The appointment of Shri. Rajnath Singh, a political heavy weight, man with outstanding credentials and the reputation of being a doer has raised enormous hopes among soldiers, sailors, airmen and veterans of all hues. It’s not without reason that the entire defence personnel and veterans feel they have been sidelined for too long. A community which has been instrumental in upholding the nation’s solidarity and integrity by battling wars and insurgencies, floods and tsunamis, for almost as long as the nation has been independent, feels peeved almost to the last man.
The letter by the Veteran Air Chief is an outstanding illustration of the depths to which the MoD’s relationships with the three services have gone down to and the cascading effects that it has had on multiple aspects of our armed forces.
The Air Chief Marshal starts his narrative by explaining the ‘Us versus Them’ attitude in the MoD that lays the turf for an uneven relationship between the bureaucracy and the services, and robs it of faith, trust and synergy. He also expresses his hope, that the care and concern that the Minister has shown for the PMFs will be reflected in his approach to the services.
Amongst other issues, the retired Air Chief has suggested that the Minister trust the three Chiefs and not be bound by bureaucratic advice. He has also in his letter alluded to the process of selection for higher ranks, jointness, equipment modernization and a host of other issues.
The letter is reproduced beneath without editing.
Retired Air Chief PV Naik’s Open Letter To The Raksha Mantri
Hon Raksha Mantri,
Please accept my heartiest congratulations on winning so convincingly from your constituency Lucknow. I also congratulate you on taking over the prestigious appointment of Raksha Mantri. I am well aware of your vast and varied experience in the political field. Lok Sabha MP, Union Cabinet Minister for Surface Transport, CM of UP, Union Agriculture Minister, BJP National President and in 2014 the Union Home Minister. A most impressive CV. But what impressed me even more was your MSC Physics and the efforts to improve awareness of our traditional sciences like Vedic mathematics.
2. I am happy that you will bring the full weight of your multi-faceted experience to bear on your job as Raksha Mantri. It also warms the cockles of my heart that, finally, someone with political clout has taken over this Ministry. The country needs it. When I reflect on my innings with the IAF I find that a couple of times when I was appointed to a post similar to the one I held earlier, I felt I knew everything about the job. Invariably, an unpleasant surprise or two before I was back on line. Far be it from me to presume even a modicum of complacency on your part, I genuinely feel that I need to acquaint you, sir, with some differences you might notice in the Raksha Mantralaya.
3. One major difference is that the Defence Ministry is unlike any other. All other ministries have a singularity of purpose. All members of the ministry work towards the same aim. In your Ministry it is ‘us’ versus ‘them’. Through the Seventies, Eighties and the Nineties, the bureaucracy continued to acquire disproportionate powers vis-à-vis the Service Chiefs. The bureaucracy conveniently points to the “Government of India Transaction ofBusiness Rules” framed in 1961 under the constitutional powers of the President of India. These documents continue to guide the conduct of business by the Government of India. It is instructive to read the document. Under these rules, the three Service headquarters were designated as “Attached Offices of the Department of Defence”, and are, therefore, placed in a position subordinate to the DoD. The Service Chiefs, as professional heads of the three Armed Forces and with experience garnered over a period of at least four decades, found no mention in these rules. The Secretary Department of Defence on the other hand, according to these rules, is responsible for Defence of India and every part thereof including preparation for defence and all such acts as may be conducive in times of war to its prosecution and after its termination to effective Demobilisation. It is, in fact, a crying need that the Armed Forces be integrated with MOD and become a part of the decision making apparatus. We should start small, say at Director level, and make it work before taking it further. This, sir, is the first step. Without this, the rest is cosmetic.
4. If you permit me I would like to highlight some issues for your kind consideration in subsequent paras. I do not presume to render advice to such a seasoned and experienced person as you, but I feel these issues are important and, if addressed expeditiously and correctly, will pay you good dividends. Over the last five years we have seen the care & concern you have bestowed over the Para Military Forces(PMF).On their advice, I am sure, you would not have hesitated in asking for the Armed Forces(AF) help in difficult situations. Now, sir, you will have to switch loyalties in a hurry. Excessive use of the AF in aid to civil authority is detrimental to morale and training suffers. The same care you lavished over the PMF now has to go to the AF also.
5. The next step is to see the lie of the land. By the time you read this, you would already have started your visits starting with the glamorous Siachen. Visit Tawang and Arunachal. Visit Nagaland. Visit forward areas in Rajasthan. Go to the forward units. Mingle with soldiers. Share a cup of tea in an enamel mug. Eat fresh pakodas in a cracked plate. Do not give them speeches but talk to them & listen to them. You will get an idea of their life spent in the service of the nation. Appreciate the hardships. Please visit the forward Air Force and Naval bases too. The aim is to gain the trust of the soldier. Promise them only what you can deliver. But deliver on your promises.
