Friday, February 25, 2005

Indian Military -a thought

All over the world, countries are revamping their military setup in line with the new realities of war. In the western civilization military might and technological developement has a symbiotic relationship. This was the case with muslim world too.
In India(as a cultural entity), the situation was different from the beginning. The early Buddhist and Jain (elite religions during that period and possibly confined to ruling class and rich traders) kings gave more consideration to non-violence, non-alcoholism and religious piety than military and war. So majority of these kingdoms were easily destroyed by the caste kings and few of them (Kashmir and Gandhara(southern Afghanistan)) were routed by the foreign armies. Later the caste kingdoms were handicapped by the division of society along men of knowledge, men of war and men of skills. The technical development required all these people working on equal footing, with equal education. Though bravery was never lacking all the caste kings were soundly beaten by the Muslim and European armies with better technical skills and individual brilliance. During British conquest even the Indian Muslim kings lacked the technical superiority. However, it was not a totally hopeless situation with them. Tipu Sultan was supposed to have employed world's first missiles against the British.
Modern day India(after independence) is still struggling with these handicaps. Though technically, it has lost only one war against China, the wars it has won against Pakistan replete with too many strategic blunders. Ofcourse, then there is LTTE. The war against China was a model of total failure in all the departments. The US can afford to lose a war in far Vietnam but not India in its own soil, with its present boundaries encircling only two-thirds of its cultural and ethnic boundaries. Then there is a talk of brilliant men not joining the military. I wonder whether it makes any difference in Indian context. Our highly educated cricketers were hardly superior cricketing brains in the real world.
Quest should be for instilling a mind of a canny military strategist within our great brains. I would expect Indian establishment encouraging top brains from the technical universities or field to enroll for voluntary military training during their leisure. These men should be given incentives to combat as mercenaries in our internal struggle. A new command should be constituted especially for these men( and women). And it is also very important to allow private sector and universities to be part of defense research and development. This is already in place in the US. I think government is taking steps in this direction.
I think we have to experiment with this for atleast one generation ( 40 years) to see if it springs up great military minds and inventors. Whatever we do in this direction will never be a disaster in the scale of our past ones.