Serving the Army is all about soldiering

23 june 2022 3.18 Am IST
Today I miss our legendary leader who could take on the mass with the required inspiration not by mere words but with his own life and was an epitome of leadership in the Indian Army.
Today I miss our legendary leader who could take on the mass with the required inspiration not by mere words but with his own life and was an epitome of leadership in the Indian Army. Such legends and military leaders are rare to find who not only act as a catalyst to manage conflicts but even have farsightedness and remain empathetic towards the situation. Today there are protests in some parts of the country with heated debates on Agnipath.

The protests whether provoked or natural is surely a warning sign that the Nation is struggling and even when the recruitment scheme cannot be rolled back in the interest of the security of the Nation. At a macro level and at a National Level, India's economy is struggling to recover after a major slip in INR.

Rolling out of any change or anything new is always expected to have multidimensional thoughts with anticipation of resistance critically when we are witnessing paralysis in geopolitical order. The restructuring of the Armed has been a long-term process, yet Covid-19 and the global recession have given mindset shifts to people and the most contradictory fact is that organizations are struggling with attrition and parallelly there is unemployment. So, even though the recruitment scheme of Agnipath is an excellent option for youth, post-absorption should not be a gap in its success.

It is a pertinent issue of national interest that after serving the national borders as a warrior, these veterans who are strengths and strong pillars of the nation become the responsibility of the organizations where they are hired under the clause of CSR. Thus, till now, there have been some fundamental issues in inducting unsecured veterans of forces. By unsecured I mean without any pensionary financial benefits and confirmed lateral absorptions.

What is soldiering?

I will not reiterate what Agnipath is all about as it can be googled and there is a lot of data in many YouTube videos and social media. I will tell you what soldiering is all about. It is not about stone pelting or burning vehicles, and that is why clauses have been made if the name of candidates is in any kind of Protest, they will not be selected.

The Army is all about soldiering and yes soldiering is not only about you wearing a uniform. I have served the nation as an Officer for 15 years, released as an unsecured veteran without any financial pensionary or medical benefits. Yet, the soldiering continues in corporate and making things global by being local and Indian and not by stone petting or burning vehicles or spewing negativity, but by upskilling to upscale your life ahead. Let's understand the construct of a Soldier with a simple Chetwode Credo.

Soldiering is not about south India, north India, east India or west India, but it's only about India. Soldiering is not about women or men, it's only about uniforms. Soldiering is not about caste system but is only about being humane. Soldiering is not about protesting but to have multi-dimensional thoughts and taking the nation ahead in every possible way, and soldiering does not stop even after hanging uniform, it continues in a much more purposeful way by taking the purpose of life ahead.

Undoubtedly, Agnipath is a good option for young girls and boys who are aspirants to serve the Indian Armed forces. Having served in the Indian Armed forces for 15 years, I have seen there are many people who wish to quit early because they feel they are not aligned and that is where Agnipath is an opportunity for people to join forces to live their dream. To join Indian Armed Forces is a passion and not a job at all. The fire in the belly keeps the soldiers and officers keep moving.

When I hung my uniform and was in corporate there have been multiple humiliations in casual interactions not being treated at par with my counterparts. Without having any awareness that I am an unsecured veteran as a lady officer and an SS officer, yet, my soldiering never stopped even taking my purpose at a global level.

Any new recruitment scheme does call for expenses and costs to the government and so to minimise the burden on the government a multidimensional thought process should prevail at a very early stage while framing the policies.

Anticipated challenges to be considered to mitigate legal expenses of army personnel in court cases:

  1. Transparency in the policy
  2. Post Service Policies to be people-friendly to keep the affiliation and image of the Armed forces intact
  3. The uncertain socio-political unrest
  4. Challenge of unsecured
  5. veterans post-service
Since the Indian Armed Forces work in a covert way, the civil world is not aware of what they do. It becomes a challenge to maintain the dignity of the uniform and the rank. As an Officer, I had dual responsibility to carry the legacy and tradition of my organisation and also to craft my career and life.

The anticipation of such challenges can be successful only after taking a deep dive into the business environment which will continue to be extremely uncertain and challenging because Covid-19 has disrupted supply chains and humanitarian expectations. The authorities must anticipate these challenges of dignity on humanitarian grounds keeping in view the context of the change in the world order, world recession, geopolitical tensions, and commodity price inflation.

(Writer served as Major in Indian Army and is founder of Evolution Strategies, a thought leader and leadership coach)