6. Centuries ago the worldly wise Chanakya told the king of Magadh: “The Mauryan soldier does not himself the Royal treasuries enrich nor does he the Royal granaries fill… The soldier only and merely ensures that… He is thus the very basis and silent, barely visible cornerstone of our fame, culture, physical well-being and prosperity; in short, of the entire nation building activity. While the Magadha citizenry endeavours to make the State prosper and flourish, the Mauryan soldier guarantees that the State continues to exist!” may I suggest, sir, that this be the cornerstone of your policy during your tenure as RM. There is a growing perception among the AF that they have been hard done by successive govts. A sense of denigration is slowly pervading the field. When the need for National security arises, they are made much of, and studiously ignored thereafter. Not to mention discriminatory deals like Warrant of Precedence, MFU or Pay grade anomalies, a soldier’s prime mover is ‘Izzat’. One of your prime asks is going to be to restore the pride of the soldier.
7. Learn to trust your Chiefs of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. By the end of the year you will have three new Chiefs. These are officers who have been through the mill for almost fourdecades. They carry a wealth of knowledge and experience in matters pertaining to military security. Harness this wealth. Give them easy access to your office. Their loyalty is already absolute. As a corollary, you, too, must gain their trust. I am sure you have already started having briefings every morning. May I suggest you avoid this temptation. Do not concern yourself with routine. Nothing would please the bureaucracy more than to tie you up with routine and the mundane. I think a weekly meeting with the Def sec & the Chiefs would suffice, but do minute these meetings for follow up. For military grievances, ask military advice. For a solution, involve both the military and the babus. Please, for heavens’ sake, do not take military decisions based solely on the shadow files created by Babus. Do consult the Chiefs. Sir, I have a small suggestion regarding the selection of Chiefs. Nobody denies that merit based selection, with due deference to seniority, is the best method. The question is who determines merit? Is it the RM under Def Secy’s advice? Is it the PMO? Is it Intel or the NSA? All the above have only peripheral knowledge of the officer concerned. Besides political leanings, we need to factor in professionalism too. So whose advice counts in the Appointments Committee? May I suggest a panel involving all the above plus an ex Chief of the same Service?
8. The premier need of all three Services today is equipment. Tanks, guns, aircraft, ships, weapons, ammo. Please give it top priority. May I sincerely urge you not to fiddle around with DPP initially. Instead, remove the blockages. Find out who is responsible for delay and let the heads roll. Today’s procurement cycle is about six to eight years. The PM’s policy of ‘Make in India’ is vital for us. Try to clear the way for Private sector to participate in Defence production. Try to create a level playing field. They are ever so willing to contribute. I would urge you to view HAL and DRDO with more than a modicum of concern. They are monolithic and need critical surgery. Ideally, they need to be sub divided into manageable entities under professional management. Presently, just make them more accountable. The serious business can follow.
9. I believe implicitly in civilian control over the military. My understanding of civilian control is what was iterated in the Anglo-French war. The orders to English generals were” To demolish France but not to such an extent that she is unable to rise again”. This is the desirable scale of civilian control over the military. It should deal with higher directions of war and grand strategy. Over the years, a series of leaders have let this control degenerate into Bureaucratic Control, nay, Bureaucratic Interference. It has permeated into fields like promotions, postings, liaison visits to friendly countries, even such routine necessities like canteens and messes. This unnecessary interference is leading to wastage of man hours and inefficiency. I am sure you are the right man to reverse the trend.
10. I strongly feel that we need to improve ‘jointness’ among the three Services. It has been working well all these years. However, Technology has vastly increased the lethality and speed of battle demanding faster decision making. India’s aspirations and her zone of influence are on the rise. We need to think ‘Joint’. Plan and execute jointly. In fact, occupying a ‘joint’ billet should be a prerequisite to higher promotions. I think now is the right time to initiate preliminary discussions on the appointment of a Chief of Defence Staff(CDS). There are many questions to be answered. What type of CDS do we want. He should not be a mere figurehead. He should be the single point of advice to the RM. What should his powers be? Will the powers- that- be comfortable with this much power concentrated in one military person? Do we need Theatre Commands? Who controls the nukes? These are very difficult questions to answer. You have a long tenure ahead of you, sir, to find the answers, provided we start early.
11. I would like to close this letter by paraphrasing from Chanakya’s advice to his king “….If ever things come to a sordid pass, O King, when, on a given day, the Mauryan soldier has to LOOK BACK over his shoulder (‘Simhawalokana’) prompted by even a single nagging worry about his and his family’s material, physical and social well being, it should cause you and your Council the greatest concern and distress! It is my bounden duty to caution you, My Lord, that the day when the Mauryan soldier has to demand his dues or, worse, plead for them, will neither have arrived suddenly, overnight nor in vain. It will also bode ill for Magadha. For then, on that day, you, My Lord, will have lost all moral sanction to be Raja Dhiraja! It will also mark the beginning of the end of the Mauryan Empire!!” I think Chanakya brings out very clearly what the society owes a soldier. His self-respect must never be trifled with. Do not be lulled by the term ’equivalence’. A soldier’s task is a thousand times more onerous. The rest, sir, I leave to your decency and judgment.
12. You, sir, have a vast span of control and a large responsibility. I hope you find the time to go through my open letter. I have put down, in good faith, issues and suggestions which are relevant to the defence of the country and the Armed forces. All that remains for me is to wish you a very successful and rewarding tenure as RM.
With warm regards,
Air Chief Mshl
Order of Precedencel from soldier to the Cheifs needs to be relooked and revised upwards.
A lowly clerk in the cool environs of an office cannot be compared to a soldier in the front.
