Major General (Retd) Ian Cardozo, a 1971 war hero who lost his leg in the war and went on to become the first disabled officer to command an infantry battalion and then a Brigade, in an interview had detailed his conversation with a Pak Junior Commissioned Officer after they surrendered. He was a Major with 5 Gorkha Rifles back then. He asked the JCO if he can give his men some blankets from the Pak Army store. When the JCO agreed, he asked politely if any blankets remain, can the JCO give it to the Indian officers. That was surprising for the Pak JCO. He asked if even the officers don’t have blankets. For that, the Major replied: “When the jawans do not have blankets, then how can the officers have them?”. The Pak JCO saluted young Major and said. “had we had officers like those in India, we would not have seen this day”. Indian Army takes extreme proud in the fact that it has one of the highest Officer to Jawan casualty ratio. It’s linked to the ethos of leading from the front. Lines written on the wall of IMA hall reads “The safety, honour and welfare of the country comes first, always and every time, the honour, welfare and comfort of the men you command comes next and your own ease, comfort and safety come last always and every time”. But recently, “exposes” and “stings” are doing rounds which paints a completely different picture of the Armed Forces. Initially, I was only worried about the disiplinary aspect of Jawans resorting to social media instead of using offfical channel. I knew the food & facilties for Indian Jawans were/are not world class. Am not a jingoist and I know there was and there corruption in the armed forces. I thought for some strange reason, Jawans became brave all of a sudden to go public. But the last sting which ended up in Lance Naik Roy Mathew’s suicide is forcing me to doubt a conspiracy. It was clear that the Jawan didn’t know he was talking to a reporter. Still there was no attempt to protect the identity of the soldier. It almost looked like somebody wanted a martyr and a rift and mistrust between commissioned and non-commissioned ranks in Indian Armed forces. There were many instances where arrested ISI agents revealed that their handlers had asked them if they can recruit anyone from the Army. We have seen during Kargil war also, how ISI used such mistrust among the soldiers to get potential recruits. Back then, the propaganda was to create mistrust amoung Nepali Soldiers in Indian Army. A timely inquiry in Lance Naik Roy Mathew’s unfortunate death is the need of the hour.
A Conspiracy against the Armed Forces