Age matters only in the Indian Army

Discussion in 'Indian Army' started by Bhadra, Jan 22, 2012.

  1. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Age matters only in the Indian Army
    Published January 22, 2012
    SOURCE: TNN



    General Peter Jan Schoomaker retired from active service in December 2000. His last posting was as the chief of the prestigious US Special Operations Command. Almost two-and-a-halfyears after he retired, Gen Schoomaker was recalled to head the US Army in August 2003.

    Sounds strange? In the Indian military it is almost unthinkable to appoint a retired general as the chief of army. In India, this would upset the laid-down order of succession, and scuttle the hopes of many officers down the line.
    So what about merit? In this whole controversy sparked by Gen V K Singh’s age, that issue is not being debated at all. The fact is that Indian military chiefs are no longer selected on the basis of merit. The only thing that counts is their age. As merit takes a backseat, the fight in the Ministry of Defence is all about ensuring that favourites are suitably placed in the line of promotion on the basis of their date of birth.

    Now, however, many within the ranks are beginning to question the obsession with age. “It is absurd. When you are 15 or 16 you apply for NDA. Should the fact of being younger than others decide whether one should be military chief or not? It is laughable,” says a serving army general. “Let’s say two of us join NDA together, and we get promotions at the same time. All through the service I may have excelled in my work, but if I were a day younger, it is you who gets to become the chief,” he says.

    A senior Air Force officer points out that Colin Powell, one of the most outstanding American military chiefs of all time, was 28th or so in seniority when he was appointed the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. “What should matter is the tenure of service and merit,” he says.

    In the years following Independence, when Jawaharlal Nehru was prime minister, the government did go by merit while selecting service chiefs. An officer recalled that Arjan Singh was appointed Air Force chief at 45. “It was a tenure fixed for five years,” he says. So there was no ‘fixed’ line of succession at that time.

    That has changed. The reason date of birth has become the main factor is that top officers are growing timid, refusing to take risks. “Once you become a brigadier or major general, you have a fair idea who would be chief or not. From then on the hopefuls start playing safe ,” says an officer.

    Both the Navy and Air Force have adopted selection policies which create a small group of ‘aristocrats’ among the officer cadre early in service, from whom the chiefs generally come. These officers invariably have done select tenures, such as being on the personal staff of senior commanders. In the Navy, an officer points out, many of these ‘aristocrats’ does not serve enough time at sea or other tough postings. “As a result, our preferred officers do not have enough exposure to the battlefield. They are all fundamentally being groomed, and biding time, to take on senior appointments. And a few of them do become chiefs,” says a Navy officer.

    The net result of such skewed policies is that the day on which one is born has become the most crucial factor in deciding who commands one of the world’s biggest armies.

    Not surprisingly, many are closely watching how this court battle over Gen VK Singh ‘s age ends. Will he retire on May 31, 2012, and let A, B and C become chief over the next six-seven years. Or will he retire on March 31, 2013, and allow X, Y and Z to succeed him? Either way, the military doesn’t seem to benefit from this kind of thinking. In this unfolding drama, merit is likely to be the only casualty.
     
    Godless-Kafir likes this.
  2.  
  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Therefore, there is no cut and dried solution!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  4. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Age can not and should not be criteria for promotion in the Armed Forces particularly when the organisation has many entry levels with different age brackets for NDA, Direct entry and SSC officers. Coupled with that is residual service clause, which benefits only one particular entry, that is NDA. That amounts to "Reservation" for a particular type of entry .

    If challenged in a court as being discriminatory and against Fundamental rights, the case may be upheld. It has not happened so far but it would happen.
     
  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Age is never the criterion for promotions.

    Promotions are based on Merit (based on the ACR, Courses, Awards etc). Each course when it comes up for promotion, the vacancies are noted and those who qualify for the next post are selected by a Promotion Board [at which visitors (officers selected at random) are also nominated to see the promotion process].

    The vacancies are filled as per the seniority of the IC Numbers as the vacancies occur. Many selected may also not be promoted since the vacancy does not occur before their retirement age.

