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Boots on the ground

Discussion in 'South Asia & SAARC' started by AbRaj, Feb 6, 2017.

  1. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 30, 2016
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    Boots on the ground
    Dr Ayesha Siddiqa [​IMG]TFT Issue: 03 Feb 2017
    Rulers have long rewarded soldiers with land – 90 acres is nothing new

    Indian troops at Portsmouth in 1882 waiting to be shipped to Egypt to tackle a rebellion against British rule. The British relied heavily on Indian troops to enforce their military power. Source: The National Archives

    At the beginning of the 20th Century, they said that the sun never set on the British Empire. Indeed, the sun still does not set on the Empire, as it continues to wield power through sheer dint of its ideas and systems that are practiced in many of its former colonies. Of the laws that the post-colonial state inherited from the British, one notorious practice pertains to awarding land to military personnel. This was a practice adopted to generate a group of faithful warriors, especially after agents of the Crown realized that they could no longer depend on the local Hindustani men—the Bengali, the Mahrashtaran, and the Tamilian or Keralite (this included Muslims as well from these areas)—to faithfully fight for the Crown in London.

    While the three main posts, the presidencies at Bombay, Madras and Bengal, continued, the recruitment pattern changed elsewhere. The catchment area for recruiting the local soldier shifted to the north of the Subcontinent to Nepal, Punjab and the North-West Frontier. Indeed, these men had fought valiantly on the side of the British against the 1857 mutineers. In terms of time and concentration, these areas were marginal to British interests and hence were the last to benefit from socioeconomic development. For instance, Punjab University was one of the last ones to be opened in British India, much after other areas had received their share of higher education development. Such social indicators meant that these areas had a population that was eager to find opportunities in life.

    Officers of the 37th Dogras and their Indian orderlies in Idak, 1898. The Tochi Valley, or Dawar, was one of the chief routes into Afghanistan in the North-West Frontier Province of India. The chief British garrison posts were Saidgi, Idak, Miranshah, Datta Khel and Sheranni. Source: University of Washington collection

    Why should a voluntary national military be given excessive rewards? As the renowned Indian film actor (late) Om Puri pointed out for the Indian military, entering the army is a choice that men make with a clear understanding of their pay and remuneration for undertaking violence on behalf of the state

    Wisened by their experience of 1857, the British adopted two additional measures to ensure that the local people they inducted into the Royal Armed Forces remained loyal. Firstly, they created the myth of the martial race. This was to given encouragement to the ‘sepoys’ from these areas who had fought on side of the British against the ‘mutineers’ from other areas. Secondly, they rewarded the ‘sepoys’ by giving them land grants. The years between 1900 and 1920 were also a time when the British established canal colonies in areas bordering north and central Punjab. Not only were small agriculturists settled in these canal colonies after being brought in from East Punjab but a percentage of these ‘colonized’ lands were also given to military personnel. This distribution, according to political scientist and author Mustafa Kamal Pasha, represented ‘…a complex interplay of material forces, ideas, and institutions associated with colonial capitalism…” meant to bring control and specialization in the armed forces.

    Subsequent laws such as the Land Colonization Act of 1912 were introduced based on the principle of rewarding the faithful, raising horses for the British cavalry, and encouraging military men to lay down their lives for the colonial power. It was this Act that stipulated a grant of 10 percent of colonized land to the military. This act was later updated through a martial law regulation by the Ayub government in 1959 and 1965.


    How is that General Ayub Khan received 247 acres, General Muhammad Musa 250 acres and General Umrao Khan 246 acres-even though they lost the 1965 war?

    None of these tactics had reinvented the wheel. History is replete with precedence; the Ottoman and Mongol invaders of the 14th Century bribed their military manpower to ensure allegiance. But this does not tackle the question of why a voluntary national military should be given excessive rewards? As the renowned Indian film actor (late) Om Puri pointed out in a controversial interview in which he briefly referred to the Indian military, entering the army is a choice that men make with a clear understanding of their pay and remuneration for undertaking violence on behalf of the state, and in the process also risk losing their life. We cannot, of course, thank these men enough for guarding our frontiers, but we would also like to believe that they take on the risk of their own volition and not because of some greed for land or other rewards. To expect the military or civil bureaucracy to compete with civilians in other walks of life is scandalous and unrealistic.

