By Team ADU

 New Delhi. 13 January 2017. ‘Buddy’ hijacked Army Chief General Bipin Rawat’s first formal press conference prior the Army Day. In what turned out to be an extension of the traditional ‘Durbar’ of the Army formations but via the media, the Chief said that Army is a team and soldiers must make their complaints internally.

“Army personnel, rather than indirectly communicating their grievances, should use the excellent grievances redressal system existing in the force. If a soldier writes to us regarding his grievances penning down his identity, we will ensure that his identity is not made public. I will have  suggestion cum grievance boxes that will be set up across the formations starting with the army headquarters,” he said.

These comments came after news of an Army jawan who is seen in a video complaining about alleged harassment by superiors on jawans who are on sahayak duties. Gen. Rawat stated, “social media is a two-edged weapon which can be good but can also be detrimental. Rank and file should adhere to the guidelines which are being communicated. If they are not satisfied they can go to other means.”

There is no breakdown of communication at the lower level and the motivation & morale of the Army is very good, he reiterated and soldiers should have trust in the seniors. Anonymous complaints belittle the soldier’s reputation as you shied yourself behind cover only in the face of the enemy, the chief  added.

Unfortunately, explaining the buddy system and justifying it by using the media to reach every jawan, important national issues of strategy , army’s role in maintaining peace and security and procurement took a back seat in what would routinely have been a priority and an opportunity to hear from the Chief who had just taken over the reins of the Indian Army. Probably the media present also did not want to deviate from the story of the week. TRPs, hits and eyeballs were at the forefront in today’s press conference.