    To be an Army Commander (commanding one of the Commands), one has to have commanded a Corps. It requires two years residual service to be an Army Cdr.

    When it comes to the question of who is to be the Chief, all Army Cdrs are deemed suitable. However, here it is the IC Number which decides. Age comes into play as in the case of the present crisis, wherein if 1951 is taken as the age, then the COAS retires one year later. If that happens, then the Chief designate (so to say since it has not been officially announced) Lt Gen Bikram Singh would not become the Chief and would have retired. Lt Gen Bikram SIngh, not being in the reckoning when the Chief retires if he gets one year more to serve, Lt Gen Parnaik would take over if seniority is maintained.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
    Kunal Biswas likes this.
  6. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

    Joined:
    Dec 21, 2009
    Messages:
    5,326
    Likes Received:
    1,493
    The IA is a different kettle of fish when compared to the Navy and IAF.Most the time the naval and IAF chaps have a smoother life when compared to IA
     
  7. Kunal Biswas

    Kunal Biswas Member of the Year 2011 Moderator

    Joined:
    May 26, 2010
    Messages:
    27,584
    Likes Received:
    28,383
    Location:
    BHARAT, INDIA, HINDUSTHAN
    Quoted for the Truth..
     
  8. venkat

    venkat Regular Member

    Joined:
    Apr 6, 2009
    Messages:
    904
    Likes Received:
    195
    what a tragic state of affairs!!! The gentleman at the helms is putting his foot in his mouth with all those self destructing single tender rules and what not? incapable of buying a 155mm gun!!! incapable of manufacturing one indigenously and every other program is in shambles right from gorky to So-30 MKI....keep hounding the chief of Army staff.....its a national shame for insulting the Army chief...with all those long tailed never ending rules are we able to stem corruption.?..never and can not..we have become fools in the eyes of every phoren defence supplier ,mean while china and pakis have joined hands and arming themselves to teeth with the latest of weaponry!!!
     
  9. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Age is criterion for promotion, of course.

    Firstly, NDC which is the sole criteria for promotion to the rank of Maj Gen is age based. One has to have an amount of residual service. One may be first in order of merit (ACR or other criteria wise) but if one does not have a fixed residual service then the merit becomes demerit. The sole merit is then age.

    Even if one has some requisite age, during promotion boards if one does not have residual service for Command of a division, he will be either not declared fit or will be consigned into Staff Stream.

    Then again to be a Corps Cdr or Army commander residual service after promotion is sole criteria.

    Hence, given the same merit, age is the factor of "Reservation". Indian Army thus is being commanded age and only by those who enter early through NDA.

    Why NDA only because clooge entry period of training at IMA is 18 months and for NDA cadets is only 12 month. Same classmate will become 6 months junior for no fault of his. In case of SSC officer it would be difference of 9 months.

    NDA last intake for commission - 22 years.
    College entry last intake - 24 years.

    Why so ?
     
  10. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    NDC is not a criterion for promotion to a Maj Gen!

    Residual service is essential for any rank or any post.

    One is not born to an appointment to know all about the intricacies of the appointment, its duties and responsibilities.

    Can one expect efficiency and planning if an appointment finds new incumbent every six months?

    If it were so. why has Tata announce a successor and not hand him over the job immediately and retire?

    Because no one is born to the job.

    He requires time to understand the job and its demands on him, especially critical jobs whose outcome would mean success or failure.

    Why is Pranab Mukherjee the Crisis Manager and not MMS.

    Because Pranab Mukherjee has had a long tenure as an important Minister in all Govts and has learnt the ropes of politics, that MMS has not!
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    NDA entry is NDA + IMA.

    Count the years.

    Further, he joined the NDA even when he had other options.

    Others joined later, having finished all other options, including trying to join the NDA!

    That apart, the tenure of training levels out the difference.

    The NDA chap can crib that he was subjected to a very long and tedious training tenure, while other chaps are becoming officers even earlier than it takes a child to be born!

    NDA is not only academics, it is academics plus military training!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
    ALBY likes this.
  12. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
  13. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    If there was no requirement of knowing your job, then why have the training period as Cadets or recruits?

