-dealing informants from the MI fund to lead the infantry to 'suspect hideouts' or mislead and guide a group of potential surrenderees into fail-safe ambushes. When the infantry was tested - in Nagaland, Sri Lanka, in J&K or Kargil - it was found wanting. In Kargil alone the number of incidents where COs were replaced for questioning orders or Company Commanders refusing to lead suicidal assaults, was a revelation. And then of course is this recent business of beheadings on the LC. The infantry chose to cry foul rather than reciprocate in kind - after having initiated the entire fiasco.

    So my friend, Anonymous, it is an attitude problem that is corroding infantry minds. There are great minds amongst your tribe who are upright, articulate, classy, gracious and stand tall - yet such promising professionals are buried without a second thought almost because they represent the mounted corps ethos. Similarly the Mud Corps and Muck Inf have enough black sheep - professionally and morally - to raise a new arm.

    What is great is that as Indians we focus on the worst traits and characteristics in the other person or group or sect or whatever that divides us, and chip away and gnaw at perceived flaws without noticing the good stuff that ought to be nurtured or emulated. From this stinking mentality-morass come most of our Higher Command Colonels, NDC Brigadiers and pro-rata champion Generals.

    May God bless the Indian Army.

  45. Izzat Zero IQ Balls20 July 2013 at 10:33


    Much as I want to avoid stripping the proponents of pro-rata bare naked in public, I hesitate to stoop to their level. Comments on this blog post as well as the preceding one have degenerated to a slugfest between the Mud Corps / Muck Inf versus foot-infantry and its complements.

    I genuinely feel that it is the infantry that has held the growth and professional horizons of our Army back. So bogged down is the infantry in orthodoxy and fail-safe ethos that it abhors and penalizes military talent and intellectualism in all forms. Why even the Special Selection Boards are held after the dates of birth are first screened to weed out potential CsOAS who are not on some favoured list of courtiers.

    Has General Bikram Singh got rid of (or regularised) the Mughalisque retinue of cooks, waiters, dhobis and masalchis after BroadSword's expose on 'Wake Up Generals' ? Probably not. Why even long-since-retired ex-COAS Gen V P Malik has a retinue of combatants attached as sahayaks. They are not security as he is not on any risk list so don't feed us that BS.

    Can anyone recall a COAS from the Mud Corps who wrote off infantry interests or shamelessly promoted those of the mud corps ? Bipin Joshi ensured that inf gets a breather from CI / CT by raising RR to which all arms contribute. Gen V Sharma pulled out the inf from Operation PAWAN.

    And its the infantry which has proliferated a culture of rampant corruption in Assam Rifles. Today COs in ASSAM RIFLES brag about paying upwards of Rs 2 Lakhs per quarter up their reporting chain to get assured nomination to HC and HDMC. Infantry battalions inducting on UN missions are sordid examples of corrupt and ghost procurement procedures. DV Directorate in Army HQ could shed light on these numerous examples. As someone has already pointed out - infantry battalions make illicit funds by false S&S expenditure claims. And of course we have Messrs Vij, Rath, Avdesh Prakash and a dozen others who epitomise the fact that irrespective whether still waters run deep et cetra, 'shit floats' !

    The Artillery run a 'regimental' farm in the Terai and the land is registered in the names of numerous artillery units to beat the Land Ceiling Act. The farm makes at least Rs 60 Lakhs a year (after deducting running costs) and it all goes into Artillery Directorate funding their feasting and orgies. Not one penny is spent for the destitute, war-disabled or any noble cause. Those funds come from the CSD profits at Deolali or the AG's Branch. No wonder Deepak Kapoor wanted a flat in Adarsh with Vij as a neighbour and the numerous facilitator flag-rank infantry officers who applied for a share of the pie too.

    Name any Mud Corps General (or Brigadier) prosecuted for corruption in the last 10 years ?

    I rest my case.

  46. Dear @Anonymous (there are so many here i don't know which one of you clumsies am I referring to!)
    Please ref my post again before frothing off your mouth to reply to my comment (a classic case of 'foot n mouth' disease). Yet, for your benefit (your insecurity is getting the better of you!) i'll reiterate; FACT - Most GCs commissioned into the Inf are 'casualities' (I guess you are one too), so live with that, yes SF is an exception, but please don't get me started onto Para/SF culture. Rest of your comment doesn't deserve a reply of even two hoots n half a rat's buttocks!

