A tale of two land forces: Army and Police

Originally published by Vijayvaani on 26 March 2009

A tale of two land forces: Army and Police

If India is united and intact today, it is because of its military and in spite of our frenzied polity. I dare you to name a colonel or a general who is either communal or a zealot.

Marching Shoulder to Shoulder

On Republic Day, as they march down the Rajpath, the lay Indian can not tell the difference between the Army and the Police. And there is no need for any dissimilarity, because both these land forces exist for the same purpose; ‘to protect the life and property of our citizens.’

Look further and you find that their swords, rifles and even badges of rank are similar. Their respective cadres have well defined equivalents at each rung and their salary structures are determined by the same pay panels. Indeed, based on these striking similarities, the Sixth Pay Commission recommended that a lot could be achieved if soldiers retiring from the Army could be laterally shifted to the police force.

The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) rejected the suggestion outright. Its reasons for rejecting this apparently desirable administrative reform will become clear as you read on. To understand this complex issue, it is necessary to know the radical differences in their terms and conditions of service and their leadership patterns.
The Numbers Game

For the purpose of this discussion, all security personnel controlled by the MHA have been grouped together. Thus the State police cadres have been combined with the Para Military outfits such as the CRPF, BSF etc. The macro-level picture is as follows (all figures are approximate and based on averages of the last few years):


Police Services

Strength of the force

11 lakh                                    

23 lakh

Number of officers (sanctioned)     



Deficiency of officers                       



Annual intake of officers                  

1050 (regular)                        

60 (direct IPS)

Officers in grades above PB4                                                         


Over 250

Levels of Entry

In the Army, soldiers are inducted at two levels: as enlisted men and as officers. There is a provision for sepoy entrants to rise to officer ranks, but of the 60,000 soldiers recruited each year, less than 150 end up as officers.

In the Police, the entry is at four levels: (i) as constables (ii) as Inspectors (iii) in the State Police cadres and eligible to enter the IPS and (iv) direct entrants to the IPS. The figures with me suggest that of the 3800 officers, the number of direct entrants into the IPS is a little over 2200.

Promotion Prospects and Terms of Engagement

All police personnel retire at the age of 60. The four levels of entry more or less determine the terminal post of an entrant, within a narrow range. Thus a constable may at best become an Inspector; an Inspector may rise to a middle level officer; a State police officer would rise to be a DIG or IG and indeed, the direct entrant to the IPS would normally retire as a Director General of Police.

In sharp contrast, promotions in the army are extremely difficult to attain. Less than 600 out of the 60,000 men who are recruited retire as Sub-Maj, on an average. Of the 1100 officers granted commission each year, no more than 600 rise to command their battalions regiments. About 125 become Brigadiers, 50 rise to be Maj-General, 15 can see three stars on their car, and a plucky three or four attain the apex grade.

Retirement is also rank related. With every promotion, a soldier earns the right to serve for two additional years. These highly coveted promotions are earned through sheer dint of hard work and commitment to service. Medical fitness and discipline standards are the other two determinants for ascendancy.

In the police service also, standards have been laid down and cops have to undergo courses of instruction and earn good reports to rise in the hierarchy. But the infinitesimal numbers inducted at higher levels of entry enable a very high proportion of entrants to get promoted almost as a matter of course.  This indeed is easy to administer, just promote the man who joined the force early. Seniority is a matter of fact. Merit and performance are based on opinions, which may differ.
Struggle for existence and survival of the fittest

There is a flip side to this highly ingenious method of ‘cadre management’ devised by the civil servants. Assured promotion tends to lead to complacency. Competition brings the best out of a person. Promotion can be a good motivator for employees to strive for excellence in performance. The dictum enunciated by Darwin applies to all living beings. Seniority teaches through hands on experience, but that is not the sole determinant of performance. I ask, ‘Do you choose a surgeon on the basis of his ‘seniority’ in the job?’

Leader-Led ratio

There are many differences between the Police and the Army. But the ratio of officers to men is perhaps the most striking one. At a party, a Police officer told me that the total number of IPS officers in UP is about 400. Of them more than half are of the level of DIG and above, with as many as twenty DGs of Police.

The number of officers in an Infantry Division is about 450. Of them no more than five are of the one-star rank and there is only one Major General. The result is that on ground, the apex police officers have no young officer to field when the chips are down. It is a time tested fact that soldiers will go into battle, if and only if, they are led from the front. You can not sit in an air conditioned office and ask men to go and face the bullet. The situation is like: Aasman pe dhoom hai, zamin par koi nahin: Sab to DG hain yahan, halakoo koi nahin! 

The number of star ranks in the Police Service would make no difference to the soldiers if the two land forces were to exist and operate in isolated environments: the military on the borders and the police within the country. But the position on ground is that at every bend in the Ganges, the polity turns to the army for help. Whether it is a riot or terrorist attack or even a child trapped in a pit, the Police rushes to the Army for help. And when that happens, hackles go up. When a DIG with 15 years service tries to throw the weight of his ‘one-star’ status on a Commanding Officer, the soldier’s ego suffers a blow. Similarly, at ceremonial functions, when the General Officer Commanding of an Area is seated next to third rung Police officers, you can not fault him if he feels slighted.

What impels Police to turn to the Army for help?

