National security implications of OROP agitation

Jaibans Singh

OROP AgitationThe Indian army, not too far back, had a great tradition of families serving the organisation for generations on end. In fact, there used to be no house in many villages of the martial communities that did not have at least one person in the Army. All ranks from a Sepoy to a General were covered from among the clansmen and kin among many communities.

This happy situation went on for a few decades after independence before the erosion set in. The new generation simply turned its face from the armed forces. The boys looked for jobs in other sectors; the girls looked for matches outside the force. It was quite evident that the children were dissatisfied with the lives of their parents and had decided to move on.

The last nail in the coffin, so far as this erosion is concerned, has now been put by the response of the Government of India to the demand of One Rank One Pension (OROP) being made by the veteran (retired) soldiers of the armed forces.

The prevailing sentiment has been expressed most aptly by a veteran who is a part of the agitation and whose son has opted for a career out of the army thus breaking a century of family tradition. “Had my son been serving in the army he would not have been able to tolerate seeing me languishing in filthy Jantar Mantar, New Delhi in the middle of the summer to demand from the government a pittance in the form of OROP. He would have been left with no option but to resign from service.  It is all for the better that he did not join the army.”

Whatever credibility the forces had is being lost due to this debilitating face off. The onus falls directly on the political leadership. The politicians brazenly exploited the soldiers as election assets. The simple demand of OROP was accepted by the political class across the board as justifiable. Now it has become clear that it was simply one of the many promises made during the elections which was never intended to be implemented. Even if the Congress had come to power the result would have been the same.

A predominant perception is that the bureaucracy is the bigger culprit.  There is need to see the matter in perspective. Some resistance from the bureaucracy was expected, so it cannot be blamed of perfidy. It is the political class that made the promises and it is the political class that has the power to implement them. The amount involved is a pittance considering the budget of the government. The political leadership can override bureaucratic resistance but is unwilling to do so.

The way things are moving, the original demand of OROP is in danger of being overwhelmed by a larger issue concerning the position of the soldiering community within the political and social fabric of the Nation.  The extra few thousands that the OROP will give to the retired soldiers are now irrelevant in the face of the looming threat to national security.

In case the community of soldiers backs off now, it will lose its place of respect in the national mainstream for all times to come. Unscrupulous forces will ride rough shod over the soldiers in the future and exploit them to the hilt. With time the organisation will lose its self-esteem and confidence with disastrous consequences to the nation.

Earlier there were many retired soldiers who were not a part in the OROP movement.  At this stage, when an unconcerned nation looks on while the veteran soldiers, once proud and honourable, suffer unprecedented humiliation, it has become impossible to remain aloof and unconcerned.

This columnist is one among the late entrants in the fray and this piece is an offshoot of joining the agitation. The reason is not a desire for more pension; it is the larger issue of a promise broken and a revered community debased for petty political gains.

The veteran soldiers are now realising the wisdom of the younger generation that shed their tradition to move with the times and look for jobs outside the defence services. They now feel that their children were more practical and intelligent. The children knew full well that the military service would not allow them to attain their true potential in independent, democratic India. This is a sad day for the nation.

The serving soldiers are also keeping a keen eye on the proceedings; among them there is a predominance of first generation soldiers who have joined the force as a profession. They are watching the development with keen interest since it will affect their future also. It can only be hoped that the Nation will not have to pay a heavy price for its indifference.

Historically, it has been proved that a nation cannot maintain a position of dominance without adequate military power. Seeing the European countries today it would be difficult to visualise that, not too long ago, they collectively ruled the world. Today, within the world community they lack respect because they do not have the requisite military might.

The countries that have an aspiration to dominate world affairs are concentrating as much on building of military muscle as on economic power. The rise of the Chinese military machine is a true example of this fact.

It is imperative to focus on the reality, however brutal. The sadistic, egoistic pleasure that some segments of the Indian society are getting from the discomfiture of the veteran soldiers does not acknowledge the danger being posed to the Nation.This OROP face off is a classic case of being “penny wise, pound foolish.” One can only hope that good sense will prevail before it is too late.

Jaibans Singh
About Jaibans Singh 475 Articles
Jaibans Singh is a Delhi based analyst of defence and security affairs specialising in J&K and Pakistan. He is Post graduate in Journalism and Mass Communication from Punjabi University with a Gold Medal. His areas of interest are Analysing defence and security aspects which impact national security, sharing views in reputed think tanks like CLAWS and CENJOWS of which he is a member, providing consutancy to defence based visual media projects of noted channels like DD and National Geographic and other freelance defence related work.


