Indian Military Officials Appeal against the Political Appropriation of the Military

Indian Military Officials appeal to the President of the State to stop political parties from using the military or associated symbols for political gains.

Priyanka Yadav / The New Leam

[dropcap]I[/dropcap]n a letter addressed to the President of India 150 veteran army officials have urged the head of the state to exercise his discretionary powers. The letter signed by the army officials read “We urge to you to take all necessary steps to urgently direct all political parties that they must forth with desist from using the military, military uniforms or symbols, and any actions by the military formations or personnel, for political purposes or to further their own agenda”.

The letter was signed by 9 veteran senior military officials including three former Army Chiefs General Sunith Francis Rodgrigues, General Shankar Roy Chowdhury, General Deepak Kapoor, Four former Navy Chief Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas, Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat, Admiral Arun Prakash, Admiral Suresh Mehta and former Air Force Chief Marshall NC Suri.

Large hoardings have come up at prominent places in Muzaffarnagar thanking the Narendra Modi government and the Indian Army for the strong retaliation along the LoC. Photo: Special Arrangement

Right before the elections, the letter was initiated in order to bring this to the notice of both the President of India and the Election Commission of India that military is not the puppet of any political party. The veteran officials raised their concerns over the misuse of military, military actions and images of the military personnel for political gains.

During the Balakot air strike the air force official Abhinandan Varthaman was detained in Pakistan but later on after brief investigation the officials of the state government of Pakistan released Abhinandan safely to his homeland.

Soon after his detention and his release several images of the official on TV channels and social media platform started flooding causing rumors of all kind. Such kind of misleading images and information only affected the reputation of the military and the officials. The Pulwama attack was and continues to be glorified at length by parties and party workers which neither adheres to the spirit of democracy nor does it gives due respect to the model code of conduct.

Pertaining to these incidents the former military officials wrote to the President that “ We refer to the unusual and completely unacceptable practice of political leaders taking credit for military operations like cross border strikes and even going so far as to claim the Armed Forces to be “Modi ji ki Sena”. This is in addition to media pictures of election platforms and campaigns in which party workers are seen wearing military uniforms and posters and images with pictures of soldiers and especially of Indian Air force Wing Commander Abhinandan Varthaman, displayed.”

With this concern the officials decided to make an appeal letter to the President to stop political parties from using the military for political gains. The military as argued by them is not meant for political maneuvering or increasing the vote bank. They have a simple task in hand: to safeguard the territory of the nation and its people and the President of the country by the virtue of being the commander-in-chief is in the position to command the military and not any political party.

Recently 600 artists from different fields of art wrote an appeal to the citizens of the state to not vote for the ruling part if they wish to protect the secular and diverse fabric of the country. After that, this appeal made by the veteran officials of the military brings to light the fact that in the contemporary times, the usage of the army and associated symbols for political vote banks has increased multi-fold. The army belongs to the nation-state as an entity and not to any political party; the appeal made by the concerned military officials reminds us of this appropriation and urges us to problematize it.

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