The Armed Forces of India are regarded as one of the most respected institutions in India, especially the Indian Navy. The Indian Navy completed 60 years on the 11th of May 2013. Considered as a potent and highly capable force, the Indian Navy is noted for its combat efficiency and professional competence. In fact, the Indian Navy performs the very important role of sea-governance. Willingness to transform for the better and continuous upgradation of the combat skills is one of the main focus areas.
However, that such an esteemed institution should come under a cloud of sexual abuse-related allegations is quite unthinkable. The pristine white uniform of the Indian Navy has been tainted by multiple allegations against its officers of sexual abuse, molestation, adultery and wife swapping. To start with a senior naval officer, Commodore Sukhjinder Singh was dismissed from the force for having illicit relationship with a Russian woman. This particular officer had been dispatched to Moscow to oversee the refitting of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov there. However, the most recent and sensational case of sexual abuse that occurred in Kochi is that of Lieutenant Ravi Kiran Kabuduala being arrested for sexually abusing his wife along with his colleagues in the Southern Naval Command (SNC). The abused victim lodged a complaint with the Harbor Police accusing her husband and his colleagues of this heinous crime. Answering the victim’s plea, the SNC proffered to help her. This incident has caused quite a stir along with the media hype and is a cause for alarm and consternation of the countrymen. Obviously, this will cause the eventual dismissal of the officer in question.
Another case of dismissal was observed when a naval officer was accused and proved guilty of sending obscene text messages to women both in the force and outside the force. The rank of this officer was equivalent to that of a lieutenant colonel in the army. He was dismissed from service by a General Court Martial held in Mumbai. Yet another case of dismissal was brought into focus when a Navy officer was proven guilty of adulterous relationship with the wife of his superior officer. The examples of such demented sexual behavior are endless. Several other complaints of sexual molestation, mental and physical torture and forcing the victim to have sex with unknown people are under investigation. According to the Defense Minister A.K. Antony, three simultaneous investigations are under way by the Delhi and the Kerala Police and the Navy, all involving cases of sexual abuse.
Either the Indian Armed Forces are losing its moral value day by day or it is the probing media that is bringing such dirty linen under focus now. Such concurrent erosion of ethical and moral values in the Armed Forces may be attributed to the “five star culture” that has been prevalent in the Armed Forces for the past few years. Such misdemeanors may also affect their combat effectiveness and alacrity. Whatever the reason is, such moral decline should immediately be arrested or else the Armed Forces which is still considered as the epitome of ethics, decency and strict discipline, will lose their high esteem in the eyes of their countrymen.