    The anger of the ISPR and several retired and serving generals over questions people have asked about land grants aside, the issue is a contentious one in Pakistan’s case because of an absolute lack of consensus on ownership of the state. This is a problem casually referred to as a civil-military relations imbalance that men in uniform tend to dismiss as created by civilian bias. Nonetheless, this is not about protecting corrupt civilian leaders against patriotic generals but it is about asking what is the basis on which a select group of people have acquired the greater right to the distribution of national resources? How is that General Ayub Khan received 247 acres, General Muhammad Musa 250 acres and General Umrao Khan 246 acres—even though they lost the 1965 war? The underlying criterion for this reward is not transparent at all unless we interpret it as a powerful institution asserting its clout to establish the principle of acquiring a share of national resources. Why, for instance, is the act of a policeman standing in the line of fire less commendable and not worth a reward? This is not about the performance of soldiers but the political clout of their organization that has allowed them this benefit and developed an internal organizational rule no governments question. For a long time, officers of the rank of major general and higher were given 240 or more acres, brigadiers and colonels 150 acres, lieutenant colonels 125 acres, majors and lieutenants 100 acres, JCOs 64 acres and NCOs 32 acres. The acreage was later revised to 50 acres for officers and 12.5 to lower ranks. Additional land is given with gallantry medals, which is why General (retd) Raheel Sharif received 90 acres of agricultural land in Lahore. There is no other government department that rewards its manpower in such a fashion.

    Interestingly, land acquisition for the military and its distribution among serving and retired military has taken place for so long that even the ISPR believes that it is stipulated in the Constitution, which is not the case. This is part of the ‘rules of business’ of the Military Lands & Cantonment (ML&C) department and the Ministry of Defense (MoD). The ML&C is essentially one of the eleven services of the civil services of Pakistan, which over the years after General Zia-ul-Haq, gradually came to be controlled by the army through the MoD. In fact, General (retd) Raheel Sharif appointed and even extended the service of the secretary. It is the ML&C that regulates land to the defense services under the old Military Land and Cantonment Act made by the British. A continuous supply and distribution of land to military personnel was ensured through a 1959 martial law regulation that was reflected in the ML&C act. How is that land distributed to military men then the purview of the MoD?

    The military continues to acquire agricultural land as part of the Colonization of Land Act of 1912. It does not matter any more that new agricultural land is not being created due to irrigation sources. But 10 percent of state land is placed at the disposal of the MoD on a regular basis for further distribution. Up until 2007, approximately seven million acres out of the total 12 million acres controlled by the military were agricultural land. Out of the total seven million acres, the largest chunk of 6.8 million acres were distributed among serving and retired personnel. Another 70,000 to 80,000 acres were given to the welfare foundations, Fauji Foundation, Army Welfare Trust, Shaheen Foundation and Bahria Foundation, and the rest are controlled directly by the services. According to some desegregated data available for a period from 1965 to 2003 for a few administrative districts in Punjab and Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, an average of 190,000 acres were distributed in each of these districts given in the following table.

    Land Allotment to Military Personnel, 1965 – 2003

    District Province Acreage

    DI Khan NWFP 185,000

    Muzaffargarh Punjab 173,000.7

    DG Khan Punjab 153,000.5

    Rajanpur Punjab 133,000.3

    Vehari Punjab 170,987

    Pakpattan Punjab 193,676

    Multan Punjab 123,793

    Khanewal Punjab 143,283

    Sahiwal Punjab 173,407

    Lahore Punjab 273,413

    Kasur Punjab 387,283

    Sheikhupura Punjab 193,863

    Total 2,303,706.5

    The land is distributed among officers and sepoys on the basis of the MoD’s internal formula which is then touted as a system of merit. The fact of the matter is that there is a clear bias in favour of the officer cadre versus the sepoy when it comes to the distribution of land and other facilities that would make the land productive and financially lucrative. A tour throughout the country would demonstrate how senior officers get help in cultivating the land, getting access to a greater share of water, construction of farm-to-market roads, and other facilities (this at times even includes free seed and labour from local military units). The favorable treatment received by officers is historical as claimed by the Punjab finance minister Nawab Iftikhar Hussain Mamdot, who stated before the assembly how some of the financial aid to the military was diverted during the 1950s and 1960s to the development of land owned by senior officers. Of course, the lower cadres do not get similar benefits and thus the majority tends to sell their land to local landowners. This feeds into the problematic system of large landownership and maintenance of a feudal culture.