Similarly for all ranks.
Enough risking lives for dominance by arrogant babus.
1. I salute the ex IAF for putting across his views so courageously .
2. Hope the worthy RM finds time to go through them which will serve him a valuable check list. The expectations from the RM are very high.
3. Such endeavors should be taken by many other Veterans from time to time to share their unique and vast experiences. This will overcome the shortcomings of ground knowledge & experience of babua and politicians.
Well written open letter.
Would RM mind to read such a letter !!!
Hope so !!!!!!!
Timely inputs to the RM !
This letter typically states problems or hindrances faced by top echelons of Indian armed forces. This letter presents one sided view and appears to be focused on achieving near Monopoly on defence matters..
This doesn’t speak of growing unhappiness amongst mid level officers and Airmen.This also doesn’t speak about opening up of decision making processes other than ops matters..
Very aptly summed up and put forward.
Very well articulated views…should help RM formulate his action plan, if he is sincere to the job at hand.
Would this former Air Chief have read a letter of a similar nature whilst in office, if written by a midrung officer ?
You feed the beast and then the beast feeds on you.
Very well written sir. Regards
Well written…but our senior most guy should also hav balls …..should not always blame babus….just 4 a rank a guy sidelined his superiors…wat about military history teaching us dat their were officers who told politicians straight away dat i ll not take over as xyz is senior to me…leave it…first of all we have to have balls ….pehle apna ghar thik karo den kisi aur ko blame karo…a governor rank is much more sought after …bahut kuch hai likhne ko but kya karen….atleast we can learn from ias/ips lobby…how steong dey r…dey fight 4 everything together…but us…sad
An excellent brief open letter by an ex Chief Of Air staff, Air Chief Mshl PV Naik to our Hon’ble Raksha Mantri on his assuming command of Defence Forces as a Defence Minister. He is most suitable person for the job. We Veterans are sure as usual he will deliver. He is a doer and will do everything best for our AF.He will help in making all three services improve their professional skill and be strong to give a befitting reply to our adversaries across the border on two vital fronts. He needs to raise the morale of three fighting services by ensuring that they have the best fighting arms, ammunition and equipment and a highly motivated man behind the weapon/ machine. The morale of soldiers of three services needs a boost.He should get best equipment, status and pay and must feel pride in his service and motherland. He should be so motivated to lay down his life w/o fear and with total disregard to his personal and family safety and future.The nation is there behind him to take care of all his obligations towards his family and children. Adv ( Col) Ashok Leekha, Gurgaon-09
An excellent letter/article on the maladies afflicting the Armed Forces & its relations with the bureaucracy. Hard hitting, brutally frank and to the point. Mr Rajnath Singh would do well to read this letter himself & take appropriate action if National security is paramount in his perception.
Well said sir.
Hats off to Ex Air Chief.. Conveyed to the Point without any ambiguity.. We hope RM is wise enough to ponder over the problems and solutions suggested.
Wish this ACM letter clears the bureaucratic bottleneck and reaches RM. The forces have been suffering too long. Time to heal the wounds given by bureaucrats.
This matter has already been over delayed and it is high time to do justice.
The foreign affairs is assigned to a foreign secretary who just retired. In the same lines really at a loss to understand as to why defence cannot be given to an ex general or any one who has been with the Armed Forces for a brief period. Only then can some one understand the whole issue. Without military service one can’t just see,hear and read and understand the whole game by babus . Or just ask as to how and how much will MOD be held accountable if there’s a failure in war.
A very relevant and informative letter covering what is ailing our Defence Forces today. It will pay rich dividends if R M will follow the advice rendered by the Ex CAS.
Brig Dinesh Mathur
On PV Naik’s letter to RM, I hold contrarian views.
What must happen is a joint ex Chiefs meeting with RM in person. If all ex Chiefs shed their egos and discuss all the points face to face is far better than than letters. We may have a negative response to individual letters of Chiefs. I would recommend Mr Rajiv Chandershekar MP be involved.
Brig Dinesh Mathur
Ex 103 GD(P) Course
I agree totally with Dubboo Mathur Sir. The only hurdle is will the Babus allow such a meeting to take place?
The RM must take the initiative and have periodic meetings with former Chiefs of all three Services, without interference by the Babus (they must be present but only to note down the points to record the Minutes of the Meeting; that’s what they are actually meant to do!), so that there is direct exchange of information and views. The same Chiefs must not be called for every meeting. That will give the RM a well rounded perspective. Ashim
Would like to thank Air Chief Marshal for bringing out the facts adversally affecting the functioning of AF & the remidial measures. Ur contribution to AF by way of this open letter to RM will open many chapters to safeguard the intersts of AF in general & NATION in particular. I hope other ex & serving Chiefs also hold the initiative taken by the Air Marshal Naik. Good Luck AFs. Jai Hind
Col HARISH RASTOGI
A very well drafted letter, accurate and to the point. An eye opener and the illustrious new RM would do well to take note of matters mentioned by the ex Air Chief Marshal. Since I have also served with him at the Barrielly Air Base where he was Chief Ops Officer, I can say it comes from his heart. Hats off, PVN Sir, for a very well documented open letter to RM.
Superb and well-thought out suggestions to our new Raksha Mantri by Air Chief Marshal P.V.Naik (Retd.)!
