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  1. 1
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    Rabindra

    Assam Rifles is synonymous to the Indian Army (IA) despite being a MHA Force. It complements and supplements the efforts of the India Army and this aspect has been very clearly brought by Brig Chatterji in this article.
    That they easily enmesh themselves in the active operational environment of the Army is due to the fact that they train in a system which is copybook of IA with training imparted by Training staff who are exclusively trained only in the Army training institutions across the country.
    Add to this is the ethos and spirit of Assam Rifles which is no different from any Infantry Battalion of IA. This makes their presence in any theater of operation of the Armed Forces not a an aberration but as a seamless complement.
    The Air Force and the Navy too are very comfortable transiting through or being guarded by AR units as they don’t find them any different from the normal Infantry battalion.

    It has been experienced in numerous cases of operational debacles faced by CRPF, BSF and other CPO forces that it boils down to poor training, not adhering to SOPs, ambiguous orders and all these are pointers to poor leadership.
    Most of the senior ranks in the CPO are held by IPS cadre offrs whose exposure to Insurgency operations or deployment in the tier two defences or in lightly held areas or in anti infiltration tasks in in Border is very very limited as is their training . This more often than not translate into lapses in operations ,a result of poor training and leadership and the nation pays a heavy price for it.
    At unit and sector level too , there is a severe disconnect between the CPO troops , the CPO cadre ofrs and the IPS offrs who come on a two-three year deputation to command them. This disconnect doesn’t augur well for any SF organisation which is operationally deployed.

    In case the MHA takes over complete control of the AR and its delinked from its roots, the IA , then soon the AR standards will be comparable to those of the CPO . its high training standards , operational efficiency, excellent man management , ethos and values which gives strength to the Unit and most importantly their ease of interoperability with all wings of Armed Forces , will all be a thing of past.Indian Armed Forces and this nation will be the loser.
    Such an AR will not be able to deliver the same results as it is doing today in keeping at bay the North East militant outfits in Myanmar, nor will they be able to keep a check on them in the Seven sister states of North East. This deterioration will lead to security problems and create an additional burden on the IA.For IA to then restore the situation will be herculean and time consuming task as the lack of inter operability between the two organisations will adversely affect the operations of IA.

    Big Chatterji has flagged a very important issue which has direct bearing on the operational efficiency of the Indian Army and the the Armed Forces as a whole.

    I am of the opinion that the grievances and inconveniences of the AR veterans be addressed by the MHA on a war footing . For this ,MHA and IA should set up a liaison cell which caters to the AR Veterans needs.
    Secondly, , in case it is feasible, the operational and administrative control of the AR should be taken over by the IA in all its aspects with the budget provision being done by the MHA and an efficient book transfer system be put into vogue for timely transfer of funds to IA.

    Lastly, in case the third option is not feasible than status quo should be maintained with the addition of speedy redressal of grievances of the AR veterans by the MHA.

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  2. 2
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    M r pattar

    A well analysed piece. Having served as a bde Cdr with 8 AR BBS and covering both info China and India Myanmar borders as well as CI in Titan changlang any changes will ruin the ethos of this wonderful organisation. Hope good sense prevails
    If not then the army must stop depicting officers and let the MHA raise a cadre of offed and handle their muck

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  3. 3
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    Rabindra

    In addition to the points mentioned in my earlier comment , the major casualty of an inefficient AR in North East will be the peace that exists in North East India today. This peace has enabled these insurgency ridden NE states to develop and to get integrated with the rest of India. This i success story is that of AR , IA and India.
    In case the security situation deteriorates due to in efficiency of AR ,foreign nations inimical to India will capitalise on this situation and India and its Armed Forces will have a major task to try and again bring normalcy and development in these restive states of North East

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  4. 4
    Brig Yogesh Kapoor

    Brig Yogesh Kapoor

    Compliments to the authors for bringing up an issue that is on the throes of critical decision making by the CCS. The arguments meted perhaps clearly delineate in which basket the decision needs to fall.
    From the genesis of the Force to its present day organisation, the Force has grown both in numbers and in experience. In its contemporary role, it could be ascribed to stand by its motto of being the ‘Sentinels of the North East’ and for very good reasons. To them must go the credit of quelling the tribal unrest and insurgency and maintenance of law and order. It has countered insurgency along with the Army units co- located in the counter-insurgency grid with effective intelligence. Its cadre drawn from the North East have inherent advantages that accrue operational and Intelligence benefits.
    Ideally, the Force needs to come under the control of the MoD, for serving two masters has inherent lacunae’ and when that transcends into Welfare and Administration, the ‘raison d’ etre’ for the instant case, then a decision that benefits the State Operationally must tip the balance!

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  5. 5
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    Sohan Singh Negi

    Being a Para Military Force organised on military line and entirely headed and commanded by Army officers from company level to DG level The Assam Rifles shoud be kept under MoD like ICG and SFF.

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  6. 6
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    Sohan Singh Negi

    Being a para military force organised on military line, headed and entirely commanded by Army officers from company level to DG level The Assam Rifles must be kept under MoD like ICG and SFF.

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  7. 7
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    Dhananjay Jha

    All your concerns have one answer-Our NSA was an IPS.

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  8. 8
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    Arjun Singh Patwal

    The draft comment on issue of dual control of AR n tug of war between IA n MHA to get this force into their hand for all purposes written by Nitin A. Gokhale and Brig SK Chatterji (Retd) above is quite understandable but the actual need of hour in missing in this column. There is no problem as such as being discussed in above mentioned column written by both the renowned writers, but to understand the ground reality in terms of hardship of its membership; being less paid and less opportunities for rest and recoup in commensurate to their contribution to nations serving whole life in risked and hard areas. They only need around 30% of their service life be in less hard and risked area along with pay, perks and privileges as similar to Indian Army during service and after retirement. That’s all.. Regards. AS Patwal

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  9. 9
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    Negi

    I have served in AR over 39 years. Over the period of time have seen so many hardships while working in from one mountain to another with meager resources. Never complaint, but now time has come if I say over riped; ” that decision must be taken to avoid so many issues which as a solider I can’t bring to public”. People will oppose siding it to one fold bcoz their Deep interest is jeopardizing neglecting the welfare of 184 years old Force. One sided force will produce great results let it be rear area security during hot war scenario or containing CI in any part of India. This force is over due for its rights which is to be given now. My suggestion is to help to take correct decision & not harming any one else.

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  10. 10
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    Aquarius

    Great debate, AR must have organic operational and functional control under Army due to nature of deployment and joint training.

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