defence

GENERAL OPPORTUNITY

Much has been written about the Shakespearian pantomime of the honest general seething with petty resentments and the honest minister, redolent in repose; both seemingly self-obsessed with their own imagery even as their institutions drift into dangerous waters. Despite recent efforts to cool tempers a little, the byzantine intrigue, the calculated media leaks, the bruising […..]

GENERAL DISARRAY

Honour is a funny word, an abstract concept that can mean anything based on the context. Old soldiers will tell you that when it really comes down to it, they fight and die more for the honour of their regiment or unit than for other highfalutin ideals such as mere patriotism. Other men also kill […..]

THE GENERAL’S BIRTHDAY

Absurdness comes in various forms. In the stratified levels of the uniformed bureaucracy it seems to come in the form of a birth day, or more accurately, birth year. Decorated soldiers are usually expected to know when they were born so when the Army Chief thought his real birth day was on 10 May 1951, […..]

IF GI JANE CAN, WHY NOT MAJOR SEEMA?

At a time when the Army is being accused of a gender bias in denying permanent commissions to women officers, two stories have symbolised the debate this week: Major Mitali Madhusmita becoming the first Indian woman soldier awarded a gallantry award (Sena Medal) for saving lives after the bombing of the Indian embassy in Kabul […..]

CLUELESS IN SOUTH BLOCK

Beijing passed a message last week when it tested the J-20, its new generation locally produced stealth fighter, from an airbase in Sichuan on the day US Defence Secretary Robert Gates landed in China to discuss resumption of defence ties. Intended as a direct threat to US carrier fleets in the region, the J-20 is […..]

STAIN ON THE OLIVE GREEN

The first thing every cadet passing through the hallowed portals of the National Defence Academy in Khadakvasla learns is its motto: ‘˜Service before self’. If the goings-on at Mumbai’s ironically mis-named Adarsh Society have even a kernel of truth in them, today’s cadets now know that at least some of their senior-most officers apparently couldn’t […..]

Sorry! All Off the Record

The Army chopper was circling over Bhuj. It was 2001, beneath us was an entire city flattened as if with a sledgehammer and the words had dried up over the helicopter’s headphones. We were filming the first pictures after the deadly earthquake and sitting next to us, the general stuck up a conversation. Pointing to […..]