It is high time, that besides providing the necessary “tools” urgently required by our armed forces to defend our country or fight a war, it is imperative that closer integration of the three services is worked out for better coordination in a theatre of war.
The appointment of a CDS with adequate powers should be finalised immediately.
And last but not the least, restoration of the “izzat” of the soldier, starting with the Warrant of Precedence, pay anomalies etc.
D. K. Bhambri
An excellent article. Brings out various malises the armed forces are facing today.
I hope the honourable RM will spare time to not only read the letter but also address the various issues brought out there in at his earlest . I have great respect for Mr Rajnath Singh and was truely elated when l learnt that he is our new RM. I feel he is the most suitable person for the job. Being the second most senior cabinet minister the serving and retired faujis have great hope and expectations from him. I am sure he will live up to the same
I convey my best wishes to him for a very successful tenure .
With warm regards
D. K. Bhambri, Cdr, IN(Retd)
Super write up which the new RM would hopefully imbibe ..many of these aspects would have got addressed if our nation had a culture of periodic armed forces reviews as other leading militaries do!
Col Pramod kumar
A letter to the point. All imp issues very well highlighted. I feel RM will take pride in his work and military will get benefitted. Weldone Veteran Chief.
Cmde VB Iyer, VSM( Retd)
A very precise and unambiguous , open letter to the RM. I wonder who will open this letter for the RM and who will put it up to him – will it be put up at all or will the letter be pasted with a ‘post it’ giving the Air Chief Marshal’s biodata and saying, ” all issues will be looked into, reply letter is being drafted and will be put up to RM”
A well articulated letter which essentially covers all the facets that affect the Armed Forces. The interference of the bureaucracy in routine functioning has also been nicely brought out. Civilian supremacy and frequent use of Armed Forces for Aid to Civil Authority have also been well covered. Hope RM reads it, doesn’t give it to a Babu to summarise
Major Arun Phatak
I am so happy to read this article which must be read by RM personally and not given to a Babu to paraphrase and put up to him If he follows the sane advice in this document to the tee He will revolutionise the MOD entire Armed Forces ( serving & retired ) will feel proud that their prestige has been restored by this new bold ,strong and decisive RM who will go down the history as the Best RM who could not be manipulated by Babus for their own selfish desire to control AF Very well written article Pradeep Very proud of you Major Arun Phatak
Colonel abhay patwardhan
I hope RM will atleast reason the points put up by ex Air Chief.if it is left to babu’s to interpret, whole exercise is a waste.Preybetter sense prevails.Amen.
Very practical and important issues . Need to be understood and addressed by Raksha Mantri to have an effective and combat ready Armed Forces. National security is our collective responsibility .
Well thought out worthy advice for good of the nation, the ministry and the Services especially in the transition times the region is experiencing.
Lt Gen .V.M.Patil
Congratulations to ACM PVN. Professional approach with facts out across frankly and honestly from his vast knowledge, background and experience. Urgent need to carry forward from this letter to RM by all of us , who have national interests at heart. Nitin you will get one more view by Saturday . It will contain many issues which we 4 have had the privilege to share with late MP between 2014 to2016. Take it for whatever is it’s worth.
Colonel Ram K Sharma
An excellent initiative. May I request for Air Cheif Marshal Naik e mail and postal address to enable me offer my full support and dedicated follow up.
Col Arun Mamgain
The former Chief has spoken well.
May The Lord bless the govt the ability to see the writing on the wall,it is too late already.
Will his Babu put this up on file?
An ageing AN 32 is down,many lessons to learn.RM ji should find time for his Def Forces.
If this govt doesn’t then no other will.
Gp Capt G Saxena, Veteran
Kudos to Naik sir, for compiling all the complex & compelling issues the AF and MOD is beseeched with. Very well articulated. Question is whether they will be taken off the drawing board and dealt with on ground.
Gp Capt G Saxena, Veteran. Lucknow
Hope the RM reads it in right earnest and adopts the suggestions and recommendations…
Lt Col R. D. Sharma
Most balanced, accurate and timely advice from a Chief who has gone through the mill. Hon. RM is a mature seasoned and capable leader. Hope, he reads every word of it with a free mind, free from bias and without leaning on advisers.
R A Sharma
What’s so ever suggestive important point written in the letter to R M, are repetetion of points conveyed to various athorties and PMO. One Babu will underline the points raised, which do not fall in line ofGovt policies resulting NFA remark and file it. All aspects of Armd forces are well known to burocrates and decisions are taken accordingly. Do not miss chances of Raj Matri/ Governor.Do not take my comments to heart but face the reality of the day. thanks
Sh. Rajnath Singh ji, is a learned, seasoned & experienced heavy weight politician. IAFs & MoD are lucky. But, the anti- IAFs culture created & supported by the IAS & Civilian Officers’ Lobby, would be a Herculean Challenge for any RM or PM, to confront & still survive successfully. Veteran, Air Chief Marshal PV Naik’s recommendations are very articulately comprehensive & highly appreciated. Today’s, the most burning requirement in the Government, is to shift the mind set & focus of our MoD, to the “Singularuty of Purpose”, from “anti IAFs” to “in- favour- of IAFs”. It is not the Gun, but, the Man behind the Gun who works like a machine if his Morale is High. Thus, the entire focus is needed to be worked as to how the Indian Soldier’s/ Veteran’s sagging Moral can be boosted! If Sh. Rajnath Singh ji, passes this Acid-test, Indian Defence Forces can repeat 1971 on any war-front. Best Wishes & regards! Veteran, Brig SP Singh, SM
Excellent. Fortunately it is for the first time that a rational and considerably heavy weight politician has been placed at the helms of affairs of MOD, I only hope he listens to the advice of Generals, Admirals and Sir Sirf Mashal to set the MOD tight rather than be guided by bureaucrats in the mod who have no knowledge of what fighting the enemy within and outside involves. There would be a great hope in the new Raksha mantry if he listens to his own intellect rather than be guided by others specially the beaurocrats in his ministery.
