- RSN Singh
No sooner the country got its independence the Indian Army was mobilized to save J&K. Thereafter, its direct and indirect threat was used to integrate Hyderabad, Junagarh and for liberation of Goa. Despite this nation-building role, Nehru was always suspicious of his own Indian Army. While Pakistan treated its army as the savior of the newly formed State, Nehru in his subconscious perceived his army as a colonial relic. All these years, the bureaucracy or the 'brown sahebs' ruled the roost and continued to degrade and humiliate the Senior Army Officers.
1962 was therefore waiting to happen.
Nehru was paranoid about an army takeover, because between the years 1958 and 1960, countries like Pakistan, Burma (Myanmar), Indonesia and many other countries of Asia came under military / dictatorial rules.
The 1962 War compelled the Indian leadership to address the imperatives of the armed forces both qualitatively and quantitatively. The result was therefore favourable in 1965. The Indian Army acquired a new height by 1971. The result was the stupendous victory in the war against Pakistan, which resulted in the creation of Bangladesh.
Mrs Indira Gandhi emerged as a formidable leader after the 1971 war, but for probably the same reasons or perceptions she suffered from like her father, she embarked on the exercise on the emasculation of the armed forces. Gen Manekshaw, the hero of 1971 war, was elevated to the rank of Field Marshal, but the Indian Army was consciously devalued in status and benefits.
Strangely, the status and pension benefits of the victorious military were reduced from 70 to 50 percent, and for civil bureaucracy it was enhanced from 30 to 50 percent. Mrs Gandhi allowed her bureaucracy to run amuck vis-a-vis the armed forces. Such was the level of humiliation that any Under-secretary of the Government of India could issue his own 'warrant of precedence'.
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