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Most Indian soldiers favour democracy

Monday 23 February 2004

A majority of Indian soldiers favour democracy to army rule but, like civilians, they have a low level of confidence in politicians, according to a rare survey of the Indian Army.

NEW DELHI, IANS:

Given a choice between democratic and army rule, two-thirds of the armymen were firmly in favour of democracy,” the new weekly Tehelka said on the findings of its survey.

It said the report was based on a survey of 1,595 serving armymen, 150 retired personnel and 50 wives of Army officers spread across nine cities.

About their faith in democracy, the survey said while junior commissioned officers and lower ranks displayed “some weakness” for army rule, the officers were unanimous in their rejection of the non-democratic option.

Like others, the soldiers too have a higher degree of trust in political institutions such as the government and the Election Commission,” it said.

Job satisfaction

According to the survey, unlike their civilian counterparts, the soldiers have a high degree of job satisfaction, with two-thirds of those interviewed reporting a “very high level of satisfaction”.

Almost all agreed their jobs gave them social status, and more than three-fourths would like their children to join the Army, contrary to the belief that there is widespread disenchantment within the armed forces.

An overwhelming majority would like their daughters to marry another armyman,” was a feeling shared at all levels.

However, a majority of wives of Army officers did not share this feeling and said they were “not keen in sending their sons to the Army or marrying their daughters to armymen”.

Strangely, 48 per cent of the wives interviewed were “very satisfied” with their husbands’ job while 44 per cent were “somewhat satisfied”. Only 8 per cent were dissatisfied with their spouses’ job.

According to the survey, 64 per cent of the wives wanted their husbands to continue in the Army, but 30 per cent wanted their husbands to leave the Army.

However, all wives agreed the nature of their husbands’ job did affect their family life and a “whopping 90 per cent” said their family life would have been better had their husbands not been in the Army.

On the morale of the soldiers, the survey said “every single soldier” exuded confidence that the Indian Army would defeat Pakistan in the event of a war and the soldiers had a “high degree of trust” in the capacities of their seniors.

The report said the survey evoked a “rather naive response” from soldiers on the comparison between the Indian and Pakistani armies - everyone agreed the Indian Army men were looked after better than their Pakistani counterparts.

See online : http://www.deccanherald.com/deccanh...

P.S.

Deccan Herald, Sunday, February 08, 2004.

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