Indian Army: Officer Men Relations the Missing Links

Poor officer-men relations in the Indian Army have come into national limelight given a number of reports of clashes in units mostly based in Northern and Western Command. These need to be recounted to place the subsequent debate in perspective and are as given below:-

Alleged clash between officers and jawans of the 45 Cavalry based at the Tibri cantonment in Gurdaspur area on 29 April 2010.
Alleged clash between officers and jawans of 226 Field Artillery Regiment, near the Mahe firing ranges in Nyoma sector of eastern Ladakh in 10 – 11 May 2012.
Alleged unrest among the troops of 16th Light Cavalry, in the Samba sector of J&K on 08 August 2012.
Alleged reports of 56 Armoured Regiment jawans fleeing to regimental centre at Ahmednagar after refusing to carry out what they called "menial tasks'' while deployed in Patiala in October 2012.
Alleged clash between officers and jawans in 10 SIKHLI in Meerut during a sports tournament on 10 October 2013.
Alleged assault on Col B M Hansra, the commanding officer of the 22 NCC (Army Wing) unit in Batala by a havaldar after being accosted by unit officials for being late on duty on 14 October 2013.
Some of these incidents demonstrate serious fractures in leadership and man management in the units concerned, some could be attributed to momentary aberrations resulting in a quarrel at the heat of the moment, though these too cannot be easily accepted.

There have been various explanations for these incidents including the changing socio-economic landscape of the country, shifting profile of the officer cadre and officer shortages in units. Some commentators have even blamed upgradation in ranks of relatively junior and ipso facto, “yet to mature officers,” to command companies and battalions.

While the Army would have taken stock of the situation and adopted corrective measures some missing links are evident which have possibly led to the continued chain of...

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