Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Civilian supremacy and defence reforms: The Hindu

Mondya, 29 Oct 14

Prime Minister Narendra Modi should appoint a defence minister — a full-time one — and demonstrate a great deal of administrative acumen and political will if he is serious about his declared intent to strengthen India’s national security and defence preparedness. Indeed, the absence of a full-time defence minister is merely symptomatic of a larger set of serious structural problems being faced by the country’s higher defence management today, which is in urgent need of innovative reforms and radical restructuring. Mr. Modi’s address to the Combined Commanders Conference in New Delhi on October 17 found no mention of structural reforms in higher defence management whereas his predecessor did mention it from time to time even though the United Progressive Alliance (UPA) government had sidestepped implementing the crucial reforms.

The disturbing reality today is that in the absence of a full-time defence minister and by not introducing defence reforms, it is the civilian bureaucracy — having generalist IAS officers whose expertise in defence matters is questionable — that has a major say in the country’s defence planning and decision-making. This needs to change.

Committee Recommendations

The demand for reforms in India’s higher defence management is a long-standing one and has grown in strength ever since the Kargil Review Committee (KRC) recommended a number of reforms. In 2000, the then National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government appointed a Group of Ministers (GoM), with four task forces on intelligence reforms, internal security, border management, and higher defence management, to review the country’s defence preparedness in the light of the KRC’s recommendations. Many of the recommendations made by the GoM were only partially implemented. And the most important one, of creating the post of Chief of Defence Staff (CDS), was ignored. 

As a result, it has been widely perceived over the past decade or so that the country’s defence sector needs further restructuring. In response, the UPA government appointed a task force on national security under the chairmanship of Mr. Naresh Chandra in 2011; it submitted its report a year later. Although classified, some of its content has been leaked to the press. Many of its recommendations were not to the liking of the Ministry of Defence (MoD) and the Defence Minister. As a result, the UPA government lost an opportunity to introduce crucial reforms. The report was to have been taken up by the Cabinet Committee on Security in February this year — after the government sat on it for no less than one-and-a-half years, but it was too late by then as the UPA government felt that it should not take key national security decisions in its final days in office. It’s now the turn of the NDA government to act.

(Source- The Hindu)


  1. The grapevine is there was a silent killer of a PM for 10 years. Now we have one with the gift of the gab. That is the only difference. Defense? Oh, God will take care of it. Veteran's welfare? Oh, we don't have to worry abt it for next 5years. That is how it goes.

  2. The MOD has outlived its utility and lost the confidence and more significantly the trust of the Defence Fraternity after the exposer of manipulations in the Supreme Court in the rank pay case and subsequent manipulations even in the Contempt case. It should follow the Chinese where it functions more as a Liasion Department. There is utter disdain and disrespect for the Defence Forces including their disabled soldiers and war widows . The so called last bastion of Democracy is under
    Thousand cuts not from enemies of the state but from within which is crumbling the foundations with termites. Only the Jawans can help India now and not MOD or other VIPS including Military Brass

    1. Sorry Dattaji, the jawans are trained to look upon the Military Brass for direction, the Brass keep saying "ji husoor" to the politician. In such a scenario even God cannot help India.

  3. pse dont annonce in fm ur articulate/oratory Rss inculcated skills sir, get into ground reality, nothing has been done for OROP by this govt,ur promises, seems to be a promise by any unworthy/untrust worthy cheap politician