Excellent. Fortunately it is for the first time that a rational and considerably heavy weight politician has been placed at the helms of affairs of MOD, I only hope he listens to the advice of Generals, Admirals and Air Chief Mashals to set the MOD right rather than be guided by bureaucrats in the mod who have no knowledge of what fighting the enemy within and outside involves. There would be a great hope in the new Raksha mantry if he listens to his own intellect and the experts in field rather than be guided by others specially the beaurocrats in his ministery.
Raj Pargat Singh
Absolutely on the target. Also needs relook in promotion systems. We need fit for war men and not arm chair administrators. Cantt and military station upkeep should not need fighting soldiers. MES and Cantt Boards require urgent revamping. Realistic training and preparation for operational task must be the key points.
A very sane, in depth and practical hints from a guy, a through bred professional leader and ex chief who has an intimate and personal awareness and complexities of the issues involved.
Hope it reaches trhe ears/ mind/so of Sri Rajnath ingh Jeee
Excellent article . The advice rendered should be followed by the RM, the Babus and Men in uniform. All have a role to play and contribute positively. The facts given by the experienced ex Air Chief are out of sheer experience . Should this advice be ignored , it’s at the cost of the security of the country.
Col H S Singha
A very comprehensive and future looking experience mentioned in the form of a very logical letter. I very sincerely wish that serving Generals should put up such notes to the RM as proof of their loyalty and dedication to service. Let us wait and pray that Chanakya’s advice reaches the P M. Col H S Singha @ [email protected] yahoo.co.in.
Dr V N Jha
I know Air Chief Mshl Naik who hardly believed in talking for the sake of talk….but when he talked, it meant a lot, the heavens….
Although the entire letter is fully relevant, two narratives touch the readers the most…
1. “Do not concern yourself with routine. Nothing would please the bureaucracy more than to tie you up with routine and the mundane”.
2. ” Try to clear the way for Private sector to participate in Defence production. Try to create a level playing field. They are ever so willing to contribute. I would urge you to view HAL and DRDO with more than a modicum of concern. They are monolithic and need critical surgery”.
I sincerely hope RM and the PMO looks in to it seriously……for the good of the nation.
Brig BU Kumar (Retd)
A very apt, pointed and timely epistle- written in a true military fashion. RM must take time to read and analyse the contents, perhaps have a meeting with the author and ideally share it with the PM. RM ideally must call for a ‘chai pe charcha’ with maximum retired Chiefs of all three Services and find out the ills haunting the Military of late. Current Chiefs must put their heads down and ask themselves what each of them have done to make things better. In fact, ‘jointmanship’ must start at the Chiefs’ level. Perhaps this will be better facilitated by a CDS.
A perfect initiative by a very senior eligible veteran.
JAI HIND. JAI HIND KI SENA
N R Kanthy
Very well said Sir. I dont think the message could have been any clearer.
If all this exist we bow our heads to forces that they still kept us safe. Mr RM will do get rid of f these. We want to see action sir
Col N K Jain
Show casing of the ailments of current system has been drafted nicely. I commend sir marshal of his deep understanding of the malaise and also having courage to pen it.
Col V P Kapoor
A very diligent,based on facts and the ‘ Us ve Them’ syndrome is very old. Right from Nehru till UPA-2 the Armed forces have been ridiculed ,illequipped and kept pace with modernisation the world Armies have gone thro.The Public Sector Def ordance factories though form part of Def Budget but their performance is Babu oriented. These be decentralised and industry be geared to meet the Armed forces demand. HAL is the biggest white elephant which has not given a single aircraft to The AF nor provided proper maint to the MIGs. Sir keep the tail short and take the white elephants of Ord factories from the back of Def.
As Babus are ruling and are well trenched they will not allow the RM to function freely along with the 3 Chiefs.
Many Chiefs and senior officers have written earlier too but of no consequence. Only hope a start can me made by the new RM of such a seniority. Decision making is a big problem with most Politicians but lot of expectations from Rajnath Singh. Only future will tell.
Col V P Kapoor
A very diligent and professional advice , my gratitude to Air Marshal Naik. The policy from Nehru to UPA-2 has been of degrading the soldier, not serious in regular modernisation and replacement of obsolete items of equipment. The Ord factories being Def Budget need to be privatised for better management and get out of ‘ sarkari damaad’ culture. HAL needs to be stream lined as it has not given a single aircraft nor carried proper maintenance of MIGs which was outsourced to them let industry care.
