Wednesday, November 30, 2016

The military needs professional audit, says a serving young officer. I agree

For the past 12 hours, I am being had (as they say in the fauj) for raising what I consider legitimate questions on why is the military taking a battering (from Uri to Nagrota via Pathankot) in J &K. While no one doubts the bravery, commitment and professionalism of our men in uniform, many civilians are asking the question: Why are military bases attacked with such regularity and with apparent success by terrorists?Why can't such attacks be minimised, if not prevented altogether? 

I am no fauji (as many key-board warriors remind me all the time on social media because I haven't served) but as someone who has operated in various insurgency theatres in north-east, J&K and Sri Lanka since 1983, I have a semblance of idea of what it means to be in a conflict zone. But don't take my word for it. 

Here's a serving young officer's take on what is happening vis-a-vis the military of late. For obvious reasons he will remain unnamed!

Well, We are at war. Look around if you doubt it. The situation in Kashmir and most of the north west border is volatile.

We knew that this WILL happen. The enemy is ready to hit and we are also doing the same. War does have its collaterals.


Pathankot, Uri and Nagrota. It's good to brand the dead as martyrs. But that does not take away the need to assess the why of the incident.

Systemic problems.

It's easy to identify and weed out individual failure. When it cancers out into the system, the instinct to survive ensures that ugly facts are brushed under the carpet.


No hierarchy was held accountable for failures at Nyoma, Samba, Nagrota, Machhal etc. The garb of collective blame took away the lessons needed to be learnt making the military as just another unaccountable bureaucracy of the Govt.

Inbred ideas.

Today we all like to be self audited. It's good not scientifically proven to be ineffective. E.g.  In Control Systems, if a system is only given positive feedback. It becomes unstable and collapses. Similarly a system without feedback has no control and self consumes.

The military needs professional audit by HR professionals, security experts and third party groups having no stake in the existing narrative. Self analysis will never reveal the actual fault lines.

Holy Cow

Only the nation is a holy cow. Everything else can and should be questioned for bringing out improvements. I feel that the government should take decisions through its collective wisdom and not let perceptions get in way of executive decisions that need to be timely.


  1. Short and incisive. Armed forces need third party audit to remove flab and ineffective / inefficient leadership. NaMo Gov must take lead in this matter and establish long-term policy.

  2. Nitin despite our not so frequent interaction, I follow you with an eagle eye. Whether you follow me I have no idea. As regards audit, that youngster is correct. And that's it. Methodology apart facts must never be brushed under the carpet. I know old collegues will rip me apart but truth always hurts. Period. Cheers

  3. Absolutely agree... I say this after having served in the military & now in an MNC. Even as I write this I have just concluded an audit of my team by an external team of auditors who do this for a living. Audits are a very effective method to review systems & the military needs one YESTERDAY

  4. This man is not the first n won't be last to raise what is a long felt requirement. Many (self included) have done so and suffered. But the question is why those are never held responsible who use AFs as a political tool for political advantage but steer clear when faced with a crisis. Heads must roll everywhere, be it higher military leadership or the damn netas.

  5. Nitin,I think the issue is being appreciated incorrectly by you and the youngster, in its entirety . Are you really holding the military heirarchy responsible for these terrorist strikes? What makes you think that their neutralization could have been done without any casualties. And, I am aghast that you mention some sort of an Audit? By whom--a mil court? the NSA ? a board of officers?? a parliamentary committee? an analytics Company? Is there a fault of military leadership that terrorist attacks take place or is it a national failure of our policies? Is the military having a free hand to retaliate across the border with the quantum of force to deter further such future misadventures?? Do you really think that there is a lack of good leadership in the military as compared to the 'good old days'?? I find it amazing that you say, "We knew that this Will happen" - - - of course we knew, the entire nation knew. So what do we do: have battalions, divisions and brigades lined up along a porous border line abreast?? A small band of determined suicide fiyadeen cannot be stopped. What can be done, is to ensure that they don't escape. Own casualties will be there and remember that the element of surprise is always with them.

    1. well said. in today's scenario of ppl savy for social media can pick up his mobile and type anything. the guerilla warfare needs guerilla tac for success.

  6. I am a serving Offr of Indian army. Firstly let it be very clear to all of you who r master in just commenting by sitting in AC offices without having any idea of combat and aware of ABCD of security. I m sure that each individual of Indian army is a professional and committed to serve the nation till last drop of blood. Let us don't equate soldiery with accounts by auditing it. I respect Nitin Gokhle but don't agree with you at all and raising such nonsense issue of auditing Indian army professionalism.

  7. Nitin there you are the feelings of three colleagues. The former two are very dear friends. And now that you have spoken and I have done what is called , "the first DAK reaction," then let us add just a few words to their views. The word audit is WRONG. Maybe you needed to use inquiry. And maybe as DS Sarao says why not start with the lopsided Govt policies. Let's audit their philosophy. With people like you and apologies my friend, the Press and TV media has ruined the very core of the Armed Forces.