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Don’t criticise CDS, service chiefs for integrity pledge. Accept corruption in armed forces

8 102 25
05.11.2020

In public perception, the Indian armed forces are considered the most honest out of all government organisations. Consequently, the increasing corruption cases in the armed forces are always ‘headline news’ and cause of immense dismay. Armed forces are the nation’s instrument of last resort and must not ever fail. Corruption reflects on the leadership standards of the armed forces and affects their capabilities. If the military is dishonest with respect to money matters, then there is a question mark on its commitment in battle. As a high court judge aptly said last year, “Corruption in any department cannot be tolerated but when it comes to corruption in Indian Army, this fact substantially shakes the very confidence of the society”.

Two days after the armed forces observed the Vigilance Awareness Week, India Today published a report on 29 October with a rather embarrassing headline — “Even Ladakh not spared, construction scams force Indian Army to rope in CBI”. It highlighted rampant corruption in the Military Engineering Services (MES), which function under the Engineer in Chief of the Army. In my view, it’s the hierarchy that is primarily responsible for the prevailing corruption in the armed forces due to incompetence or lack of integrity.

As per the advisory of the Central Vigilance Commission, Chief of Defence Staff (CDS) General Bipin Rawat and the service chiefs took the integrity pledge in well-publicised ceremonies. One can assume that the entire chain of command must also have done a similar exercise. While the essentials of the integrity pledge are already formally codified in the rules, regulations and military law, the taking of the pledge in public, seems to reflect the commitment of the hierarchy to eradicate corruption in the armed forces.

I analyse the nature of corruption in the armed forces, its causes and remedial measures.

Also read: Ordnance factories are now a ‘hurdle’ for armed forces. Corporatisation is the........

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