Lt Col RP Singh
The letter suggest actions to be taken by The Govt for The Govt to strengthen the defence of The Nation Governed by them👌
P L Choudhar
Very well written….all issues addressed in brief….definitely some people laugh on it as norm in our country….but I m sure seeing the personality of Mr Rajnath Singh….he will definitely spent time on this letter and will restore the “Morale & Izzat” of Armed Forces….
Loyalty long after an air warrior has folded his wings! Is further proof of devotion & dedication, commitment and pride in service to the Nation needed? Thank you, Air Chief Marshal, Veteran, for rendering service beyond the call of duty, in writing this thoughtful and constructive letter to our new Raksha Mantri.
A very apt and timely advise indeed. The Modi 2.0 is expected to be a fast moving juggernaut. There is a clear apprehension that services may loose out again in the renewed jostling for pecking order within the ministry, as has been the repeated story since independence, in every front.
It’s easy to muffle the voices of service HQs by the entrenched bureaucracy. Even integration of MoD and Services HQ has not happened in a true sense, hence this apprehension. IDS has further been embroiled in CDS debate thus creating a rift amongst the Services. A great deal of maturity and statesmanship is required in implementing such weighted decisions and in taking the three services onboard in the process.
ACM Naik is seized of the historical importance of this time. His advise stems from his vast experience. The advise at this crucial juncture is a caution indeed.
Jai Hind !
– Gp Capt Sundeep Mehta (veteran)
At first – in reading the topic only; I felt oh! Yet another attempt to be critical. BUT THEN, once starting to read I couldn’t help but applauding the Ex Chief for a balanced and pragmatic article. So logical, honest, simple and effective.
Very nice article but may I ask you sir were was you when all this happened in your tenure as Air chief. Why you didn’t came forward that time to resolve these issue why you had not taken stand that this is enough. Now it’s trend ever chief when retire then he start writing to gain game. Sorry sir but it’s bitter Truth
An excellent letter by Air Chief Marshal PV Naik. If the RM goes into the contents of this letter unbiased, this would immensely help him resolve various issues facing the defence services. This would also help him establish good relationship between bureaucracy and the military.
Excellent. Straight forward. And so true illustration of affairs . Thankyou sir ……Babus need to be kicked out. It’s high time….
Well summarised by the ex air chief. If the alarm bells are still not ringing in the corridors of the power in MOD and they choose to ignore it once again then we as a country are doomed and will only learn when it will be too late.
i agree with most of what he says but my question is why do the veterans only remember to give unsolicited public mails/advice to this govt but kept their mouths shut during earlier regimes , why did chiefs like him allow the denigration of the Chiefs office under their watch, was it for post retirement benefits or appointments & suddenly these gentlemen who KEPT QUIET WHEN THE EARLIER REGIME was scamming the nation by doctoring requirements of equipment etc .All these deficiencies did not happen suddenly but over a period of years if not decades….. my unsolicited advice is please give your advice but sparingly & confidentially & NOT make them public
Your statement is a standard muzzle used by many against the forces veterans.
You should be aware that Forces are part of the establishment and soldiers have to follow the laid down protocol till their last day in service.
To refresh your memory, it was ACM Naik who dug in his heels against use of offensive air assets against Maoist insurgency in Chhattisgarh. And went public with his views. It was a historic step that prevented what could have discredited the country across the world.
Military leader grow through their experience at every level of hierarchy and clearly understand relevance of restraint, both by words and bullets.
– Group Captain Sundeep Mehta ( veteran)
The country invests thousands of crores in defence forces.Every Indian places faith in the Defence Forces.Each of us must ponder whethether the confidence placed by nation in us has been reciprocated.
Col. S JS Chatrath
An excellent piece of advice explained with utmost clarity. If anything,I feel, our honourable RM should be happy to get such free and frank input/ advice from an experienced veteran soldier.
Letter written with all sincerity, fulil faith, and boundless expectations from new Govt. and from a seasoned well-meaning RM country got , this time. Unfortunately, post independence history points discouragesly towards any positive response from a Govt. All successive governments did nothing or further degraded the AFs.. Such a trend very likely to continue because of’ them’ . We don’t have Chandragupta here to implement well-meaning advices. Time will prove me wrong, so I wish.
Lt Col J G Gogate, Veteran
An excellent advice coming from a highly experienced and mature veteran. I am sure the RM will take serious cognisance of all the issues highlighted in this open letter. Let’s hope for the same.
Very well articulated . But is the RM listening. Or will it meet the same fate as the letter written by 10 ex chiefs.
Capt Arun Samant
I think the new RM is open to such advices and suggestions as written in the letter. The RM means business, PM Modi means business and India deserves the best amalgamation of the three services, procurements of weaponry and an impeccable standard of cohesiveness. More and more Officers and Jawans to be recruited, trained and the strength of our Defence Forces be increased. I might add here that in Defence matters, weightage to the three Chiefs should be given, thereby sidelining bureaucrats.
A M Goyal
The views of Air Chief need to be considered. It’s true that Bureaucrats who don’t have any expertise on defence matters and not exposed to ground realities have a larger say in decision making. The best way out is to appoint a serving General equivalent officer as defence Secretary to have a better coordination.