    Interestingly, land acquisition for the military and its distribution among serving and retired military has taken place for so long that even the ISPR believes that it is stipulated in the Constitution, which is not the case

    The entire land distribution system flies in the face of even the original regulation providing land to the military because the recipient had to give an undertaking of cultivating the land himself. While some JCOs and NCOs might fit the bill, there is no possibility of applying this criterion on the officer cadre. This means that General (retd) Raheel Sharif, his predecessors and successors will simply use the facility to join a class of elite military-agriculturists, or elite in general. Skeptics might argue what is 90 acres of land as compared to the hundreds of acres that civilian large landowners have. However, it is the principle of elite access to state land that underlies such distribution and does not favour, for instance, the 20 million to 25 million landless peasants in the country who would be ecstatic if they were allowed to purchase state land at Rs20 to Rs60 per acre. In fact, when it comes to the poor, the state has always been very hardhearted. There are hundreds of incidents in which landless peasants were evicted from state land after it was transferred to the MoD without any consideration for the land revenue principle that whoever makes the land cultivable (a lot of state land requires development to make it cultivable) has the first right over it. In such contentious cases, the revenue officers dare not support the poor and play a critical role in forcing the landless peasants out.

    As if agricultural land were the only piece of land that officers get to live a reasonable life, all three-star generals and higher ranking officers are given numerous properties. General (retd) Musharraf had eight pieces of urban property in addition to the agricultural land in Bahawalpur that was developed at state expense. The posting of serving lower army personnel to cultivate the land, the use of state machinery, the supply of seed, the construction of farm-to-market roads and water channels for this land is an expense that was never booked under military expenditure. Generals Musharraf and Zaidi, both neighboring agriculturists, later sold their land. This is what may happen with General Raheel Sharif’s 90 acres as well. Given the location of his land on Lahore’s outskirts, it will already fetch him a lot of money, a fact that is being viciously contested by some retired army generals-turned-informal-spokesmen. One wonders how they could label as a real estate agent conspiracy the fact that the rapid crowding out of rural land by urban Lahore has actually escalated the price of land in Badian. In recent years, the expectation of relations improving with India has also added to an increase in the value of land in the area. But eventually, the 90 acres will be a most valuable inheritance for the Raheel Sharif family, who could turn it into small plots or a housing scheme in the general’s name if they are in no mood to become farmers.

    Gen Mohammad Musa

    This is not ‘jealousy of civilians’ as Pervez Musharraf once said in reaction to questions on the military in business. Such land allocation are about the endless greed of the elite and its possible consequences that the Supreme Court warned about in 2003 in the case of Muhammad Bashir vs. Abdul Karim. The highest court of the land cautioned Brigadier Bashir and the rest of the elite through a citation from John Steinbeck’s Grapes of Wrath:

    “And the great owner, who must lose their land in an upheaval, the great owners with access to history, with eyes to read history and to know the great fact: when property accumulates in too few hands, it is taken away. And that companion fact: when a majority of people are hungry and cold they will take by force what they need. And the little screaming fact that sounds through all history: repression works only to strengthen and knit the repressed. The great owners ignored the three cries of history. The land fell into fewer hands, the number of the dispossessed increased, and every effort of the great owners was directed at repression. The money was spent for arms, for gas to protect the great holdings, and spies were sent to catch the murmuring of revolt so that it might be stamped out. The changing economy was ignored, plans for the change ignored; and only means to destroy revolt were considered, while the causes of revolt went on.”