It is often believed that the Police turns to the military because the Army has better weapons and equipment. This is not entirely true. The difference is not in the kind of arms or ammunition: it is in leadership styles.

The Army has a band of spirited young officers which the Police lacks. The direct entrants into the IPS are all potential Director Generals, and so they think ‘big’ from the day they join the Police Academy. There is also a difference in their selection process. It takes at least three years to prepare for the civil services examination, a considerable cerebral effort. The training at the Police Academy is a bit like military training, but the duration is short and the failure rate negligible. The youthful military officer is selected through outdoor tests and the training is an undiluted ‘grind.’

Let us now take a look at the adversary. The typical terrorist, gangster, brigand or ‘jihadi’ is a young man in his twenties. He is deeply committed to his cause and willing to die. He is agile, swift, ingenuous and frenzied, and armed. You can not reason with him, because he is unwilling to talk. To lock horns with him you need someone to match his prowess, and stake his life for the cause. Your book learning, analytical prowess and debating skills are, in fact, a liability. You cannot beat him by writing cogent papers or through media pressure. The likes of Veerappan can only be tackled by people who can play the game as per rules defined by the bandit – “Loha hi lohe ko kaat sakta hai” (you need an iron tool to cut iron). This kind of ‘tool’ can only be produced by a military academy. Police Academy cannot match that standard.
The Caste and Community factor

A wag said, ‘There are very few Indians in India. The rest are Jats, Marathas, Sikhs, Nagas…’ Politics are caste and community based. Voting is along these lines. Political parties fan communal passions to garner votes. Riots do not occur, they are planned and executed by men who seek power and glory. The Police serves under political bosses.

The Army, on the other hand, is insulated from political influence, ensconced in cantonments. So when communal frenzy bursts, the presence of Police does not deter the rioters. Gujarat was a repeat of the mayhem in Delhi. I visited some of the worst affected areas in November 1984 and every one told the same story: Police either bolted or joined the mob.

Image of Police in India

It is not my intention to comment on the quality of police service we Indians receive in return for our taxes. The traffic is managed reasonably well; free and fair elections are conducted and our religious processions and ‘kumbh melas’ receive due care. The forte of our police service is the protection of national leaders. The posse of armed guards and motor cavalcades that accompany them are an imposing sight. The most threatened are the senior-most police officers themselves. It is not unusual to see a canvas colony near the residence of a senior cop. But for the rest, and in the eyes of the lay Indian, the profile of a policeman is:

• He is pot bellied, betel chewing, barely able to fit into his uniform • If caught for a traffic offence, you can  bribe the cop and get away • Police stations are littered with garbage and not much use is made of technology to capture and process information • If an offence is committed by a VIP’s brat, the cop will turn the Nelson’s eye • If an accident occurs, the stupid will be caught; the clever need not worry
Para Military Forces and Central Police Organizations (CPOs)

Before independence, Assam Rifles and the Central Reserve Police were the only two forces under the Government of India. The proliferation began thereafter, and today the combined strength of the CPOs now exceeds six lakh. There is a plan to add 1.23 lakh in the near future. We seem to raise a new force whenever a new threat appears. These forces are under the Ministry of Home Affairs and the aggregate ‘culture’ which they imbibe is that of the police.

The Sixth Central Pay Commission recommended lateral absorption of Army personnel into the Police, and went on to suggest that the entrance examination and selection process should be common. The Commission wanted to bridge the gap between the Army and the CPOs. The Ministry of Home Affairs rejected the proposal summarily. The reasons advanced make pathetic reading. It has not been understood that mere numbers will not instill a sense of security amongst our citizens. The need of the hour is to identify root causes. Every time there is a Pay Commission, policemen cry and clamour for more ‘high level’ posts.
Way out of this Quagmire

It is a fact that the military is upset at the treatment meted out to soldiers. If the different land forces were operating in isolation, each could evolve its own cadre structure, wear uniforms of the kind that suits them, display a dozen stars on their cars.

But if they are to operate in the same environment, the norms must have a semblance of uniformity. Military and the Police must complement each other; not compete. Each has to see the viewpoint of the other. The road that divides North Block and South Block needs to be bridged; it must not turn into a moat. Some questions beg answers:
• Soldiers get free rations, but have no pot bellies. Policemen get no free meal; from where do the nutrients come to sustain their enormous waistlines? • Indians are inherently untidy. Police stations can not be faulted for the litter of garbage. But why do military units give such a tidy appearance? • Corruption is a universal phenomenon, so if a cop accepts a bribe, why bother? But has anyone seen a soldier seeking protection money when deployed for Internal Security duties?

The reason for the relatively greater responsiveness is just one: in the military, every promotion has to be earned; in the civil services, it is claimed as a matter of right through seniority.
The Bottom Line

Before Independence, the highest ranking police officer was rated lower than Maj-Gen in the table of precedence. This inequity was rightly corrected, and for a long time every State had one Inspector General who ranked at par with a two-star soldier. Then suddenly, a snake bit the soldiers and cops found a ladder. In the wake of this Pay Commission, scores of police officers have been equated with the Army Commander and the numbers who rank above the General Officer Commanding cannot even be counted. The strength of the police forces has risen, and their status is rising. The citizens’ sense of security has diminished in the same proportion. Some recent indicators:

• When a dozen terrorists sneaked into Mumbai, the Army had to be flown in from Delhi to flush them out • In the current recession when jobs are being slashed, private security industry has zoomed a whopping 25 percent • Anyone of means wants to hire a guard for his house; corporate firms hire specialists for the purpose • Some major business houses are toying with the idea of raising their own special forces on the lines of the National Security Guards, just as large condominium complexes install captive power generation plants

Our 23 lakh security persons ably led by more than 300 Director Generals of Police are unable to guarantee security for a few cricket matches because of elections next month. So the Indian Premier League will be played in South Africa. This has put a big question mark on the Commonwealth Games next year.

