17 of my brothers have made the Supreme Sacrifice at Uri. It is with a heavy heart that I write this. Let me start by praying for their souls.
And then I ask – Was it their fault?
Our blood boiled when we heard of it on the morning of Sunday, the 18th of September.. We have been hit so many times before, but every time we have chosen to warn them, chosen to make bombastic statements; we condemned, but we did nothing. We voted for a new Govt thinking that the new one will walk the talk. But we have still been hit……repeatedly – at Gurdaspur, Udhampur, Pathankot, Herat, Mazhar e Sharif, Jalalabad, Pampore, Poonch and now Uri. Whose fault is it?
Many of us rightly ask: Why do not we go across the border, in hot pursuit, strike the camps, fire missiles, shoot from the drones…. very much like how the Israelis or Americans do. Why can’t a Nation that aspires to be a Super Power act? What is the million strong Army doing? Why do we have to have meetings after meetings, asking for options, after an event has occurred?
And the answer to all that is, WE……….Yes WE are our greatest enemies. We are in the game of one up-manship; trying to outwit the other man who knows his job. I am talking of the bureaucrats (or Babus), the politicians and a few self-serving top bosses in the armed forces.
If we have to respond quickly and decisively, we need to have fully prepared Defence Forces. Yet, we still have shortages of Officers, Equipment and Ammunition. Requests for modern equipment asked about 4 years back still remain not approved! Why? When we can spend crores of money on cleaning of the Ganga and building Bullet Trains and floating many other Yojanas, why can’t we spend adequately on the Defence Forces and make them 100% Fit for War? So that we can actually use the Sabre when required rather than mere sabre-rattling every time something happens. We keep cutting down the expenditure for the Forces on some pretext or the other. We lower their morale by not paying even the full OROP, but we have money multiple times over, to write off NPAs of banks. We try and brow beat the Armed Forces by pushing their status below CAPF, by not paying them their dues, by not equating them to the Gp A Services, yet we want them to deliver when the times comes. How should they? How can they? Why should they? And yet, despite all this, THEY DELIVER……. Every Time!
If 17 died due to tents catching fire, many rightly asked why were they in tents? Was it their fault that they were in a garrison that existed for many years, yet in tents? The answer to this is the apathy to the expenditure projected by the forces. The Babu’s keep pending it by asking frivolous queries and putting objections. This year the budget for such expense was passed almost 8 months after it was due. In every field area, the progress of these works is slow and funds available are minimal. Why?
There is a way out. Delink the decision of the Armed Forces preparation from the Babudom. A request by the Army formations must be provided on priority. No Babu should interfere unless there is financial impropriety. The men, machine and equipment of the Forces must be fully made up. If we can pay Swachh Bharat Cess when the country is still unclean, we can very well pay Def Cess to ensure the Forces prepare.
Fix the people responsible for this loss by sacking them and pin point responsibility. Make a few specimens if need be. Do away with the post of the Defence Secretary. Civil servants have are clueless about defence issues. Appoint a Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) to be the single point interface between the Government and the Armed forces. Keep away politicians from the Defence Minister’s job or appoint only a person with some background knowledge of defence as Defence Minister. Appoint a person from the retired plethora of Generals who know their business. Prepare and Train the Army. Provide them the equipment. Pay them the best. So that, when we ask of them to do their job, to put their lives on the line, they JUST DO IT happily and effectively.
Then and only then can the Armed Forces be truly able to deliver appropriate retribution. Only then, will whatever actions we do diplomatically in the International arena can be supported by a substantial threat of Force. Only then will Pak stop its mischief.
Till such time, let us launch General Arnab Goswami and his TimesNow shouting brigade at Pak and trend #DestroyPakistan on Twitter.
Which brings me back to my original question – Was it really their fault for being at Uri?
(Thanks Amarjot for reviewing this article in http://www.sajanspeaks.wordpress.com)