    Just give then there rank and say, go into battle!

    Or even courses as officers and men?

    At every rank, there is a criterion for how long one serves in that rank.

    You cannot have Tees mar Khans with no job experience with no time devoted to it!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  14. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    What would be your selection process for chief or promotions in army brigadier ? if one were to ask you to make one
     
  15. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    The same that exists currently.

    It is time tested.

    Do you feel it is flawed?

    I am game to learn why you feel so?

    If you give better options, I will do my best to pass it on!

    The only thing that I find is not correct and which can smack of manipulation is this Command and Staff streams since judgement and opinion is subjective and rarely objective.
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  16. Godless-Kafir

    Godless-Kafir DFI Buddha Senior Member

    Joined:
    Aug 21, 2010
    Messages:
    5,829
    Likes Received:
    1,799
    Nice article pointing out a very valid point.
     
  17. The Messiah

    The Messiah Bow Before Me! Elite Member

    Joined:
    Aug 25, 2010
    Messages:
    10,788
    Likes Received:
    4,552
    Since i am not in army i dont know its internal workings and so im in no position to give suggestions.

    I was asking if you had any ideas to make it better ?
     
  18. Bhadra

    Bhadra Defence Professionals Defence Professionals Senior Member

    Joined:
    Jul 11, 2011
    Messages:
    6,687
    Likes Received:
    2,357
    Brig Ray,

    In terms of IAS promotion, they have no shortsightedness as prevelant in Forces. They pick up next rank even for a day and retire the third day.
    Secondly No one joins Class A services or IAS at 21 years of age as no one is taken after graduation. The average age of intake is bwteeen 26 to 28 years, generally as second Job.

    Residual service linke bunkum has no place for them.
    Thirdly, if the organisation like Army requires officers why take them at different ages. Is not it that one is meant to fade away and the other from birth only meant to be General?

    Are we running an aristocracy based on entries or age ??

    The sole criteria should be merit. Being younger in membranes is only meant for some other purposes. Not being Generals. Being capable and meritorious is what should be a General.

    Now a days the sole criteria is being commissioned before 21 years of age.

    And who says NDA is training?? what training? What use is it of being a General ??
     
  19. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    That is why there is so much of inefficiency.

    It is what one would say 'the old school tie syndrome'.

    Promote the chap even for a day, so that the gets a better pension!
     
  20. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    Residual service matters.

    Have you ever commanded a unit?

    I have.

    I was from a different class composition to the one I had to command.

    The psyche was different, the way they functioned was different and a host of other things.

    It took me a year to understand the workings!

    This is what all, who have commanded different units from the one commissioned in, feel.

    However, if you feel that all are or should be cat's whiskers the day the sit on the chair, then I am afraid, I have not seen it in the Army, even if you have seen it in the IAS.

    And surprisingly, at the drop of a hat, the Army has to be called in, including saving children who fall into unlined wells!

    I wonder where the DM (IAS) or SP (IPS) are at these moments and why they cannot live up to the demands of their jobs!

    If NDA is not training, either you visit NDA and observe it and participate if you wish, or tell the Govt to cut the insititution out and save the Nation a whole lot of money!
     
    Last edited: Jan 22, 2012
  21. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

    Joined:
    Apr 17, 2009
    Messages:
    43,118
    Likes Received:
    23,543
    Location:
    Somewhere
    I wouldn't know if one joins IAS at 21 or at 101!

    I went by the link which gave the age for joining IAS.

    Rsidual service may not be important for IAS, because they are non specialists and, as is seen, never accountable!

    One takes people at various stages of age for a purpose.

    It helps those who joined the ranks to also be officers if they are competent. It is a great incentive.

    It helps to fill the medium level ranks.

    And so on.

    No one had forced anyone to join. It is still a voluntary army. Everyone joins with his eye, ears and mind open to all the advantages and disadvantages.

    Can you define Merit and how it is to be judged?

    We can't have a war every now and then to judge merit, or can we?
     
    SADAKHUSH and Nagraj like this.

Share This Page