User Comments:
My sincere appreciation to Gen. Surjit for a very informative article. Thank you Sir,
Baba N Tiruvalam
26 Mar 2009
The Defence Services have started a fight with the Government on its status and remunerations. It must be brought to the right conclusion.
The paper above has highlighted the major differences which actually exists. Services do not have a platform or a PR agency to lobby for them with the Govrnment. I think it should be developed for future so that whatever we do gain this time is not lost over the next ten years.
A very well researched paper.
Dave Sood
26 Mar 2009
An excellent comparison of the two seemingly similar forces. The ignorant Indian public must also be made aware of these facts through the print media. It will strengthen our ongoing cases in our favour as well as stand us in good stead in our future endeavours by getting the common man, and possibly the politicians as well, to support us more whole-heartedly.
Maj Gen Subhash Gogna, AVSM
26 Mar 2009
Very lucid, precise and brings out the inequities clearly. It would have been interesting to read the reasons advanced by the Home Ministry for rejecting lateral absorption into CPOs. I hope this gets a wide circulation. Congrats, Surjit.
Brig Viren Bajaj
26 Mar 2009
Dear Sir You are always lucid,clear and precise in your views.The authentic information showing  how the true guardians of safety and security in the country are being treated will make any honourable countryman to nod in full agreement
V J Lawrence
26 Mar 2009
Thank you for a nice write up.
I reckon the tabulation above includes the strength of Cental Police Organisations along with the State Police forces (2.3 mn), however the officer strength reflected is only of the IPS cadre (3800) and not of the Group-A officers (Asst Comdt and above) of the CPOs. Officers of the CPOs are recruited directly by the UPSC now through a separate examination and the numerical strength of these officers may also be reflected under the heads of ‘no of sanctioned officers’ and ‘intake’ to give an all round picture.
Thanks once again for the lovely article.
Maj Navdeep Singh
26 Mar 2009
Sir, the article is very informative. I hope many read this and understand the actual difference. Reading this would improve myopic view of many.
Srikanth Joshi
26 Mar 2009
Thank u dear General for this very informative article. It is simply a matter of shame for our leaders, guides, polititions and so called trendsetters that after reading all this and after having been explained all these facts in various presentations on various occassions, no corrective action has been taken. I think enough is enough. If the concerned authorities don’t understand the disciplined protests of ours, it is high time that we got to take some suitable action which shallnot be palatable to to these ununderstanding civilian authorities.
Billoo Brar
26 Mar 2009
common wealth games in pune had 3 lt gen &large no of serving &retired officers &men from defence services.we take pride in doing  odd jobs .in the past the games management was with maj gen narinder singh (BILLA) for ASIAD
26 Mar 2009
An excellent article.  Thank you, sir
J Thomas
26 Mar 2009
Sir, The article is excellent. Over a period of time the army rank badges lost its value in front of the police badges. The exclusive defence decorations and medals lost its sanctity when the police started claiming it. The identity of OG was lost when civil security guards and doormen at big hotels and establishments opted to don it. It was difficult to identify a soldier from security guard.  The Army found an easy way by switcing  to combat dress. The police in most of the places do not pay respect or salute army ranks. Either they look away or just stare at the army officers. An SHO wield more powers and authority compared to a JCO. The Army  shackles its Junior ranks in this aspect. They are asked to give respect and obey their civ counterparts. Most of the time it is the army personnel who get punished in case of a fray between army and police . We are timid  and feel inferior in front of  police personnel because the police person is authorised to use his power whereever he feels like and army has to come back to its den to roar. Army is treated as labour force in every  aid to civil authorities activities. This factor is restricted as far as navy and air force are concerned. They do not volunteer for labour work. This is a self inflicted injury by the defence force and it is time that we take corrective measures. It is not only the responsibility of the  veterans. The serving higher ranks have to find ways and means to rebuild the lost image of army. Let us not compare defence force with civil force. Let us not get into a rat race with any civilians. We must maintain our identity and spell out the precedences. Build up the confidence and honour the self esteem of our junior and middle order ranks. One cannot say how effective would be a sitdown dharna or relay fast. We found in Rajasthan how the dalits got their demands met. Why not try rail roko, or Bharat bandh? Peaceful methods takes long time to find a solution to the problem. Do the veterans have the time and energy for a long term war against discrimination?
Col Nair
26 Mar 2009
1. The Armed forces have diluted their inservice selection and promotion criteria indisciminately post independence. THEY SHOULD HAVE NEVER DONE THAT 2. A stringent promotion policy  from Majors rank onwards should have been continued as in Pre independence British Indian Army. All those not found suitable at majors rank to LEAD MEN INTO BATTLE should have been shifted to various Para Mil Forces and other Central / State civil services BY ORDER and as per a NATIONAL REQUIREMENT and not rpt not as any favour. 3. All objections by civilian babudom and wasted interests within Armed forces should have been RUTHLESSLY overruled.Madame G had tried to bring back this philosophy and plan of action for total LATERAL SHIFT. It was cut short and orders were reversed soon afte5r her death. 4. All PSUs, All PMFs, Most of the civilian centaral and state services should be mmaned by laterally shifted Armrd Forces personnel screened out after 5/to 6 yrs of service.At least 60 % of civil service cadre should have had exposure to Armed forces. 5. A Major of Royal Army Med Corps, in the role of a deputationist ( secondment ) to lutens Delhi was good enough to take a decision which resulted in todays capital to come up at Raiseena Hill and shifted from Kingsway camp in what is now North Campus  !  It was a reasoned observation which he made after walking his horse for 10 KMs along Jamuna River from North to south . He did this as per his teaching of RAMC Blue book on sighting of a camp. The Noerth campus site was flood and Malara prone and Raiseena hill site was bettter as per him . How true it has p-rooved . 6. Let the Armed forces again be officered by a hardcore selcted competant band of officers . Insist and fight to bring back the policy of 100% lateral shift. Don’t compare Armed Forces and its MAN POWER with any other service- Civil or Para Mil.
Brig C P Joshi
26 Mar 2009
