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Defense Services Chiefs as ex-officio members of Parliament

Whereas Pakistan army is playing a significant role in country’s politics, Indian Army has unfortunately accepted to lie low in front of politicians who have neither knowledge nor interest in Defense matters. The long term planning of a politician spans from one general election to next general election. This equation is very unfortunate.

The army ought to have demanded a constitutional say to veto political decisions when they trespassed expert advice. Only once we are told that Field Marshal Manekshaw dared to overrule Indira Gandhi. The result was grand success in 1971 war.

One option is to have Defense Services Chiefs as ex-officio members of Rajya Sabha where they can express the expert advice on Defense matters, otherwise many often their professional views get eclipsed from public gaze due to partisan interests of the ruling party. This happened frequently during pre 1962 period and we lamented later.  Many times the issues raised by Service Chiefs regarding shortage of manpower, materials, critical equipment get diluted as the government turns defensive to avoid criticism from opposition. By making entry as ex-officio members to Parliament, the service Chiefs need not face elections nor be under obligation of the ruling party. This will eliminate the political apprehensions of the politicians.

Also this will raise the morale of Defense personnel in general that their view point will be adequately projected before the august forums.

Chand K Sharma

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