Information is the new oil, and the Indian Army has realised this, albeit a little too late. The Army is finally in the process of changing its 15-year-old media policy. In the age of Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter and Tik Tok, the Army has to find new ways to stay nimble and on top of the information cycle.
The previous policy of 2005 was formulated before the boom of TV channels, and hence, does not take into account how to really use the electronic and digital media space. It’s shocking that all current policies are officer-driven and ad hoc.
It is time the Indian military has a joint media and information warfare policy. The Services cannot and should not be allowed to work in silos, thinking that digging their head into the sand is the best way to fight the information warfare.
IAF and Navy are no different
It is not just the Army. The Indian Air Force’s (IAF) media policy dates back to 2011. Anyone who covers the defence beat or is associated with the defence set up knows that the IAF is a tough nut to crack when it comes to information or interaction with officers or visit to airbases.
What is sad is that many senior IAF officers reading this will actually feel proud about the fact that they are the most opaque among the three Services.
This is foolhardy because information always has the ability to flow out even if slowly and in an incomplete way.