  1. Dear Col Jaibans,
    Well written and a prod to the political class to fulfill the promises else their sound sleep while the faujis keep vigil will become a distant dream.
    Sure they will not be able to import an army to protect the borders from hostile neighbours.

  2. Weldone Lally. I enjoyed reading it expressing true gut feelings of a veteran. Keep it up. We need to make our public aware as to how our politicians/ govt treats the men who gave their best years of life in Service of the Nation.

  3. Col jaibans,
    I totally agree with your sentiment and has been rightly analysed. The forces are no longer a honourable profession for youngsters due to the hardships they have seen during their parents service and are seeing now.

  4. I am in full agreement with you. The present NDA govt has taken the serving and the ESM for a ride. The promise of giving OROP was a election gimmick . The govt apparently does not understand the implications on the morale of the serving class. The earlier they wake up the better.

  5. Jaibans,
    I am in agreement with you. I was a fifth generation fauzi, my son has refused to serve in the forces because of pitiable conditions and Govt apathy. The Govt, it appears, only responds to arm twisting tactics, (Dausa and Delhi incidents are an example)being adopted by varous groups to get their demands through. Just because Forces are a disciplined lot, they are being taken for a ride by the Politicians for personal gains. Indeed a very sad state of affairs.

  6. I agree with you to a certain extent, but I want you to ask to all military persons are you doing us favour by serving in army. You are doing your job just like anybody else. what about paramilitary forces there are more vulnerable to risk. You do not pay toll taxes you get military pay you get ex service men quota relaxation in jobs moreover pension for life long. Your officer on daily basis have parties in Officer messes. You get free food. What else you require I don’t wish to demoralise others but I know the facts because I was also in armed forces for 10 years. Now the time has come to the armed forces to be more transparent. If OROP is implemented only senior officers will get main benefit in jawan’s pension there is marginal increase.

  7. मैं जरूरऽअपजी बात से सहमत हूं कि अधिकारियों के गुमराह करने से जवान भी भड़क सकते हैं। जवानों को कौन बतायेगा कि तीसरे पे कमीसन के बाद से उनका वेतन कम होता जा रहा है? उनसे कौन कहेगा कि ओ॰आर्॰ओ॰पी के इस फ़ार्मूले से उन्हें मात्र कुछ टुकड़े ही मिलेंगे, जो न भी मेले तो भी ठीक है। तीसरे पे कमीसन के बाद X ग्रुप के कार्पोरल का मूल वेतन 350/-रुपये था और सार्जेंट का 420/- चौथे के बाद 1350/-और 1640/ जो पाचवें में 4200/ और 5000/- रुपये किया गया। आज छठे पे कमीसन के बाद यह दोनों 5200/- मूल वेतन और 2200/- व 2800/- ग्रेड पे पर काम कर रहे हैं, जबकी इनसे कम मूल वेतन पाने वाले केन्द्रीय कर्मचारी (इंकम टेक्स इंस्पेक्टर, पुलिस सब इंस्पेक्टर आदि) 9300/- रुपये मूल वेतन और 4200/ रुपये ग्रेड पे पा रहे हैं।

    क्या सबका वेतन कम करने की बजाय, निचले वेतन वाले जवानों को भी अधिक नही दिया जा सकता था?

    जहां तक अधिकारियों का सवाल है, उनके वेतन में कितनी बढोतरी हुई, यह मीडीया को जरूर पता होगा।
    आशा है कि मीडिया में सभी अधिकारियों के ही सम्बन्धी नहीं होंगे, आप में से कुछ तो हम गरीबों की भी जरूर सुनेंगे और हमारे लिये भी आवाज उठायेंगे।

    आप मेरी लिखी बातों पर अपनी खोज-बीन करके और जवानों के उपर्युक्त वेतन के बारे सत्य का पता लगाकर ही लिखें।

    धन्यवाद्। जयहिन्द्।


    राम सिंह साहनी, पूर्व-जुनियर वारण्ट आफ़ीसर, भारतीय वायु सेना।

  8. Sorry state of affairs. GOI is playing into Pakistan hands by reducing the level the morale of the armed forces. Pakistan is following this story and they will attack again as soon as they know the morale is low and may take some of the territory they lost to India. Beware of this GOI. JAI HIND.

