Indian Army needs agile and adaptive leaders who can make sound and ethical decisions in split second in face of conflicts ranging from high intensity combat to peace time soldering, President Pranab Mukherjee said on Friday. Exhorting Indian Army officers to lead by example, he said they must always ‘Walk the Talk’. “The Indian Army today is in the midst of a transformation and needs agile, adaptive leaders with a broad perspective and wide range of skills,” he said in his banquet dinner address at Officers Trading Academy in Chennai.
Mukherjee, who arrived in Chennai on a two-day visit to Tamil Nadu, said it is not possible to succeed without military leaders who are equal to the challenge posed by full spectrum of conflict – ranging from high intensity combat, peace time soldering, peace keeping, humanitarian intervention, counter terrorism and insurgency.
“You will be expected to make sound and ethical decisions in operational and other difficult situations in a split second. You have to train hard to achieve this competence,” he said. Indian Army, he said, is a “throughly professional and formidable fighting machine” on all fronts and by any parameter and is held in awe both by friends and adversaries.
The President said Officer-Men relationship in the army is a crucial facet in the leadership matrix especially in todays rapidly changing socio-economic environment. “In additional to leading them well in operations, it is your duty to look after their welfare and ensure the best possible quality of life for them,” he said. “The power of leading by example continues to be pre-eminent. You must always ‘Walk the Talk’.”
Stating that the tenets of leadership have remained constant through the two millennia of recorded history of warfare, he said leadership in its pristine essence is the unquestioned and willing obedience to the leader under all circumstances irrespective of the costs and consequences.
“You as young and dynamic leaders of the finest soldiers in the world must always remember unquestioned leadership has to be earned by hard work and dedication. It does not only come with rank and power,” he said. The achievement of the Indian Army has been possible due to the blood, sweat and toil of illustrious predecessors, he told the officers.
“In my personal capacity of having served long on the Treasury Benches and my tenure as the Raksha Mantri and now as your Supreme Commander I have been an integral part of the Defence Services and have proudly seen our Armed Forces growth from Strength to strength,” the President said.
Complimenting the Academy for transforming raw youth into competent and motivated military leaders, he said the five decade old OTA is embellished with the acts of great valour and heroism by its alumni. “The courage and supreme sacrifices by many brave hearts like Major Ramaswamy Parmeswaran, Param Vir Chakra (Posthumous) and more recently Maj Mukund Varadharajan, Ashok Chakra (Posthumous), amongst many other heroes, should always be your guiding light in the years ahead,” he said.
Mukherjee hoped that the Officers Cadets, who have trained at the Academy, will be India’s ambassadors in their countries and instruments for further strengthening relations. “I have no doubt that you will carry a piece of India in your hearts when you leave our shores,” he said. Wishing OTA many more years of service to the nation, he said he prays that the Academy grows from strength to strength in training valiant and dynamic military leaders who add to the tradition of indomitable courage, dedication and self-sacrifice in safeguarding the safety and security of the country.