The idea of politicians joining Territorial Army is good only if they serve the way a regular entrant does, otherwise it creates a “negative effect”, Army Chief Gen Bipin Rawat on Wednesday said. Interacting with a group of university students on leadership qualities, he also said indecisiveness in politics at times could be a quality but it is not so in military.
Replying to a question on young politicians joining the Territorial Army, he said, “It is good only if they (politicians) perform the way any regular person who has joined it, does.” “If they just join and not serve regularly, it creates a negative effect. And others, who do it regularly feel bad and negative.”
The Territorial Army is a part of the Army and its present role is to relieve the regular Army from static duties and assist civil administration in dealing with natural calamities besides some other responsibilities. Established in 1920, it currently has a strength of nearly 40,000. A number of politicians and sports personalities have joined it in the last few years.
In a freewheeling interaction with the group of students from MS University Baroda at his South Block office, the Army Chief underlined several aspects of leadership qualities both in politics and military. In politics, even indecisiveness could be a quality, and even if a decision is not taken, it (the matter) will trickle lower down, and it will be discussed, he said.
“In military, even as in corporate leadership, decision-making is important. It could be collective and based on a consensus, but a decision has to be taken,” Rawat asserted. He further said, “You must take decisions based on hard facts. A good leader cannot wait for fact and things to land on his table. Then he is not a leader, if every fact is available, and everything is foolproof, even a computer can take a decision.
Leaders are “responsible and accountable” for decisions taken and the decisions cannot be taken based on a hearsay or intuition. “To be leader, one must take decision after factoring in contradictions and recommendation and used his experiences and and wisdom.”
Most of the students said they wanted to serve in political arena after completing their course in the university “Are you all ready for politics,” Rawat asked, receiving a loud “yes” in response from the students. The Army chief also emphasised that leadership is about team and while “kudos go to everyone, the brickbats go to only the leader”.