Naiyer Iqbal Razzaqui
The downward slide was noticeable for decades… With not even a token effort to arrest it…Armed forces were ruderless ships, floating aimlessly on turbulent waters.
Pradeep sir,you have done yeoman service by highlighting in a forthright manner some vital issues.
Hope the RM has the the maturity and courage that you have display in abundance..Jai Hind Chief..
Razz, what a delightful surprise hearing from you. And a slightly belated Eid Mubarak to you,Nigar, Kashif &Sana(?) from Madhu n I. I hope the Angrezi meets with your approval. Regards, Pradeep
excellant and very practical and very useful advise and i hope that RM takes this letter as a
Advice and must implement for the betterment of mod+ FROM COL R JANAKIRAMAN(rtd)
1. I salute the ex IAF for putting across his views so courageously .
2. Hope the worthy RM finds time to go through them which will serve him a valuable check list. The expectations from the RM are very high.
3. Such endeavors should be taken by many other Veterans from time to time to share their unique and vast experiences. This will overcome the shortcomings of ground knowledge & experience of babua and politicians.
Col Sunder K Lalvani
Col Sunder K Lalvani, Veteran
Dear Air Chief Marshal Naik
I daresay, you have done the AF truly Proud with your free, frank & constructive views; put across articulately; if may say, “hit the nail on the head!”
I am sure, many of us have been nursing the thought of putting across many such uncomfortable issues. Thank you for taking the initiative.
I earnestly hope that the RM will deliberate over our concerns & put them across most appropriately for timely implementation; time being of critical concern.
May appropriate measures be put into action timely, to retain our prestige of being one of the finest armies in the World!
Ha ha ha, so the ex has spoken. Didn’t have any teeth when he was in chair. Wish he spoke when in chair, that time scare of chair. Could only laugh at such pitiable state. Be like admiral sushil who resigned rather than giving in to demands. What happened after that….. Nothing. So chill. Political masters will always enjoy the pakora and tea and we will be stewards that’s all.
A true professional writing an open letter to the most seasoned politician. I am sure, it shall have impact in his future decision making.
It’s time to call a spade a spade.
And I am sure that Mr Rajnath will take cognisence of the fact.
MODI HAI TO MUMKIN HAI.
Pradeep Vasant Naik, retired Air Chief Marshal’s letter to the new Raksha Mantri, who I hopefully presume has been placed in that position by PM Modi to sort out and streamline the Ministry of Defence for India to exist and survive as a Nation State with all its requisites including a Military Doctrine, which it currently does NOT possess, is apt, both to give the new occupant of this pivotal post, a good understanding as a greenhorn, though experienced in other fields in handling other ministries and portfolios, a different take on the queer functioning of the Ministry of Defence on the basis of some archaic and scheming policy used by the bureaucrats in the absence of good oversight by politicians, and to educate the nation the importance of the INSURANCE GUARANTEE offered by the SOLDIER’S to the populace in keeping the peace, so that all people can live, function and prosper as a nation and pursue happiness in a Democratic country in which the Military functions, not under bureaucratic control, but under political control as defined by that wise, able, crafty, thinker-philosopher, teacher, jurist, author of ‘Arthashastra’ , a political treatise, and was the royal adviser to Chandragupta Maurya.
The feet of DRDO and the likes should be held to the fire, as was Von Braun and his team in Nazi Germany, in the quest of V2 rocket. Not his fault for sure, as he was trying hard in difficult circumstances, but still. Failures are a part of development of rocket and missile technology. He later, after WWII, became Director of NASA in the US helped to put the Americans on the Moon under more favorable environment. GTRE only produced ‘Gas’ as I told them when being trained in Flight Safety – Sad at how these organizations functioned as ‘white elephants’. This is the same country that excels in Space. Confidence has to be given to the soldier that these weapons will function as needed and as designed when needed in the conduct of future wars, which hopefully no adversary will launch based on the substantial deterrence that India possesses and the knowledge that India will use these elements of VIOLENCE when needed without hesitancy. The ability of the use of ‘controlled’ ‘violence’ as part of the existence of a Nation State has to be understood by one and all, as otherwise it a goner and India will be a subject of ridicule and be a subject of other powers near and far. The Himalayas will no longer be a barrier against aggression as we were taught in Geography, as one of the three main advantages of this Great Mountain Range, the other two being blocking the cold Siberian winds and keeping the Monsoon bearing clouds within India watering the fertile Indo-Gangetic Plains.
Pradeep Sir, I salute you for this action by you to advise the new Raksha Mantri. Just to let you know, I am a still hunter for food and will drink ‘Goat’s Blood’ if needed to survive.
Air Chef Marshal PV Naik , Retired, is from Natiional Defence Academy, one course senior(33NDA) to me(34NDA), but of the same age. We underwent Flying Instructor’s Course as Flying Officers in Jan 1975.
Brigadier Dinesh Mathur Sir, it caught my eye, when I saw under your description, ‘103 Pilots Course’ – Our Senior Man in Mohammed-a-bad Bidar, when at Elementary Flying School. I am AJ Singh, Retired Wing Commander and Gnat Pilot. Proud to have served India honorably for 23 years as Officer and Fighter Pilot.