An excellent article.It is high time that the Fundamental rights of the armed forces are restored to form associations.This would need suitable amendments to various acts like the Army Act etc.There is no other way that the interests of the faujis in uniform can be safe guarded and enhanced.Nobody else is going to do it. Surely if they can be entrusted with the National Security,they can also be expected to act with responsibility if allowed to form associations subject to suitable checks and balances. In a free democracy,61 years after Independence let us open up. Look at the number of cases pending in courts and for every such case atleast twice the number simply gave up the legal option. OROP is only the tip of the iceberg.There are umpteen things like the ACR system,promotion policy,postings and transfers and corruption issues within the Services to be looked at by an Independent and empowered body like an association to comprised of both serving and eminent retired personnel. Let us not assume that we are perfect and that there is no room for improvement and Introspection.
Cdr N S Chauhan(Retd)
26 Mar 2009
Where is the question of comparison of Police with Military ? Who claims that the bravery shown by a policeman is anyway less than the valour displayed by a soldier in face of the enemy ?  Who says the pay of the Army Chief should be more than the Cabinet Secretary ? Is the Police asking that the DGP of a State shoiuld get more pay than the Army Chief ? These are non issues to divert the attention from the main issue.The issue of BALANCE between the Indian State,the Beaurocracy, Military Institutions and various other Organs of Governance which over the period has been lost sight of because of the inexperience of and ignorance due to limited exposure to the Defence matters of those who are required to shape up and nurture this great nation.Security and devlopment of the nation demands CIVIL MILITARY relationship complimenting each others strengths at all costs based on facts not on emotionsand prejudices avoiding confrontation,and rigidities of competing attitudes .During 65 Ops I was to build up with my Infantry Company srtrength onto a Police post in Jammu Sialkot Sector. It was a couple of days before the launch of the offensive when we saw the Police withdrawing  from their peace time outpost with their heavy stuff and thinning out.I had to explain to my troops that the Police have been doing their part of the job and we have tho do our part of the job. Lack of experience in governance of newly formed nations out of the former colonies of the West drorve many poor developing countries into the dictatorship and Military rule generating a fear of vulnerability to the  dualy elected civil Government.In Indias evolution as a democracy the Burocracy highlighted this fear of Military apparatus  in the minds of the political leadership and devised a model for CIVIL CONTROL over the military.The Armed Forces as envisaged in the constitution wrere to be a technical arm carrying out the policies of the Govt responsible to the Union Cabinet through the Defence Minister and his Beaurocratic staff The Military Commanders who had actual control of troops were kept outside the Govt System.Parliament ,through Union Cabinet and the Defence Ministery would have the last word on Military Policy.Unfortunately the Parliament does not take any interest in Defence Policy and in any case that should not have come in the way of appreciating  the value of ensuring that the civilan control of the Armed Forces remained positively oriented. ilitary exists to serve the State but Military that lacks the social prestige and attention of the State will not only endanger security of the state but will also pose a challenge to the liberal social values that India expouses IT IS THEREFORE IMPERATIVE TO GET THE BALANCE BETWEEN INDIAN STATE, SOCIETY AND ITS MILITARY INSTITUTIONS RIGHT IF INDIA IS TO AVOID A HEAVY PRICE TO OVERCOME THE PRESENT TURMOIL
Col V K Talwar 6 Shelley Road Wellseley Hills M A 02481 U S
col vk talwar
27 Mar 2009
A very well written and informative article. Brings out many facts and details. Such articles serve a very useful purpose, they educate the general public who otherwise have no knowledge about the armed forces. Others have been taking undue advantage of this lapse on the part of the ‘silent services’. Let us hope more such articles are published and read by the general public. Cdr K K Punchhi 27 March 2009.
Cdr K K Punchhi
27 Mar 2009
A very well written and thought provoking article. Getting to the root cause of this indiscrimate and arbitrary disparity between the two should force the bureaucrats and the politicians to analise ” Why is it that there is a difference in the STANDARD OF LEADERSHIP BETWEEN THE TWO when the ranks and files are all INDIANS !!!!”. While the DG Police is always found in the close vicinity of the CM of the state …. our Senior officers are at Siachin or Kargil or at any border area attending a Sainick Sammelan. Thereafter such DG’s are promoted and sent to the RAW,IB or any other Para Military Forces in a senior position.He is used to an airconditioned life. He will further ruin the already unorganised forces of the Home Ministry. On the other hand Officers of the Defence Forces of Our Country appeal to the Government to bring them at par by returning their medals. We hope that such articles find their way to the Media and make the public of the OTHER THAN BORDER STATES  aware of the hard facts.
27 Mar 2009
The author deserves to be commended for an exceptionally incisive article on a  theme critical in the current  National security milieu.He has presented a fresh perspective on the comparative military/police organisational ethos.Hopefully it will generate a  better understanding of the causes and respective constraints rather than fuel the ongoing polarisation .The menacing threat of global terrorism needs collaboration and willing coordination between all wings of the security forces-not conflict.Good goverance and smart higher leadership must ensure that issues resulting in competitive conflict are urgently resolved in National interest.Surjit’s article should become a positive means to that end.
yoginder sharma
27 Mar 2009
Dear Sir, The readers of this article are well versed with these aspects of the two Organizations. What we need is that this is made very clear to larger section of common men who actually matter in terms of votes, and have them wholeheartedly support our cause. This only is possible if we convince the Media, both Press and Electronic to support our cause because it it right. We might have to organize a debate on TV and also plan a huge Rally at a national venue to press our demands. All of us includig ladies, need to come in strength from all over India to take part in this Rally. We need to calculate a budget for this and ask all our veterans to contribute generously.To get all of us at one place may require advance planning may be with  few months notice. We  should orgasniize this on Army Vijay Diawas or  on the National Vijay Din of Victory of Good over Evil, (Dashera). All our blogs,friendly netwk and the press should be used to communicate the date, time ,venue and the Agenda of this Rally to all concerned. To my mind, the Firsat Priority should be Izzat and Honour of forces, the Second,   Condemnig the Downgrading of the Hirarchy of the Armed Forces after Every War for no reason and Last but not the Least the OROP and separate Pay Commission for the Services. I feel when the Status of the armed Forces is established, getting OROP would be easier. Regards, Brig Aniruddh Deo, Retd
