JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Ethics and Morals in the Armed Forces: A Framework for Positive Action

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  • April 2013
    Volume: 
    7
    Issue: 
    2
    Articles

    Value systems form the spine of modern society, religion and every individual’s conscience with moral codes defining ‘appropriate’ and ‘expected’ activity. Ethics refer to an individual’s actions that are consistent with such value systems. While the former constitutes a basic human marker of right behaviour and conduct, the latter are a set of guidelines that define acceptable behaviour and practices for a certain group of individuals or society. Within this construct, this article traces the origin and growth of Indian and Western ideas on the subject and probes similarities between the two. The article thereafter dwells on the perceived decline in moral values in India—a widespread belief—even though no empirical study exists to substantiate this claim. The author then suggests that the focus needs to shift from a perceived ‘ethics crisis’ to how ethical leadership can be strengthened within the armed forces.

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