Profile of an Indian soldier

Dr. Renu
Violent incidents on the Line of Control and International boundary in Jammu & Kashmir have always had the potential of triggering a ‘patriotic tsunami’. Such incidents generally lead to blackening of reams of paper, gallons of ink and innumerable hours of airwaves to confabulate various options like ‘obliterating the NEIGHBOUR’ from our thoughts and probably the globe, ‘head for head’ rhetoric to honorable men discussing ‘more important’ issues rather than spare a thought to empower and equip our armed forces to deal effectively with the perpetrators of these cowardly acts.
Everyone seems to have an opinion; however, no one has the time and vision to find out the cause and solution. No one cares either to remember the sacrifice of precious life made by the brave soldiers or offer condolences to members of the bereaved families. Vocal chords are strained to please respective leadership and the ‘on camera’ thoughts are more to do with which side of the fence (Hall) you are seated) than care for sentiments of the soldiers or their families. One-upmanship and an all-out effort for optimum utilization of available air space to appease the huge vote bank in the form of serving/ retired soldiers are quite evident.
Each time a brave soldier makes the supreme sacrifice of his life to uphold territorial integrity of our nation, his martyrdom takes me back to the euphoria of ‘Midnight’s tryst with Destiny’ which was cut short due to the unprovoked acts of violence and aggression of tribal marauders clandestinely supported by our inveterate and ruthless enemy in the neighbor which challenged our sovereignty in the process. As the nation passed through testing times, it was ‘baptism by fire’ for the nascent Indian Army which has, ever since, displayed professionalism, intrepidity and resolve, and made sacrifices while operating across an entire spectrum of conflict, to include conventional and unconventional scenarios to save and nurture territorial integrity and sovereignty of the motherland.
Velour and courage of Indian soldiers demonstrated during the unprovoked invasion in 1962 in extremely hazardous and inhospitable terrain, 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan, at the Siachen’s glacial heights in the highest, coldest and most difficult battlefield in the world, campaign of 1999 to throw out the enemy from dizzying heights of Kargil and sacrifices made during the most brutal foreign sponsored armed insurgency in the history of mankind are legendary and worth emulating.
The Indian Army is the epitome of unity in diversity with officers and ORs hailing from different states, ethnic cultures, linguistic and religious identities. Yet, they live, eat, receive training and fight together to uphold the territorial integrity of our nation. Their strong agrarian roots, martial family traditions stretching over four or five generations, mental conditioning, discipline, pride of a soldier coupled with the “Paltan & Regiment Ki Izzat” and ” Naam, Namak, Nishan” act as a iron cast binding that motivates soldier to adapt and go beyond the call of duty uncomplaining while expecting very little in return in the most adverse and diverse conditions to willing risk life and limb obediently.
Our soldier’s have been actively involved in providing humanitarian aid to countrymen during natural and man-made calamities like floods, riots, children falling in bore well etc. by constructing roads and bridges, establishing relief and rehabilitation centers, providing medical aid and succour. The Soldier’s professionalism, apolitical disposition, ability to adapt to different situations and coordinated, swift and seamless response to disasters despite being affected themselves by the disaster, all have found the soldier always stand up and deliver at the hour of reckoning.
Life is hard at the border. A soldier is expected to perform variegated tasks inviting inevitable conflict on his decision-making ability at critical junctures. Trained for ‘shoot-to kill’ at the border, counter-insurgency operations demand utmost restraint, discretion and respect for human rights. It is here that training and good leadership motivate the soldier to make sacrifices, which are unparalleled in the history of modern warfare.
A soldier of today has grown to be a confident professional who wants to keep pace with modern weapon systems and technological advancement while in service, and wants to be counted. The fast changing socio-economic environment in the country has put further strain on the expectations of today’s soldier.
A soldier often finds the system wanting in terms of his social and financial standing vis-à-vis his civilian counterparts as he gets back to his village on leave or after hanging his shoes. He realizes that promises made are conveniently forgotten and he has been left to fend for himself at a fairly young age with very little or no avenues left for some additional income  to make ends meet.
However, the soldier is not used to complain or grumble; he is giving his ‘Today’ for our ‘Tomorrow’, following the dictum “The Safety, Honor and Welfare of your country comes first, always and every time”. Therefore, we need to respect, love and have faith in our soldier because when opportunity knocks, he shall not be found wanting.

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