Let me ponder on one aspect, selection of Service Heads. It should strictly follow the seniority of the guys lined up.
Reasons . Firstly, all are equally competent and loyal. Most importantly , favouritism is eliminated !
Jai Hind ka Sena
C N Anand
There is an interesting article which makes an attempt to look within:
Very well explained. This point of view was many times brought out by a number of
senior officers from Defence Services. But, I am afraid, all the points may be
viewed from Political Angle. This has been going one over a long period of time.
The letter is a guidance from Defence angle. I only hope the Defence Minister
should take as “National Defence Point of View”. I am 80 yrs old Veteran…
Very well written sir. All points plaguing Armed Forces have been addressed in brief.Its for the RM to take the call and his advise to foster confidence among the three services. Most importantly, the beaurocratic influence on RM must be eliminated at all cost. Secondly,the RM and the Government must get rid of the likely coup
phobia about defence forces.
If they ever have such intentions, no power on the earth can stop such a coup. Neither NSA nor the Police Forces coùld ever match the might. Why fear them for no reason. Its the Beaurocrats with their dirty mind injected this poison in to political system to beat the Forces for their personal gains.
I even recommend RM to transfer the command and control of BSF,SSB,ITBP PMF to Army for better command and coordination. This will creat additional posts at higher echelons as there is very little scope for expansion in AF. Hope RM will head the advise and act accordingly.
Col Govind Pant
A decent advise but would it penetrate the system ? Nobody is bothered about 4 decades of yeomen military service rendered by the Chiefs.
In certain ways our chiefs too are required to be blamed for obious reasons.
Its time for actionable introspection.Merely writing blog would not suffice.All of us should become party to it.
Every retd person can write such letters but they do not say when in service. Why? Remember armed forces are “cash eaters” does not give votes to ruling govt during peacetime, that is why it is remembered after war that too for a short time.
Hi Pradeep,I read your open letter to the Raksha Mantri ji with great curiosity and interest and I have to say honestly it left me thinking deeply about the precarious and complex situation the Armed Forces are going through today-what with the increasing interest in our Cantonments,canteens and God forbid in the Medical facilities provided to us.I as a thinking citizen of this Great Country who has a tremendous faith in our Present Leadership have a full confidence that your open letter will be received ,read and acted upon in the spirit it has been written,My Very Best Wishes to you for your Health and Happiness.Aruna Sareen.
Lt Col J W Danday
I have been reading such advice from the veterans for the last 25 years. What strikes me is when the RM reads and always calls for the comments from the Babus who control the Def Ministry. When the RM wants to implement any of the remedial measures the Bubu will raise a ‘Red Flag’ to caution for unknown repercussions for the reason being the bubu knows in-and- out of the whole issue. This makes the RM to keep it ‘on hold’for an idefinite period. I have seen many times such replies saying the matter is on active consideration to keep our morale high and in due course the matter is coolly forgotten. Unless we have the CDS no matter will influence the Def Min. And the Govt is scared to appoint one for hypothetical reasons. Example is our agitatation for OROP.
Wg.Cdr Gurmail Singh (Retd) Veteran
Kudos to ACM PV NAIK (Retd) former CAS for his bold and scintillating letter to RM. In his letter he listed Golden Tips for the resuscitation and improvisation of Armed forces which have undergone huge denigration our the years, Let his letter be taken as a Doctrine for the restoration of Aan, Baan, Shaan of AF.
Maj Gen MK PAUL(Retd)
Great. No one dared earlier. Time for serving Service Chiefs to take up firmly. For the sake of the good
of the Services, they may for a change forget the temptation
of post retirement goodies. In the past serving Service Chiefs acted in support of Govt of the day, thereby ruining the cause of the Services.
Wg CDR Jagdip Singh vet
In the interest of defence and security of the country, I strongly urge the RM to pay heed to ACM Naik’s suggestions.
The very fact that the ex chief had to write such a letter , means that there is a lot of work needed to be done in this we vs them mentality. The RM would do well to restore the izzat of AF which has eroded with time. Given the present state of affairs, this izzat will cease to exist. Then it would be too late to even think of Chanakyas advice
Gp Capt ( Dr) Umesh Chandra Prasad 73 Batch Elect , New Delhi
Respected Naik Sir
You were my AOC-in-C in CAC.and Chief there after. Your boldness and straightness is well known but your to-the-point advice to RM is above all , and is required for Armed Forces of the Day.
I feel that You are required to asked for interviews of RM to handover the letter and if required clear the objections put by Babus. I am sure by now babus must have prepared objections to the letter and you have to discuss them one by one in person to RM.
Sir , remember my words to you in front of Air Marshal Mukherjee that you are CEO of Billion Dollar Company(This is applicable to all AOC in C and chiefs of three services) , so your advice is much more important than babus dealing with paper & policies.
Hope you will ask for one to one Interview of RM.
Dr ( Gp Capt ) UC Prasad , Veteran
Rajnath is khassi. Modi has sidelined all. Since Modi doesn’t want therefore it will not be done because he is stubborn and dictator. Though I am a member of RSS and a registed member of BJP but don’t take bjp in its stream as I am a staunch jansanghi till now. BJP has become like any other political party in india n there is no difference now. He should increase the pension n perks of veterans at all levels and give pension to all.