    @Arjun , allow me to clear your 'fallacies' with respect to mine. Again, for your benefit, please ref my last post (and no, i am not referring to the Bugle call...oops, didn't get my dry humour?? Sorry, such humour is common among us 'Mud Corps/Muck Inf' lads!).
    Pl ref para 1 of your post, My last post reads thus, and i quote "Fact is, till date the cream of IMA and OTA opt for the AC and Mech Inf" Unquote. I never ever said "Best Cadets at IMA go to the AC". You said it! So, my point stands...and how!

    Ref Para 2 of your post. They say statistics are made up on the spot 90% of the time! (Hope you got this bit of humour!). Though i am not writing off your "kills" of other RR Bns, I was making a point to one particularly daft (I guess infantry) commentator who basically commented that AC/MI offrs suck at doing Inf work! Well, even for 300 kills (according to you), the achievement is pretty commendable (considering the fact, that RR Bn is run by Muck Inf chaps!).
    Pl ref para 3 of your said post. Doesn't even warrant/deserve a comment! YET, i will grant you the benefit of doubt (for the benefit of the entire 'ghop-nikaal' fraternity actually!). I am one of 'those' and proudly so! You forgot the single malt! I am proud of my men, my equipment, the grease, the muck, the dirt, my ethos, my regimental grooming, the sun, the sand, my sand models, my broad arrows, my pointers, my dunes, my mountains (yes! Mountains!) AND my war fighting skills (yes, WAR FIGHTING and not CI Police duties of which i can handle with equal amount of ease and generosity!)
    Now, pl ref para 4, yes, i am young! Is that a bother for your Infantry-narrow mindedness that a youngster gets to speak his heart and mind? I might have to watch the grass grow a bit for sure, but well, that's how we in the Mech Forces grow... we're taught to be confident young leaders, right at our birth in our units. We don't 'foot slog'!
    Now for some food for thought, apropos comments of @Gabbar and @Ghope Nikaal, Kharhe Karhe Kadam Taal; TARGET! None could have hit the nail on it's head in a more befitting yet suave manner!

    Waiting for 'eager-vultures' to comment, but please try and make at least a fair argument, make it worth my time. No ones taking anything away from the Infantry. The queen of battle has it's place. But then, as ever and always there are equals and then there are first among equals.... :) SO...
    Bash on Regardless!!
    Mazel Tov!

  47. Ghope Nikaal, Kharhe-Kharhe Kadam Taal27 July 2013 at 00:25

    I could not stop myself from disseminating this bit of hilarity...

    Stars in their eyes: Indian Army mistakes Jupiter and Venus for Chinese spy drones

    * The Indian Army recorded 155 air violations above the disputed Himalayan border it shares with China between April 2012 and February 2013
    * India feared that China was making nighttime incursions into its territory.
    * But astronomers from the Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Bangalore confirmed the 'spy drones' were actually planets Jupiter and Venus.

    These are infantry 'professionals' who are 'forever-in-field' or 'forever-in-combat' who mistook celestial planets to be Chinese drones, reported it dutifully up the command chain for six months. The command chain, right up to the DGMO and COAS (foot-sloggers again), was convinced of nefarious Chinese activity and designs. Somebody, sensing ancient Chinese black arts, called in the Institute of Astrophysics who discovered the gaffe.

    If this is the professional standard the poor-bloody-infantry professes to then forget pro-rata, they need reservations under the Mandal quota too for their Neanderthal intellect and imagination.

    Shameful. They have made the Indian Army the laughing stock of the whole world. Maybe they ought to circulate mug-shots of the Yeti to infantry formations along the LAC so that the infantry guardians of the frontier know the difference between a Chinese intruder and the abominable snowman!!!