Brig Aniruddh Deo, Retd
27 Mar 2009
An excellent and simple to understand article. Hope this article gets wide publicity through various media. Thanks, Chinoy .
Lt Col A M Chinoy
27 Mar 2009
An excellent article.Unfortunately the Army cannot and does not help the politicians win elections and therefore must play second fiddle to the IPS when it comes to promotions, perks, pay and power.
There is the case of an IPS officer posted out of Punjab at the peak of militancy because of links to terrorist leaders. His political affiliations notwithstanding he still rose to the rank of DGP !
Mandeep Bajwa
Mandeep Singh Bajwa
27 Mar 2009
An excellent analysis of the current critical ‘Security’ issues. I feel that if the para mil forces did not stand on ceremonies but were forthright to discuss the issues with the Def Atho- a plan to ensure more than adequate security for holding IPL in our country –could be evolved.The IPL going out has certainly tarnished the country’s image
Lt Gen R M Vohra,PVSM, MVC (Retd)
27 Mar 2009
Yes i am very happy with the content in this report. It has been expressed in my way, the way i wanted it to be presented. Indian Army has lost its charm and respect which it commanded a decade ago. The problem is with the polticians and the some senior Army Officers who have there the own selfish intrest and do not act as ARMY MEN but as Civil Police men. The ARMY should put all its demand is a straight forward way. Because of the corrouption and political interference in the ARMY it is loosing the best Officers and Soldiers. ARMY needs to make clear to the polaticians that no more of political interference in the INDIAN ARMED FORCES for the betterment of both. Is is unfortunate that this ARMY is providing its valuable service to the nation and the Polaticians and even the citizens dont respect it. It is always the ARMY who is called in wheneevr the Civil Administration, Civil Police and even Para Military have failed. The ARMY is always called in whenever there are floods, droughts, earthquakes, riots, CI-OPS, war, planting of trees in desert also, manning the civil traffic, building bridges, power lines, civil telephone exchange infinity services. Still the ARMY is blamed for any problem which involves Civil Police or Civilians. ARMY should stop providing all its valuable services and let the polaticians (neta), babu and pandu (civil police man) handle the country. The problem is that they have been given to much of legal powers which has got no relevance and which leeds to corrouption, false arrest, bribery and all of the biggest the ATTITUDE problem with these  babu, pandus and netas. Time has come that the INDIAN ARMED FORCES specially the INDIAN ARMY takes what its wants such as legal powers which should be more or less to that of the Civil Police. They should charge and try Civil Police men and even polaticians who have ruined the country in military courts and make them clear that it is not only the babus, pandus and netas but also the INDIAN ARMY runs the country. LEGAL POWERS are very important and they should be sanctioned or taken in any way from the INDIAN JUDICIAL SYSTEM even if the babu, pandus and netas are not happy (which they are never) becuase the INDIAN ARMY has to stop this corrouption going on for the development of the country. THE INDIAN ARMED FORCES AND INDIAN ARMY ARE SUPREME.
28 Mar 2009
A very well articulated piece that brings out the facts in an easily understandable form. I hope the Policewalahs get to read this!!
Col Mohan
28 Mar 2009
Its nice that the article has been written by the general. Most of it was a statement of fact known to most who cared to know what was going on. There is an urgent need to find a solution as considerable damage is being done to the services,its like a slow cancer spreading and surely it will inflict a heavy damage to the service and the country eventually. Career prospects in all group A services should be similar and the Services must find a way out. I intend suggesting one in due course.
V V Singh
28 Mar 2009
I tend to agree with Col Talwar from USA. I think we need to follow the models of Western democratic countries in this regard. After all our democracy too is fully mature. And we should have a similar strategy to deal with our potential adversaries. We need to strengthen forces for internal security rather than for external threats. Why can we not have a small defence force as of Western Democracies and the presonnel shed be given for Internal security forces?
The author a former Colonel is now a Professor
Navin Srivastava
29 Mar 2009
It is good to see that finally people in OZEE have started taking note of the prevailing situation on the aspects of the security of the nation. you may compromise on any aspect but the moment you compromise on the aspects of the security of your nation, you are heading for the dooms day. Army is presumed to be responsible only to deal with the external threats but lets also remember that this is the only organ of our democracy that is most organized and our last resort in case of any eventuality on that we can bank upon. In the democracies public is the overall master of the nation and every act in the running of the affairs of the nation is done in public interest, whether it is question of appointing of a Director General of police or appointment of a constable, everything is done in public interest but as a matter of fact the public interest is just a formality or ceremonial but it is the vested interests that have taken over the whole process. at the time of independence every district used to have a police officer in the rank of a captain level officer, even today District police chiefts are called Police Kaptaan. Investigation officers used to be police officers of the rank of Sub-Inspectors or Seargents which continues till date. whether it is murder of Jessica lal or Priyadarshini mattoo or Nitish Katara, or Nithari, IOs are still of the rank of Sub Inspectors( they could be promotee or Direct entrant graduates). The entire evidence in the court of law is presented by the IO and not by the district police chiefs, they neither have any accountability in this whole process nor any responsibilty but they can influence the IOs by the virtue of their position. There is not any corresponding increase in the posts of Sub Inspectors as much increase has taken place in the ranks of Director Generals. UP Police that is infamous for its corrupt and inefficient ways and remains in the news for all the wrong reasons, has 56 Three star Generals(15 DGs and 41 Addl DGs), It has 58 two star generals who are master in creating weired fantasies