politics and army

Look at our neighbors
China’s architect Chairman Mao said “Power flows from the barrel of the gun”.
Pakistan for more than half of its independent history has been under one dictator or another.
Myanmar is still under military junta.
Neighbors like Afghanistan, Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka still have strong influence of army in the daily matters of the state.
India itself also had a dictator, who almost successfully legitimized herself.
Yet Indian army simply minds its own business. It has no political ambition and its preferences never shape the policies of the nation. WHY?
What is there in the country that is preventing them to do it?

My first response would be size and complexity. India is too large for a coop to be successful. To stage a military uprising, you would have to arrest 700 members of parliament, another 25 Chief ministers, have the support of atleast 100 military garrisons (army, airforce, paramilitary and navy) All this in a country where the 3 dense chiefs can’t even talk to each other informally over a phone (unless the defense minister is present) would sound like a remarkable feat. But then military chiefs have ruled over China and Russia.

Then I thought maybe politics is not what they want. But then I could find 3 well publicized instances where the Army Chiefs said a few words against their incompetent political masters and were dealt with.

1) Kodandera Madappa Cariappa, a war hero and the first army chief of independent India, said a few words against politicians. Nehru, could not ask him to resign, so he had him exiled in a golden cage. Nehru promoted him to High Commissioner to Australia in 1953.

2) In 1959, K. S. Thimayya was forced to resign when he bad mouthed his Defense Minister V.K. Krishna Menon

3) Sam Hormusji Framji Jamshedji Manekshaw, after liberating Bangladesh, stupidly said that he had an offer to join the Pak army and if he had did, Indians would have been defeated. Indira Gandhi made sure that this was his last public appearance.

So what do you think is the reason?

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9 thoughts on “politics and army

  1. I think the possible reason might b that we Indians r the peace loving creatures n smtimes a bit coward also( i m sry if it is a strong word to use , but i feel so )…….hv u ever seen India starting a war itself? We try to avoid ‘Hinsa’ as much as we can( even Shri Ramchandra ji gave many chances to ravan before realy attacking him)…….if we ppl can’t even fight foreighners, how will we fight our own ppl? i don’t think that nyone wants bloodshed………i think mostly d army cheifs n high position holders r educated ppl who r content with their salary n respect they get…….they geerally do not want to get involved in dirty politics ……however bad our politicians may b , i don’t think even they want to kill all d rights of ppl n rule them …..so how can we expect ths frm educated n sensetive armymen?(although i think they do r scared of politicians n their powers)……. we do want to change the system but not through ‘Hinsa’ ……even at their posts they can prevent sm of the wrong decisions of politians ….. we hv love for our country n countrymen which is vast more than self love (this feeling is not lost n still is there in every Indians heart ,amount may vary)……we like to win hearts rather than rule them by force ………they may hv differences in d opinion but this is not smthng that will make them resort to bloodshed ……..i really feel a country can b run best democratically (no matter how bad our politicians r ,but comp among them helps ) rather than a one man or one grp rule……..examples r in front of u ……n this fact is known by all (even our military heads) who love their country …….one bitter side is that if sm army cheif wants a rule , others won’t let that happen ……..we can never agree on one issue (freedom struggle is an example)…….so even they know it is very difficult to succeed even if they plan smthng like this ……..so why not lead a peaceful life ……..

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  2. ankur
    U forgot to mention Field martial a post for Kodandera Madappa Cariappa,one of the 2 Indians to ever hold it. He and K. S. Thimayya both were from Coorg – cofee country – bold and fearless and capable of taking gilgit and baltistan – sad the political masters were chickens…

    Now a days all the heads suck up to politicians – kargil was not handled correctly bu the people at the top under V P M, and the current chief is no better,under his command the scamsters carried water instead of petrol to ladakh in collusion with ioc officials and his remarks on china and tawang were in bad taste

    Even after all the factors you have mentioned, there can still be coups
    the training imparted to most officers separates them from our neighbors armys.

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  3. @surabhi…
    #hv u ever seen India starting a war itself? #
    https://enagar.com/2005/06/09/india-is-a-peace-loving-nation/
    https://enagar.com/2007/02/17/communal-intolerance/

    but i do agree that indian military was sensible enough to commit far less blunders as compared to their civilian counterparts. and democracy is deep rooted and well established in india.. so, no wonder a military led coup is unthinkable in india.

    @prax…
    i am not saying that indian military leaders were not brave… infact they were sensible enough to not to destroy democracy. but ya who knows what future might hold.. maybe 10-20 years down the line there might be a rebellion.

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  4. btw if u don’t know there was a famous naval rebellion in india (and they virtually took over the mumbai docks too)…. even though they fought for india’s independence and the outbreak happened close to India’s independence, the soldiers that were court marshaled were never restored in the independent india….

    while every tom dick and harry got freedom fighters pension.. these guys did not receive even the naval pensions.

    maybe after this they stopped trusting politicians

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  5. I guess that is the strength of our “democracy”. I remember some politican from a neighbouring country saying (when we had 3 elections in 3 years in 1998/99), “If they same were to happen in our country, the military would have taken over”. Inspite of the ups and downs of the system, this is why I love my country so so much! We are truly a blessed nation.

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  6. //To stage a military uprising, you would have to arrest 700 members of parliament, another 25 Chief ministers, have the support of atleast 100 military garrisons (army, airforce, paramilitary and navy)//

    I guess the reason would be this : out of the 700 members, 400 would be abroad on surgery or ‘business’ trip. 14 Chief ministers would be in election campaigns (with location unknown or on helicopters). half the army would be in kashmir or to Kill chicken in West Bengal.
    To get them all together and stage a coup is gonna be tough. … 😀
    …kidding…..
    —-

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  7. This is a write up that lacks substance and highlights the ignorance of the author. Sam who was well known for his jest was a patriot like none other; KM Cariappa was an officer that had the respect of his men for his dedication and sense of fairness, and Thimayya who was arguably the greatest general India ever had was never forced to retire but did so to protest the interference by Krishna Menon the communist stooge that was the primary reason for the defeat to China. And to be precise was convinced by none other than Nehru to withdraw his resignation

    To rubbish the contributions and character of three of the greatest generals of independent India, to highlight a point of view that was the guiding principle of the very officers in question is irresponsible and highly inaccurate. These were officers that fought to uphold a fledging democracy and held the respect and love of their men like only great generals are capable of

    I would suggest that one has to research facts before commenting on a public forum about people they know nothing about

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