Rahul Gandhi walks out of Defence Committee meeting, alleging “time wastage” - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 17 December 2020

Rahul Gandhi walks out of Defence Committee meeting, alleging “time wastage”

By Ajai Shukla

Business Standard, 17th Dec 20


Even as the national political leadership grapples with the biggest Chinese military intrusions into Indian territory since the 1962 war, the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Defence on Wednesday discussed soldiers' rank badges and uniforms for over an hour, over the objections of several Members who demanded the Committee focus on matters of strategic importance.


After ruling party Members shouted down others who objected to discussing “irrelevant” and “minor” matters and demanded a discussion on equipping the army to face the Chinese intrusions, Congress Party leader, Rahul Gandhi, walked out of the meeting in protest.


Gandhi was also protesting at not being allowed to speak without interruption by the Chairman, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader, Jual Oram.


A bevy of top military officers, including the Chief of Defence Staff, General Bipin Rawat, had been summoned to the Standing Committee meeting to make presentations on military uniforms. 


Speaking off the record, two officers expressed bemusement at tying up senior officers in a discussion on uniforms at a time like the present.


The discussion on rank badges and uniforms is learned to have taken place at the behest of BJP Rajya Sabha member, Lieutenant General Devender Paul Vats (Retired), who had proposed that all three services – army, navy and air force – wear similar uniforms and rank badges.


In the Indian military, all three services have their own uniforms, rank names and rank badges. This tradition was inherited from the British armed forces. Rahul Gandhi stated that, if a change was required, it should be decided by the military brass, not the political leadership.


Contacted for comments, the ministry of defence has not responded. Committee members have declined to comment, citing privilege.


While many parliamentary committees are holding virtual meetings on Zoom, this was the second physical meeting of the Standing Committee on Defence since the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. 


The Committee has 21 members from the Lok Sabha and 10 from the Rajya Sabha. It is intended to fulfil the role of parliamentary oversight of defence matters.


  1. This is not the first meeting of standing committee,it is 14th or 15th.
    They will follow an agenda.
    Nothing wrong.

    Please remove this political article

  2. # it is time we shed our colonial era baggage. let us hope our national socialist government reflecting the mahasabha will do away with anglosphere ranks for NCOs, warrant officers in the air force. it will be a great day when a corporal in the air force is given the title of naik, and sergeant as havildar. likewise in the navy. air force.
    and let us take a page out of the israeli model [rav aluf, aluf, tat aluf, aluf mishne for brigadier-general] with rank names for the officer corps based on our historical sanskrit usages. the general officers should be entitled as senapatis; with the CDS as the pratham senapati, the air chief as mukhya vayu senapati, the AoCinC as vayu senapati, the air vice marshals as naib vayu senapati. ditto in the army, navy too. and similar classical sanskrit titles for field officers and captains, subalterns. these long overdue changes will be in harmony with the practice that is unique to our MoD of referring to the cabinet minister as RM or raksha mantri, and minister of state as RRM or raksha rajya mantri. senapatis will be appropriate and in the fitness of things.

  3. Scylla & Charybdis18 December 2020 at 02:08

    Has the retired Lt. Gen. gone senile ??


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