during the press confrences and stigmatise the people like Dr.Talwar. It has 67 three star generals. all these general rank officers know nothing about security but they can be seen gracing the various security related appointments and Intellengence appointments. the entire police leadership of post independent era has failed india by not learning the profession and developing the police appratus they way it was required, rather it began on a unhealthy competetion with armed forces in copying its functioning and that is reflected in compltete police working. In army a brigade commander has his well defined role and he commands the troops in the quantum of a brigade and takes his brigade in attack or defence but when it comes to Police DIG, they just created this rank to advance their own vested interest but it has neither accountability nor functional utility. Similar is the story with every general rank in the police forces. latest copy cat formula borrowed from armed forces by the police organizations is the adoption of DIV SIGN (formation sign) on the left or right arm of the uniform and the flag culture. it has its relevance in army in tactical modes but why public money has been blown up to get it embroidered on Khaki police uniforms , it is just a small example of the professional bankcruptcy of police leadership. The kamtes and Karkares of Maharastra Police part of so called highly euoliged Anti Terror Squad were in the ranks of DIG and IG(Brigadier and Major General) and what they mobiliged to counter the terrorists was an Inspector so called enncounter specialist Inspector salaskar, who had about 75 kills to his credit but all these specialists are killed like sitting ducks without even firing a single shot( statement of their constable who was in the same Qualis vehicle and pretended to be dead to the terrorists) but their unprofessionalism is decorated with gallantery medals on republic day. Yea! gallantry medals have got everything to do with the seniority of rank, more the seniority, higher the gallantry. In police funtioning getting gallantry award is a ritual, as it will bring the perks of tax rebate free travel and other benefits. There is Politics of Police reforms. The so called police reformer Mr.Prakash singh was questioned by me on one ocassion about so called propaganda of political interference, when questioned that whether you are operationally independent or not, he had no answers. There is no interference into operational functioni8ng of the police and if it is tolerated it reflects upon the unprofessional conduct of the police officers. basically police is the most corrupt and most powerful organ of this democracy and we people need to begin this exercise to build up public opinion on the issue of accoutability and corruption in police and police reforms from people’s perspective. Through this forum I would invite all the vigilant citigens and retired officers to come together, let us begin with holding a seminar on this issue at delhi. we can be reached on following email address    aridaman@nishanjustice.org     please visit us at www.nishanjustice.org and also my blog    http://call100.blogspot.com/ I congratulate the General for having written such a good article.
Aridaman Jit singh
31 Mar 2009
Very sorry state of affairs, I feel it is the politicians who are the culprit,they tend to favour police dept as they have a personal axe to grind, however when they are pushed to a wall they remember defence forces to rescue them. I think it is high time the greedy,thick skinned,& highly corrupt politicians are dumped in the Arabian Sea.
Naresh Malik
01 Apr 2009
I read your article on the two land forces with some interest. There are some factual inaccuracies and methodology related issues that I would like to draw your kind attention to.
First of all the table showing the police and the Army strengths is completely flawed. Are there only 9 officers in the Armed Forces of PB-4 grade and above? By my count there are about 750 officers of Brigadier rank and above in the Army alone. Correspondingly, the no of DIG rank and above officers in the IPS is about 1500. Considering that by your admission there are twice as many men under the police having twice as many senior officers would not be entirely out of place.
Second, your vacancy position is also flawed, in the IPS too as 01/01/09 and I am quoting from the MHA’s website, against an authorised strength of 3889 there are 3332 officers available, a shortfall of over 15%. Not as much as the Army but significant nonetheless.
Third your comparison of a division with UP Police is flawed. A division level formation is about 20,000 men. The UP police today has a sanctioned strength of over 3,00,000. The two are not comparable in any way. And the no of sanctioned DG level posts in the government of India, including deputation reserves etc are well under 100 and not 300.
Soldiers love to comment on the incompetence of the police, should we talk in the same manner about Kargil when criminal negligence by the Army formations on the ground allowed the Pakistanis to infiltrate and occupy our positions and then regaining our own territory with considerable American pressure was proclaimed as a great victory? All institutions have their strengths and weaknesses and this display of contempt and condescension by our soldiers for civilian institutions is completely uncalled for.
You dared us to name a general who was a zealot, perhaps you have heard the name of General Shahbeg Singh who was killed leading the terrorists in Operation Bluestar? Colonel Purohit, recently arrested by the Maharashtra ATS is another case in point. The point is that like the civil services the Armed Forces have their black sheep too, only they are better hidden from the public gaze under the guise of national security.
Your point about absorbing sidelined military personnel in the CPOs reflects a parochial mindset. How would you feel if we suggested that all those rejected in the UPSC interview were given a commission in the Army to make up for your shortfall of officers? Resettlement of young soldiers is an area of concern, but please try to see the merit in the argument that the skills and orientation required for soldiering and policing, despite the superficial similarities of uniform, may in fact be quite different. In today’s world, the Police are a well established and well recognized a profession as the Armed Forces with their unique requiremnts of training, porfessional skills and orientation. The point dear sir is that we in the civil services have our professional pride too. We don’t pretend we can do your job better than you and it would be nice if for a change serving and retired soldiers were gracious enough to return this courtesy.
