A few fundamental questions scrape right into the fray here. For one, how many Indian parents see a sustainable future in their kids taking up the forces? Or, how many kids, for that matter, are charmed enough to join the defence services over a high paying white-collar assignment? Or, what matters more—an IT hack, a multi-million IT deal, or intermittent LOC intrusions?
For someone who has served his heart out to defence, seeing our defence services at the forefront will always be a special charm. One of the things this obviously entails is assuring our young of a secured future. The good old enchantment towards defence must be retraced. But it all comes to ‘how’?
One apparent measure is revisiting the existing pay scales. But even that alone won’t cut it. It needs a much more concerted effort to not allow defence issues to be traded, politicised, or gained from. Even conscription can be debated. After all, if Austria can make military service obligatory, we can at least give it some thought.
Taming corruption is another big aspect. It couldn’t get worse when allegations taint a country’s most prestigious institution. This is where the media must cut away from being used as a political guinea pig. I firmly believe that a sensitized media can be the making of a culture which respects its defence services. Only if it works towards bridging gaps that’ve crept between ground issues and mass perception.
Finally, it’s about passion. I remember when I first joined as a naval marine, not a day passed when my uniform didn’t elicit my salute. And not a bit has changed since then. Unfortunately, passion can only be felt, not acquired. And I am sure it just needs to be evoked right?