Tuesday, March 21, 2017

Indian army's deployment in Kashmir

About a third of the Indian army - or nearly half a million men- is bogged down in Kashmir. The army sees this as helpful to keeping the forces combat ready. An article in EPW points out, however, that there are significant negatives to the army's deployment in Kashmir.

One, army excesses sully the army's name.

Two, the infantry gains in importance at the expense of other arms- witness the supercession by General Rawat of seniors with a distinguished record in other arms (although this may not be the only reason for the supercession).

Three, the need to contain China, given that a significant chunk of the army is tied up in Kashmir, has necessitated creation of fresh divisions. This, in turn, has led to revenue expenditure eating into capital expenditure and coming in the way of the army being able to implement its Cold Start doctrine- a quick, short war on the Western front- in retaliation for cross-border terrorism practised by Pakistan.

Four, the expansion of the office cadre has been fuelled mainly by recruits from UP, Uttarakhand and Haryana. This has implications for the overall composition of the army. The article also mentions that these are areas in which aggressive nationalism has wide acceptance and those joining the army would not be exempt from these influences. This could have implications for the army' s overall philosophy.

Army deployment in Kashmir, the author argues, has thus had a corrosive act on the army. But the big question which such analysts are not able to address suitably is: can we afford to pull the army out of Kashmir given that we have not been able to make much headway either with the people of Kashmir or with Pakistan?


Anonymous said...

Interesting observation on the geographically skewed recruitment of the officer cadre. One would generally assume otherwise given the national ambit of the entrance processes.

Sanket said...

Thanks for the interesting viewpoint and links to an interesting article.