The Army has the structure it does for its own internal operational logic. You have a battalion with 20 odd officers. In a police district, there are seldom more than 2 or three IPS officers. The Armed Forces are welcome to shift to a four tier system of entry to ensure that a few thousand officers in the fast track would have promotion prospects similar to the IPS and the IAS. How that would impact your organization and operational efficiency is for you to assess. The IAS/IPS are the top executive cadre of the civil services while in the Armed Forces the officer cadre performs the whole gamut of managerial functions from platoon level upwards. You can’t compare the much larger top half of a two tier pyramid with the much smaller top level of a four tier pyramid. The Colonel of 20 years service may feel reluctant in being courteous to a DIG on only 14 years of service. But please consider the fact that the DIG may be a product of IIT/IIM, and he is responsible for a division consisting of three to four districts and a population in excess of four-five million. Length of service may be an absolute value in the Armed Forces but it is quite strange to expect that civil institutions can be structured in such rigid terms.
Your prescription for tackling the terrorist menace flies in the face of historical experience. Tactical prowess of the kind the military excels in is of course required to combat specific instances of terror but it needs strategic leadership and good governance too something that is best left to civilians. The experience of terrorism in Punjab, where it was the inspiring leadership of two IPS officers, Shri Ribeiro and Shri Gill that turned the tide, is a case in point. If terrorism could be countered by military might alone the Kashmir Valley and the North-east would have been silent a long ago.
No right minded civil servant in the IAS/IPS would deny that the civil services really need to get their act together and start performing. Corruption and incompetence in our services are a serious cause for concern. But at the same time one has to appreciate the enormous pressures and constraints faced by today’s civil servants. The police population ratio in India is far below international norms, we have meagre resources for training. Welfare of our men is much neglected. But if we talk about improving the pay and working conditions of our police forces and this will be opposed by the Armed Forces because in 1935 a captain of the Army was the SSP of a district, then I think meaningful police reforms will always be held hostage to the izzat and iqbal of the Armed Forces.
You express contempt at the fact that the Army is often requested to assist civil authorities for a whole range of situations. The nation invests roughly three times as many resources in its Armed Forces each year as it does on the police and the Armed Forces are the only insititution that has the specialized equipment and the trained manpower to deal with such requests. The Armed Forces are not doing anyone a favour by responding to such requests. This is very much a part of their duties in democratic societies and to suggest otherwise shows a feudal/colonial mindest. Even in the US the Armed Forces are routinely called out to assist in relief and rescue after major natural disasters/accidents .
The Armed Forces are an institution every Indian is justifiably proud of. Your professionalism, your sense of dedication,  your discipline are something worth admiring and emulating. But of late the kind of comments that have come out of our soldiers are biased, ill-informed and display a shocking lack of perspective about the challenges facing our country.
warm regards
Abhinav Kumar
Abhinav Kumar
01 Apr 2009
I appreciate contents of blogs by Abhinav and deepak.
07 Apr 2009
I think both sides should sit down and put their brains together for the improvement of what all is wrong today in our society. Mud-slinging would help nobody and leave both organisations open to ridicule by the man on the street. Rhetoric has to be kept low in these dangerous times. Contempt for one another would not lead us anywhere.
Navdeep Singh
08 Apr 2009
Navdeep who is going to bell the cat? And what is the forum ?  Though the suggestion is GREAT and well meaning , it is easier said than done .I hope the Govt ,especially the Politicians better wake up fast and put  its various organs in their right perspective .Time has come where every one has to think before they speak and take a firm stand where it is required and stop being YESMAN. Heads of variou organisations have to think of the responsibilty they are shouldering rather than securing their own futures.It is never too late! Col V K TALWAR 6 Shelley Road,Wellesley Hills,M A 02481 US
Col V KTalwar
09 Apr 2009
I am reminded of video images of  a private Hindi news channel during the days of Mumbai flood (due to heaviest rainfall) which showed an army jawan with a spade (phavda) and a tagara (ghamela) filling it with mud with a Dy Comm. of police being present behind the jawan and giving live interview to the channel. . Of the 30,000 strength of Mumbai police no one  was doing such work. . The army is called to do menial labor !
01 May 2009
I am reminded of video images of  a private Hindi news channel during the days of Mumbai flood (due to heaviest rainfall) which showed an army jawan with a spade (phavda) and a tagara (ghamela) filling it with mud with a Dy Comm. of police being present behind the jawan and giving live interview to the channel. . Of the 30,000 strength of Mumbai police no one  was doing such work. . The army is called to do menial labor !
01 May 2009
01 May 2009
I am extremely surprised by the absolute bogus and msleading information provided by Mr. Singh. I being a Maj. Gen in the Indian Army always welcomed the development of Civil Administration in our country which in turn would help the common man. Who says IPS officers have not sacrificed their lifes for out country? During Mumbai Blasts, it was the Mumbai Police with para-military forces (again leaded by IPS) who resolved this complex issue. It highlt unfortuante for people like Mr. Singh to talk something which provied shame and disgrace to his own uniform.
For people like him on the brighter side, is our General. His salary is equavalent to cabinet Secreatry. Isn’t it? But does the police in India have such privelage? It was the 6th pay commission which brought some justice to IPS officers by equating DGP to Leutenant General. HATS OFF!
Please be positive for what you have.
Maj. Gen. Biru Prasad Indian Army
Maj. Gen. Biru Prasad
25 Oct 2009
All highly qualified graduate jokers are fighting here and the illetrate politicians having the fun.  Armed forces and civil servants should form a political party and fight against these handful illetrates (root cause) who are ruining the country. Lets accept that if we want to progress than we need to accept the language and customs of the customers (outside world) till the time we (our economy) come in dictating terms. Is there anything in language (MNS issue), caste (SC/ST/OBC) divide. These are the tools used by politicians to engage the educated youth (police and armed forces) to control the unorganised civilians. Can a politician conduct a rally without the cooperation of police and administration?
Dear friends……..please realise that if we really care for the country than please fight the root cause and not each other…………….If it a time pass, than I have nothing to say.
24 Nov 2009


