In Pakistan their elite serve in armed forces. In India there is a short fall of 11000 officers in Army alone. Air Force and Navy are also facing the same problem. It is not money or danger within, that the right kind of youth are not coming to Armed Forces. This is happening because the ruling political class have been totally indifferent to the armed forces.
The Ministry of Defence in India is being run like any other Government departments in the country. Indian constitution has rightly laid down that armed forces will work under the civilian control, but it never says under bureaucratic control that is happening today.
So on should not wonder if small countries like Pakistan brow beat us. In entire world the armed forces' headquarters are always part of the Government but this is not the situation in India.
It is only in India that they have to submit reports/ matters to the Government for consideration. The Government takes its own time to decide. No thought is given to the fact that in military matters even a day’s delay can cost the country dear.
Indian Army is proud of the fact that it is one of the very few armies in the world which has remained apolitical despite India being surrounded by countries where armies play major political role.
However the recently held Rewari rally of Narendra Modi attended by a large number of veterans from armed forces that include senior officers, point to the fact that armed forces veterans have been politicised.
These veterans number almost 36 lakh. They have very deep umbilical cord with the serving armed forces men. If nothing is done to arrest this trend it is only matter of time before the entire armed forces will get politicised.
The fault lies fully on the shoulders of the current political masters and their indifferent attitude towards armed forces. Worst is the hostile attitude of the bureaucracy staffing the MOD who due to their insensitivity towards the problems relating to the pensions and allowances of aging veterans and war widows have forced the veterans to take recourse to litigations.
Even here these bureaucrats fought them at every step in denying their legitimate rights. The bureaucrats even refused to implement the recent favourable decision by the Supreme Court on rank pay case. In 2008 on the issue of one rank one pension the veterans had to come on the streets.
What could be more shameful to a nation where their veterans armed personnel had to resort to street agitations to get their legitimate rights implemented. However this had made no dent in the functioning of our netas.
These 36 lakh veterans from armed forces have the capability to influence at least 10 people around them that includes their kith and kin also. This voting strength then multiplies to 3.6 corers. Till now their weakness has been that they had an all India presence and so communication was difficult.
Now with 11 crore mobile users and penetration of internet even into villages, this problem has been overcome. With proliferation of political parties and villages turning into town ships and towns becoming Metros, the winning margins of candidates in elections have got reduced to about 4000 to 5000 votes.
So if veterans do tactical voting like the minority community does, their votes will have immense value.
It is time that armed forces' veterans try their luck in 2014 general elections by forcing political parties in Uttrakhand and Punjab, where there is maximum concentration of veterans, to select ex-service persons as their candidates.
In addition veterans must form an over arching organisation which must control and guide various ex servicemen associations. In today’s coalition era a few elected MPs will be enough to make politicians listen the concerns of veterans. The country will also benefit immensely because then among the militarily clueless politicians; there will be trained, honest disciplined military experts.