Is it only the Armed Forces Responsible for Victory in War?
Everyone in our nation faced the DeMonetisation aftermath, whether they liked it or not, and most people supported the move, only for one aim- To weed out Black Money. Whether this would be successful or not is another story. The key Govt department responsible for this move – The RBI. It kept changing rules and regulations every day as it could not fathom neither the kind of logistical nightmare that it would face nor the way people would react each day. It was a kind of War which they fought with less resources and a large country. We are still surviving the aftershocks of this move.
Why was the RBI ill prepared? Why did the chaos happen? Why did the RBI not anticipate the logistics? The answer lies somewhere in Planning, Preparation, & understanding the numbers on ground and not on paper alone. This War could have easily been won had these been practiced when there was Peace around before the orders came. RBI could have learnt a lot from the Army how the Army plans for a War.
Early December a new kind of problem emerged in West Bengal with the CM declaring that Army has moved into the streets and said it was akin to a Coup. She as usual accused her favorite punching bag, PM Modi. Army, she said had moved into Toll Booths and started collecting money without any information or permission from the State Govt. She refused to move out of her office to SAVE DEMOCRACY. Nothing could be far from the Truth. Army NEVER collects money, they collect DATA…… For what purpose is this data? Lets analyse.
What the Army did was a mere Civil Hired Transport impressment exercise. Every year the Army updates its plans in preparing for war. When an Army mobilises for War, it requires a lot of load to be carried towards the borders. With their own military trucks they can only carry about 30-40% of the loads.
To undertake a swift mobilisation, railways place a number of trains for the Forces on high priority. Civil Trucks are mobilised quickly to move the balance loads to the border areas. So, How does the Army know how many trucks can they mobilise? How much time would it take? How much distance do these trucks go before refueling? They get this information by carrying out exercises in various parts of the country, like they did in West Bengal and NE States in early December. They do this every year to understand how many trucks of which all sizes can they get in a given period of say 6-8 hours. This is a way to keep the data up to date and also to practice the personnel concerned how to do it right. Had the RBI done similar exercises in their domain, once in a while, we would have seen a smooth rolling out of DeMonetisation as well. I now hope you got the relation why I invoked RBI in the first place.
Does the Armed Forces just do an Exercise without informing any one? NO! The Army has to co-opt the civil administration, the police etc. for anything they do. Permissions are sought well in advance. In the case of West Bengal letters were written to all concerned 7 days before the exercise by the Adm Commandant Col Surinder Mahani. In some places the Police had detailed their personnel and carried out joint reconnaissance too. I have had personal confirmation from the Army authorities regarding this. The untruths propagated for political gains were exposed when these letters were released to the media by Maj Gen Sunil Yadav, General Officer Commanding Bengal Area, after a Press Meeting. Such exercises have been carried out regularly earlier too in Kolkata but there was never any smoke that time. Probably this time, the feedback to the politicians by the administration was either incorrect or coloured, or there was a heavy mistrust between the Govt at the State and Center.
The Armed Forces carry out a number of exercises throughout the year. They go regularly to Rajasthan, Punjab and other training areas to practice and prepare for War. In the process they also ensure extreme care is taken not to disrupt the civil life. After each such training, they take a NOC from the people involved. No Damage Certificates are taken from the Sarpanches or District Administration. Such exercises have happened for the past 70 years without any issue from any state. Therefore there should be no cause for worry for anyone.
Live Civil Hired Transport Impressment was done very effectively during 2001 when the Armed Forces mobilised for war during Operation Parakram. All the truck drivers supported the move and lived in the deserts under the Army care. The Army provided for their fuel, food and even repairs for their trucks. Being with many of them during those days, I was impressed by their spirit for the nation. They lived with us, dined with us, waiting happily till they were relieved by the Army. They were paid too as per the Govt orders on the subject. Hence this is nothing new to our country.
In a War, every single citizen is responsible for ensuring Victory for our nation. They should help the Army win it for them. They should also help in such preparations during peace so that the men in uniform win it during war.
Charles De Gaulle said- “Politics is too serious a matter to be left to the politicians.” We the people should stand up and question these politicians who use the Army for petty gains.
So next time over, instead of bickering Why should we, it would be great if we can ask – How can we help the Armed Forces sharpen its axe.
I come back to my question: Is it only the Armed Forces Responsible for Victory in War? You know better. Don’t you?