India and Pakistan’s armies were born of the same British tradition. Yet, the thought of a coup is laughable in India, but an imminent threat in Pakistan.(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Hardeep Singh)
India and Pakistan’s armies were born of the same British tradition. Yet, the thought of a coup is laughable in India, but an imminent threat in Pakistan.(Photo: The Quint/Hardeep Singh)
  • 1. How do you Coup-Proof an Army?
  • 2. Democracy, Already Weak at Birth
  • 3. Unequal Relationship Between the Civilian Government and...
  • 4. Weak Judiciary Condoned Coups
  • 5. Ghosts of the Dictators’ Past
  • 6.
Why the Pakistan Army Enjoys So Much Power in a Democracy

In 2012, a leading national daily published a report on how army units moving towards Delhi had rung alarm bells in the Manmohan Singh government. Most Indians shrugged off the suggested coup bid, a luxury that our neighbours – Pakistan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and Sri Lanka – are not familiar with.

India and Pakistan’s armies were born out of the same British tradition, but in the 69 years since independence, they have come to occupy vastly different positions in their respective polities. 

How did the two Armies evolve post Partition and what positions have they come to occupy within their polity?

  • 1. How do you Coup-Proof an Army?

    India and Pakistan’s armies were born of the same British tradition. Yet, the thought of a coup is laughable in India, but an imminent threat in Pakistan.(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Hardeep Singh)

    In his book, Army and Nation: The Military and Indian Democracy Since Independence, Steven Wilkinson credits the Nehru-era for ‘coup-proofing’ the Indian Army through a series of budget cuts, replacing the office of commander-in-chief with separate army, navy and airforce chiefs, placing officers below civil servants, disallowing them from making speeches and keeping senior officers under surveillance. By the 1970s, the process of subordinating the Indian armed forces to civilian authority was complete.

    India and Pakistan’s armies were born of the same British tradition. Yet, the thought of a coup is laughable in India, but an imminent threat in Pakistan.(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Hardeep Singh)
    “What’s in the third cabinet,” Nehru asked. Army Chief KC Cariappa responded, “Coup plans” drawing nervous laughter from the Prime Minister. (Photo Courtesy: Photodivision.gov.in

    Compare this to Pakistan. By 1977, Pakistan had already witnessed two military coups and five more were in the offing.

    In fact, for nearly half of its 69 years of independence, Pakistan has been ruled by its powerful military. Each democratic splutter has been followed by an extended period of military rule. In 2013, for the first time in Pakistan’s history, one democratic government completed its term and transferred power to another elected government.

    India and Pakistan’s armies were born of the same British tradition. Yet, the thought of a coup is laughable in India, but an imminent threat in Pakistan.(Photo: <b>The Quint</b>/Hardeep Singh)
    Photo: Reuters
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