    The writer is research associate with SOAS South Asia Institute and can be contacted through her website at drayeshasiddiqa.com. She is the author of Military Inc.: Inside Pakistan’s Military Economy, whose second reprint was published in Dec 2016

    posted by @ranjeet elsewhere
    @Hellfire , @Gessler ,@nair ,@MilSpec ,@Ripcord322 ,@Ankit Kumar 001 ,@vstol jockey ,@VCheng ,@anant_s ,@Levina ,@A_poster
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  2. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 30, 2016
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    Literally PA is an old money making machine . they inherited these tactics from colonial British era
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  3. AbRaj

    AbRaj Captain FULL MEMBER

    Oct 30, 2016
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    Relevant article from 2009 :

    Land allotments and the military

    [The author, Dr. Hasan Askari Rizvi, is a renowned political and
    defence analyst. He holds PhD in International Relations and Political
    Science from the University of Pennsylvania, USA. He has taught at
    Columbia University, New York, Heidelberg University, Germany, and the
    University of the Punjab,Lahore]

    Land allotments to military personnel are not viewed in Pakistani
    society as an isolated development. These represent a broader
    phenomenon of the military gradually overwhelming most sectors of
    state and society

    Some of Pakistan`s national dailies carried a news item on June
    24 that the Punjab Board of Revenue informed the Lahore High Court
    that 62 senior and 56 junior Army officers were allotted agricultural
    lands in Cholistan and other district of the Punjab under various
    schemes in 1981, 1982, 1994, 1999 and 2000. These allotments were made
    under instructions of the Army headquarters and the details of these
    allotments could be made public only by the Army headquarters.

    The allotment of agricultural land to serving and retired military
    personnel is an old and well established practice going back to the
    period of British rule in India. No detailed data is available on such
    allotments since the establishment of Pakistan because the military
    authorities are not willing to release the names of the beneficiaries
    of this policy and the civilian governments (when in power) do not
    want to alienate the military by making detailed data available to
    public. Therefore, it is not surprising that the Punjab Board of
    Revenue did not provide the list of officers who were allotted
    agricultural land in Cholistan and other districts of the Punjab in
    the specified years.

    However, limited data is released from time to time by the government,
    mainly to answer questions in various assemblies. The available data
    shows clearly that the military personnel (in many cases the
    bureaucrats as well) were accommodated liberally whenever agricultural
    land became available under various land development schemes. At
    times, newspapers and weeklies have published unauthenticated list of
    civil servants and military officers who were allotted agricultural
    land in Sindh and the Punjab. Several political parties and citizens
    groups have periodically taken exception to this policy but their
    protests are not known to have produced any significant impact on the
    land allotment policy for military personnel.

    The British adopted the policy of granting agricultural land to
    military personnel in the Punjab in order to encourage recruitment to
    the Army. This helped to improve the socio-economic status of army
    personnel in an agricultural society. Some influential people were
    granted land for helping the British in army recruitment or for
    pursuing Army-related assignments, i.e. ``ghori pal``

    The British could adopt this policy because large tracts of
    agricultural land became available as they started building canals in
    the Punjab from the last quarter of the nineteenth century. The land
    in these ``canal colonies`` was distributed mainly to build
    support for the British government and for rewarding Army personnel
    which encouraged army recruitment in the Punjab. A detailed study of
    how the British used the land in the canal colonies in the Punjab for
    popularising Army service can be found in Imran Ali`s book
    ``The Punjab Under Imperialism, 1885-1947`` (Princeton
    University Press, 1988).

    In the post-independence period, land in the Thal desert was assigned
    to the military for settling ex-service personnel. Land was also
    allotted to ex-service personnel in various schemes in different
    barrage areas in Sindh and the Punjab. These barrages included Ghulam
    Muhammad, Gudu and Taunsa. Local servicemen were given land in
    Campbellpur, Jhelum, Kohat, Rawalpindi and Hazara districts which was
    developed with the help of the Army. Agricultural land was allotted to
    service personnel on the Pakistan-India border in the Punjab.

