19 January, 2021

The Body Politic In Uniform

The armed forces aren't completely impervious to political winds

Illustration by Sorit
The Body Politic In Uniform
The terror attack in Malegaon has had an unexpected military consequence. A few military officers, at least one still in service, are under scrutiny for involvement. This is a revelation of, and a cause for serious concern about, the extent to which communal animosity has pervaded the nation’s polity. The subsequent discourse has, however, focused only on the politicisation of the army and the defence forces. What does the involvement of these officers in terror attacks—yet to be proved—portend for the armed forces’ stability and apolitical identity?

The links between terrorism, communal animosity and politicisation of the armed forces are tenuous. The forces have largely been free from demands to adapt their actions to political agendas—despite occasional pressure to selectively intensify or scale down operations in insurgency-hit areas when elections approach or negotiations are on. Military commanders have effectively resisted this, and the junior leadership is wholly free of partisan action. This neutrality makes the army a...



To read this piece, and more such stories in India's most exciting and exacting magazine, plus get access to our 25-year archives goldmine, please subscribe.

More from V.R. Raghavan

Latest Magazine

January 25, 2021

other articles from the issue

articles from the previous issue

Other magazine section