  9. my father grand father and great grand father all served in armed forces. My elder brother died in 1965 war with Pakistan. I and took premature retirement. My son wanted to join NDA and I discouraged him.
    I was one of the highest educated and qualified officer in Army. MTech from IITK, LLB and LLM and MBA from Poona university and have six technical research papers publishes to my credit.
    I have high respect for servicemen and hold army traditions in high esteem.

  10. The great loss already occured when PM, DM,FM and chiefs could not keep their words with the veterans. The weakness also come out in the open when veteran found country is run by the Bubus & buraucrats not by politicans.Further weakness of country come out when talk failed and veterans have to sit for hunger strike at JM.The Prime Minister and other MP’s seems to be in fool paradise thinking country will have Aacha Din without keeping the forces and veterans in poor state of affair.What face BJP will show to the country being called nationalist party without being nationalist.Shame to all as they still not able to assess the danger to the National Security by delaying the OROP implementation.

  11. Indeed it these POLIT I C I A N S , We Erronuously Elected As MPs . In their Party Manifesto they Lured Us to Finalise The O R O P within 100 days , the Hon PM , promised the Jawans in Sciachinthat the GOVT. Had Finalised The Process And Soon it Would Be a Implemented , Yet He Cannot Mahe those Worthy Finance Ministry and Defednce Ministry Assholes , to move their Fucking Asses And iWITH THOSE EVER SELF ENHANCING GAINS FOR THEMSELVES , THE Cohorts In BABUDOM , to Stall and Yet NAMO DOES NOTHING TO KICK THESE FUCKERS OUT OF GOVT ‘s SYSTEM . Instead , these USELESS M Ps are Now Proposing Hike of 100 % Rise In their Emoluments — Shameless Beggars of our Hard Earned and Religeously Paying TAX PAYERS . This in Addition to Having their Stomach Bloating By Paying Just Rs. 29 For more than a Wholesome Meals . The RASCALS ARE not even Bothered That that SOLDIER , WARRIOR OR NAVAL PERSONNEL , Who had For so Many Years Defended our Honourable Country in 62 , 65And 71 , ApartFrom all those Rescue and Calamity Disasterous Rescue , Rescue from Terrorism are We Who Have been the First To HELP THE Nation’s Population , Yet That So-Called Straight Gentleman Parrickar says The Forces Have Not Fought Any War For over 4 Decades and Thus Need To Be Downgraded in certain fields ( Mountain Div , Sahayaks , etc. ) and Has declared Thatfor 6 Months , He Will not Face the Music of the M E D I A . The Jaitley Man has Znot Clue How to Release 8300 Crores for OROP , I suggest He Ensures that the Exsisting Subsidy to those Non – Performing and Money GUZZLING M PS of both Houses Pay in Full for their Meals in the Canteen Run in the Parliament , then Arun Jaitly will Have Surplus funds . ARUNJI , CHARITY BEGINS AT HOME needs To be Applied with you and other Parlamentarians . D O N O T R E S O R T T O A N Y T A M P E R I N G
    W I T H T H E E X S I S T I N G. P A C K A G E A N D H E L P Y O U R P M NARENDRA MODI TO D E L I V E R T H E P R O M I S E. HE HAS MADE . Over 63 yrs this outstanding legitimate Demand Needs to be Sorted out Within H O U R S , if there Be A W E L L I N T E N T I O N E D W I L L BY THE FINANCE AND DEFENCE. MINISTERS !!!! G O O D L U C K F E L L O W V E T E R A N S V IC T O R Y B E O U R ‘ s

  12. Very well narrated. it’s the true picture for the new generations as because they have seen the life of their parents and others. Even now parents are also not interested to send their wards for defence services. As example I was in IAF from 1968 to 1989, but could not get the due promotions, and compelled to leave after 21 Years as SGT. My only son who wanted to be a fighter pilot since the age of 2 or 2.5 yrs by seeing the aircraft flown over his head. As I have suffered a lot, I never wanted or encouraged for services. By the grace of GOD he is a pilot but in CIVIL, and also proud to mention that he is a Check Pilot at the age of 34 years, there are lots of service pilots are working under him. THAT’S the Difference. Soldiers are treated as nothing but a TISSUE PAPER in INDIA.

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