    Initially, agricultural land was also granted with gallantry awards.
    Later, cash rewards replaced land allocations. Some useful historical
    data on the policy of land allotments to the military in the early
    years of independence can be found in Major General (retd) Fazal
    Muqeem`s book ``The Story of the Pakistan Army``
    (Oxford University Press, 1963); for the later period see Hasan Askari
    Rizvi`s book ``Military, State and Society in
    Pakistan`` (St Martin`s Press, New York, 2000).

    The practice of agricultural land grants continued on a limited scale
    in the eighties and the nineties. The Punjab Provincial Assembly was
    informed in January 1988 that the Punjab Government allotted about
    450,000 acres of land to 5,538 military personnel during 1977-85. Land
    was also allotted to military personnel, bureaucrats and influential
    people in other provinces, especially in Sindh, but the government did
    not release the data about these allotments.

    The practice of granting plots of land to military personnel in
    various housing schemes in cantonments and other urban centres is by
    now well-established. Most service personnel can get more than one
    residential or commercial plot in different housing schemes at a price
    less than the market rate and then sell their extra plots, mostly to
    civilians, at exorbitant market rates.

    A reference may also be made to the ongoing controversy about the
    Okara Military Farms. This farm involves about 20,156 acres of land
    spread over 22 villages which is controlled and managed by the Army
    under a renewable 20 year lease agreement with the Punjab Government
    going back to 1912-13. The lease agreement allows the Army to acquire
    its proprietary rights. This has not happened and the Army continues
    with the lease arrangement. The dispute with the tenants of three or
    four out of 22 villages started when the Army decided to change the
    original arrangement for sharing the produce of this land.

    The demand of the tenants for ownership of the land has no legal basis
    because no Pakistani law permits the tenants to become owners of the
    land by virtue of having been tenants over a long period of time. The
    coercion used by state agencies against these tenants has provoked
    some NGOs and human rights groups to take up the cause of the tenants.
    Furthermore, civil society groups want to highlight the broader issue
    of the military`s expanding role in all sectors of state and

    Land allotments to military personnel are not viewed in Pakistani
    society as an isolated development. These represent a broader
    phenomenon of the military gradually overwhelming most sectors of
    state and society. The related developments that add to concern about
    the nature and direction of the society include the induction of
    military personnel into the top posts in the government and
    semi-government institutions and organisations, and the fast expanding
    commercial, business and industrial interests of the military being
    pursued through four welfare foundation.

    On top of all this is the military exercises power directly from time
    to time, and, when it is not in power, its top brass use their pivotal
    position to assert their role in the decision making process at the
    highest level. Politicisation of the role of the military and its
    penetration into most sectors of state and society is leading to
    political controversies.

    A person or an institution cannot engage in politics without being
    questioned by competing political and societal interests. The military
    may justify its position on land allotments, material rewards to its
    personnel, its economic interests, and the control of the Okara farms
    on purely legal grounds. However, it will continue to be questioned on
    political grounds and with reference to the attempts of civil society
    groups to protect the autonomy of civilian institutions and processes.
    Last edited: Feb 6, 2017
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  4. VCheng


    Oct 13, 2010
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    Look at it this way: It certainly keeps the officers grounded with their own long term vested interests in the continuity of the country. :D
  5. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    I think this was a perfectly fine strategy and it worked. If population is controlled, this strategy remains the best, as those who have to defend the nation, must have convergent self interests too.

    If you have merely payment as the USP, then the rate should be higher than of those around, to ensure the self interest is coincided with defending the nation. Alas, in Indian context, that is shortly going to go missing too.
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  6. Dagger

    Dagger 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Hi, I don't get your last para.Our mil gets paid way more than the pak mil according to a old post in the other forum.
    So. Are you saying this has changed? By how much?

    also another article that our pay is equal to the US army in PPP terms.
  7. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    You have to equate it with Bureaucrats. If you allow them a greater pay and not a parity (leave alone the fact te bureaucrats were paid less than armed forces in immediate years post independence) then you loose the cream to them or other fields.

    The present succession of scnadals to rock armed forces is a pointer/indicator of things to come.

