Guest post by GAUTAM NAVLAKHA
Notwithstanding popular perception, professional soldiers do not join the armed services out of overwhelming ‘patriotism’. They are in fact driven by the desire to get a job that offers material security for them and their family. It is predominantly their own livelihood needs that drives people to enlist. On the other hand, the main objective of any government’s concern is to keep the morale of such professional soldiers high, so that they would go out and fight anyone as directed by the government, whether it is ‘enemies’ outside the nation’s borders or within – conducting the predatory war for ‘development’ which profits the corporate class or suppressing popular movements.
More than 101 Districts out of 680 in India are notified as ‘Disturbed Area’ where the military forces enjoy immunity from prosecution and exercise extraordinary authority. In addition, in 35 other districts similar conditions operate even though these have not been notified as “Disturbed Area”. However, the Union Ministry of Home Affairs exempts the personnel, through a notification, from prosecution for any crime they commit in course of their service in the designated areas. In the ‘Disturbed Areas’ the Army has begun to exercise veto power over both withdrawal of troops as well as removal of Armed Forces Special Powers Act. That apart, the very size of the military force, its use and misuse, its degradation, the fiscal ramifications and socio-political consequences of a bloated military are some of the aspects that invite scrutiny. Continue reading Armed Forces as livelihood and State power: Gautam Navlakha