On 24 April, 2015, British Commonwealth marked the 100 years of Gallipoli campaign. Gallipoli campaign was a campaign of World War I that took place on the Gallipoli peninsula (Gelibolu in modern Turkey) in the Ottoman Empire between 25 April 1915 and 9 January 1916. Both, the British empire and the Turkish empire, lost about 200,000 men each. Official Indian causalities -1358. Turks beat back the invasion, the Brits abandoned the campaign. It revived the Turkish spirit, Kemal Ataturk earned a name for himself as a Commander in this battle.
The campaign was Churchill’s idea. He wanted to open a second front in the war. But poor preparations, poor intelligence, and an under-equipped military led to a disastrous defeat and ignominious retreat. Of course the same man led UK to victory in WW II 30 years later.
This is the story of all defeats. Political class stops funding the military. Because it starts believing that because it is not interested in war, so are not the enemies. The political leadership of course wants to stay in power, and therefore becomes more and more “pro-poor.” Easiest to rule, and shut down all opposition, is to rule in the name of the poor.
But war is one constant in human existence. And it comes surely when you do not want to fight it. Because a weakened military always means emboldened enemies who think the time to take chance has come.
In such situations, causalities are very high, as the military is under equipped. If the suffering of their families is taken into account, and to that is added the general impoverishment and bankruptcy of the country that always follows a war, total human misery exceeds many times over the number of the poor the politicians might have helped by not funding the military.
But politicians never learn. And the media and the professors never frame the issue in these terms. The basic duty of any government is to have an army so strong that nobody dares to bother the country. The poor are best taken care of by setting the economy free.
In our own case also, 1962 was the result of Nehruvian destruction of military. And still, the game continues. Last ten years saw decimation of Indian military. Procurements were always under consideration, never finalised. And of course even after 67 years, no domestic arms industry has been developed. Or been allowed to be developed.
A weak military is an open invitation to war. And destruction. Even annihilation.
Be strong. Be ready. So that war never comes to you.