    Till 1980s, the type of people joining forces was way different then now. It makes a difference when a person joins forces as means of job security than for the love of the job. Today you have a lot of officer cadre formed from people who could not make it elsewhere in competitive environment. Some hail from background which is so insecure, that their sole aim becomes to make themseleve financially secure.

    In such a scenario, when you put armed forces below Police and Beauraucrats, you are leaving them more vulnerable to graft.

    Small example of Augusta Westland. The air force chief, who has nothing to do with purchase of aircraft, was arrested. This, when everyone and his dog knows that no officer of armed forces decides on equipment, merely gives comparative statement/evaluation/requirement.
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  8. Pundrick

    Pundrick Lieutenant FULL MEMBER

    Oct 31, 2016
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    What is the case in our country ?
  9. Dagger

    Dagger 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Ah, i thought the militaries around us. Now it makes sense. Come to think of it , it was obvious. You always fight and compare yourself with the people you see.
    I totally agree.
    Our salvation lies in the event where the best of us join the army , police and bureaucracy. Pillars of our country. This is what scares me about our country. The best of us are incentivised to actually leave the country and work for others.

    Vicious cycle. . Hopefully we net more tax payers and start proper capitalist-style incentivisation of the pillars of our democracy.

    Also, from the media's feeding, I always felt the airforce chief had been upto no good. How come a person , who evaluated it and gave a comparative statement endorsing it, is innocent?
    Or are you saying that the evaluators dont take cost into account while evaluating to get the best bang for buck? If they were taking cost to account, then there should be no scope for a big payoff in a deal.
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2017
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  10. Inactive

    Inactive Guest

    At the level of Chief's it is just a titular power. QR is decided by a board of officers, which works on the parameters being given by the end user (in this case the SPG; guess under who the SPG works? Hint: Only 51 and 52 SAG work under Army).

    Now if I tweak the requirements as an user, you, as a Board, will have to identify the required equipment. When you get one vendor only, who may not meet the exact parameter but reaches almost the same, then you have no option but to go for it if the requirement is urgent.

    It is like this. At times, in Armed Forces and in GoI, a requirement of a vacancy is created in such a way, that the parameters only match a particular Officer/person. Similarly, the requirements projected can be tweaked to match a single vendor. The Board of Officers is left with no option but to choose the pre-decided vendor.

    I shall give you a small example of a painkiller gel in Armed Forces Medical Services. The Diclofenac Gel (Voveran) in the service supply, merely gives a sensation of coolness when applied, it is ineffective. Everyone in armed forces, their dogs and cats, know this. They buy the required gel through CSD/Market for their need as the supply is not worth the tube it comes in.

    Yet, the medicine is procured centrally by civilian defence employees and MoD. It is still being procured. To circumvent these problems, army gave Special Financial Powers under Local Purchase, and today we have a situation where the armed forces rely on medicines procured through Local Purchase instead of Central Procurement. It is an open secret.

    Same is with Maruti Gypsy. Comes with a pre-installed AC. Army pays to remove it. Reason: Officer is not authorised an AC. Leave aside the fact the Officer is authorised to travel in AC 1, 2 & 3 (and PBORs in AC 2, 3). And then irony is, army units pay Rs 20-29 K to place ACs in the Gypsy.

    Who detailed this QR?

    I can rant on:coffee:
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  11. Dagger

    Dagger 2nd Lieutant FULL MEMBER

    Oct 25, 2016
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    Understood. The height reqment had to have come from the end user.

    The point about removing the AC from a Gypsy, really sad.
    Sticking to policy with no flexibility is a bad attitude for any war force.
  12. Levina

    Levina Guest

    Even back 50s and 60s ppl joined army because they got salary on time and pension was an added advantage.
    The world has changed and Indian army must adapt itself accordingly, its vacuous to expect that youngsters would join defence forces if they do not get an attractive package.
    Om Puri wasn't so wrong.

    How do you think US army maintains such a large army? Those soldiers get incentives for working in iraq and Afghanistan. Or who would dare step on such territories repeatedly?

    Pakistan army has taken it to a diff level though. They are a corporate giant. Lol

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