  1. Onkar pal Singh says:

    a very touchy & thought provoking article……..

  2. Ram Gulrajani says:

    Dear General

    An interesting and incisive comparison between two land forces. But who cares? We (Defence Forces) are victims of our own doing. Ever since this down-grading started, we have mutely accepted our position without anyone from the top leadership ever raising an objection. For all the sterling qualities attributed to our senior officers, they are all weak kneed when it comes to exercising our right and confronting the politicians and babus. For all their smart uniform, expanded chest, broad shoulders and twirling moustache the military leadership inside is hollow and chicken hearted. Psychologically too, we are taught right from the time we enter academy till we retire to be subservient to anyone who is ‘senior’ or is authorised to give ‘orders’. We learn to be sheep, always following a shepherd or being hounded by a herding dog. We need not discuss a different point of view because it will be termed as ‘argument’ and reflected in the ACR. To prevent your chicken from being cooked, we keep saying ‘yes Sir’ even to the most silly orders and doing silly things. This psychological impact lasts us the whole tenure in uniform. At no time an officer is himself while in uniform … he is artificial, hollow, subservient, incapable of defying decisions (those who do, get bravery awards) and all the time used to taking orders. And because we surrender our freedom of speech and come under Army Act, we become totally incapable of standing up to rubbish even when we reach the highest rank. That’s the folly responsible for our relegation to the status of nincompoops. If we do not correct ourselves, time will not be far when soldiers in India will be asked to sweep the streets of Delhi, clean the houses of politicians, babus, IGs and DIGs of police, when sweepers go on strike.

    I keep wondering why our serving Generals can’t give their opinion on burning political and social issues? Should Defence Forces not be instrumental in making course corrections when the country is being steered to damnation? Are we exhibiting our bravery seeing the tamasha being enacted before us? All such questions that arise in my mind get one answer: Fault is not with our stars, but that we are underlings (the Bard said something like that).

    My loyalty to the forces prevents me from sharing such thoughts with anyone other than a fellow soldier.

    Thank you, General, for stirring my blood.

    Ram Gulrajani.

  3. Deepa Roy says:

    A wonderful article…and a eye-opener…:))

    A nice read..thank you Sir

  4. Bajaj says:

    I had read your piece earlier but read it again and liked it.

    I am fully with you but does anyone care?

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