Modi move puts him on ‘defensive’

Published — Sunday 16 August 2015

Indian Prime Minister Modi leaves for a two day visit to the UAE where he is certain to be given a warm welcome with the add on of a pop star mass gathering at the cricket stadium. Last heard about 60,000 people are expected to get there and listen to him.
But he comes back to a fair amount of wreckage in his wake.
The Sushma Swaraj issue over ex IPL boss Lalit Modi and charges of corruption has not gone away. The obsession with Rahul Gandhi has become ridiculous. The Bihar elections look ominously close and he is going to mount a damage control exercise Tuesday by visiting the state personally.
All these problems are par for the course. But going head on with the armed forces and not committing a time frame for their financial security is not a very comfortable position to take. Let me explain.
My father and his three brothers became generals in the Indian army. My research has shown there is no precedent in any army in the world where four brothers reached these ranks in the same corps.
My grandfather would have been heap proud of 150 years of service that his sons completed. But today if he was alive and had decided to march for his sons he might well have been hit by a policeman holding a stick. This is what happened Friday in New Delhi when retired servicemen staged a protest over the ten-year delay for their pension revision.
The disappointment that rippled through the armed forces on Independence Day when Modi failed to deliver on his promise and hedged his bets on the hoary old issue of One Pension One Rank was palpable.
And the suddenly righteous media are setting it to music with rampant hypocrisy. Their complete two faced attitude is rampant. The administrative services have cobbled the services and made them secondary.
Just because you call them bravehearts and martyrs and cleanse your conscience means very little.
Not one of these TV channels beetling on about our brave soldiers has ever done a show on any issue pertaining to the forces. It won’t sell. Peacetime marginalizes the uniform.
For sheer double standards it is difficult to beat.
Not till Pakistan or China rattle sabres, we as 1.22 billion people don’t spare a thought for the armed forces. Then we hide under our beds and tell them to go and fight.
The idiot box idiots are more interested in attacking Rahul Gandhi for fetching up at the protest by elderly ex-servicemen than the issue. They have no clue about the issue.
Modi need not be afraid of all the faux pas and failures of the first year that have potholed his promise.
But if this country’s leadership fails the men and women in uniform I guarantee you it will come and bite you.
India cannot afford this luxury.
Its government cannot antagonize the forces.
You cannot leave India vulnerable to adversaries if you lower their morale.
Start by being honest. The armed forces, by and large, are not a vote bank. When the guns are silent people don’t care one bit about them, not the government, not the bureaucracy, not the public and certainly not the media.
What’s the ditty:
God and soldiers all adore
When in trouble nevermore.
Modi, this issue could be your nemesis. Clear the file and get it over with.
Your armed forces are unraveling and you Sir hold the needle.