    Check out



  48. The selection procedure is same , the training is same, so all should be the same. Do we require a merit system in the Af's and how do decide a merit of one from the other in peace time. It is very evident that officers with gallantry awards have made it nowhere in the service but officers service medals eg( VSM, AVSM, PVSM)are ruling. This goes to show that we don't want military commanders we want military managers in the AF's.In today's war it is the soldier and young officer who fights while the commanders are only managing the show from there shelters so how does it make a difference who is the commander. In fact the war's are won by commanders who have a good sense of logistic and how best to use the resources, so the top lot Brig and above should be from support arm's who understand the logistic constraints. The whole system of promotion in Af's is cockeyed, we still make generals based on medieval era requirements. What we require is to disband the whole present system and start afresh as the present system is beyond repair.


    A cadet gives his choice whereas the system choose(s) the rest.

    I guess the top brass has made this system from their earlier experience of improper handling of infantry/ artillery troops by AC/MECH GOC's/Staff. This may also have to do with the staunch disapproval of earlier Heads of AC/MEch forces to post their young officers in RR/AR much upto 1998.

    It may also be result of inefficient officers from AC/Mech forces being posted in IPKF.

    The Lessons learnt of CR sacking of IPKF/Kargil experienced COs/ Brig by AC/Mech IO/RO/SRO is not hidden.

    STOP MANDALISATION - Nice to Read, Nice to Talk. HOW to ACHIEVE.

    From Bad Experience arises bad decisions.
    How to forget Bad Experience? Requires ...........!!

    The only appointment where spoken reputation was considered is AMS.

    Bringing in Spoken Reputation and Peer Assessment in addition to CR, MAY HELP?

    To whom? The assessors or the assesses !!

    MAY the Indian Army select three successive chiefs whom the officers and men are proud of to serve under.

    Until Then?

  50. Shameful behaviour by all......the hatred is tremendous and no one seems to be bothered by other then the so called elite Corps.....the comments shows that except the Inf, AC and Arty (big zero) no one else deserves to get promoted....

  51. Sir,
    I have gone through almost all posts. I found that everyone is discussing Inf AC Arty etc but not a detailed mention of engrs sigs asc aoc jag amc. Actually no one is realizing the fate of these org. Have you all ever thought of SL or service entry cadre, it is nobody's fauz.

    None of u ever thought of lifting the army as a whole but one rattled between inf ac.

    GOD save us

  52. The most suitable general cadre officers will be the Babus fom MoD. Lets not fight over the milk .Call these babus and mantris to settle our scores .They can command our army better . What say u



    1. The very fact that there are four army commander level appointees from just eighty odd armoured and mechanized battalions compared to five from eight hundred infantry, Artillery, Engineer and Signal regiments together defeats the very argument of Mandalization.

    2. Mr Shukla please be a independent journalist giving balanced opinions rather than getting trapped in your regimental affiliations.If the army promotions were so skewed all these officers would have been fixed by vested interests long ago.It is you who is politicising the matter by playing the minority card. It is undue minority appeasement by certain generals in the past which gave undue advantage to mechanized forces to the extent that you started considering majority and disproportinate vacancies in the higher ranks as your birth right.

    3. General public must know all these armored and mechanized officers lead a much comfortable life compared to the rest of the army, most of them know each other well as their scope of employment is limited to few select cantonments where their friendships are cemented by partying hard and protecting their turf ie while they get to command infantry brigades they will never allow an infantry or artillery officer to command an armoured brigade or a division. On the other hand , all the other arm officers serving in the mechanised environment are systematically and ruthlessly fixed.

    4. There seems to be clearly two set of rules - one for mechanised offrs and the other for rest of the world . Come on , be a sport and take it like a man instead of cribbing. Mr Shukla mentioned of the Policemen syndrome in army due to disproportionate weightage given to counter insurgency tenures and merit being ignored.

    5. Sorry Sir, this nation must know minimal role mechanised forces have played in all four wars since independence. At best they have been a let down having been left out of battle and always having fought inside Indian territory instead of enemy territory. You claim to be offensive cutting edge force but history proves otherwise at least in the Indian context. The professionalism of Mechanised forces had been found blatantly wanting in all wars which proves the fact that these officers unduly benefitted from the inflated reporting system which brazenly prevail in the mechanized environment instead of meritocracy which he unconvincingly espouses.If Gorkha offrs are graded only by their regimental officers most of their professional ilife, artillery offrs from colonel onwards only by artillery officers world will be a different place.

    5. I would conclude by sating enough of minority politics and appeasement. Pro rata Policy - BRING IT ON


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