NEW DELHI: Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar's comment that the army has lost respect because there has been no war in the long time drew flak on Tuesday with the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement calling it "insensitive".
"We do not appreciate the comment, it is insensitive on the part of the minister," Col. Anil Kaul (retd.), media adviser of the Indian Ex-Servicemen Movement, told IANS.
"It needs to be understood the dynamics of war have changed in the past few decades. We are not having world war, or Indo-Pak war like wars, but the army is fighting militants day and night," Col. Kaul said.
"Are you (Parrikar) trying to say we must go on war?" he asked.
Speaking in Jaipur, Parrikar reportedly said on Sunday (June 13): "In the past, when there was a letter from a military commanding officer to an IAS officer or any other authority, it received attention of the highest order."
"Today, that respect has diminished... One reason is that for 40-50 years, we have not fought a war. I am not saying we should go to war. I am saying that because we haven't fought a war, the importance of the army in our minds has dwindled."
Kaul said while the Indian forces have been commended across the world for operations like that rescuing people in Yemen and relief and rescue operations in Nepal, the defence minister's comment is shocking.
"Army is there to help all the time, whether it is floods, earthquake or rescue operations... Is the army not respected?" he asked, adding that the sentiments of not just the ex-servicemen but also the forces have been hurt.