Why does a nation of 1.3 billion people, a multicultural, multiethnic and chaotic democracy with shades of excellence individually, continue to fail us collectively in joint endeavours for the national good? A question that begs for answers from our 1.3 million-strong military community, which boasts of many legends and stories of indomitable valour and courage, is the one that has been the subject of much acrimony and public debate in the recent past: “Theaterisation” of existing silos of the Army, Navy and the Air Force. While it is a given that each service has its unique ethos, culture, doctrine and operational philosophy and the endeavour to achieve its goals and objectives is non-negotiable, universally across the services, why can they not see eye to eye for the greater national good?
At the national and strategic level, one has to rise beyond turf wars and battles for a command of theatres to be able to see what best serves the national interest. The officers and men of each service come from the same stock, joining each service at a young and impressionable age, growing in the organization and imbibing the service ethos and culture which gets so deeply ingrained that it becomes difficult, though not impossible, to shed as years go by. It is a truism that one’s views and opinions are based on perceptions and these, in turn, get formed by what one sees and hears. Professional knowledge and acumen at the tactical level, for individual service-related warfighting, is not only essential but mandatory if one has to be successful as in a war you cannot be ‘runners up.’
However, as one grows in service every professional has to rise beyond the tactical level to see how the punch can be made stronger and lethal for the adversary. This is where maturity and sagacity come in and this has to be visibly acknowledged and displayed by the senior leadership at the helm.