JOURNAL OF DEFENCE STUDIES

Roots of Moral Decline in the Armed Forces: Time to Reclaim our Izzat

Admiral (Retd.) Arun Prakash is a former Chairman, COSC and Chief of Naval Staff. In October 2001, he was appointed the first Commander-in-Chief of the newly created Unified Andaman & Nicobar Command.
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  • April 2013
    Volume: 
    7
    Issue: 
    2
    Articles

    The precipitate decline in moral and ethical values, as well as the steep fall in standards of private and public conduct, in recent years, has been accompanied by a concurrent erosion of values amongst India’s military personnel. Consequently, the armed forces, which were once considered exemplars of ethical conduct, discipline and decency, are rapidly slipping in the estimation of their countrymen. The author points out that this moral decline could lead to a loss of cohesion and combat-effectiveness in the armed forces with deleterious implications, not just for national security but also for India’s social fabric, of which the 3-4 million soldiers and veterans form an integral constituent. Redemption of the military’s honour and restoration to its earlier iconic status is, therefore, considered a national imperative. The author has highlighted specific ethical challenges that could confront officers during their careers and offers practical advice to the armed forces’ leadership to tackle these challenges.

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