Dua stresses need of public debates on vital issues

Dua stresses need of public debates on vital issues
Tribune News Service

Chandigarh, November 2
Decisions of national importance cannot be taken by policy makers without taking people into confidence. If there are no public discussions or debates on vital issues, decision making would be confined to a handful of select people and may not suit the larger interests of the nation.

Stating this while addressing student officers from the Secunderabad-based College of Defence Management here today, Editor-in-Chief of The Tribune, Mr H K Dua, said more the discussions, better the decision-making process in a democracy.

Ten officers of the rank of colonel and equivalent, who are members of the 35th Long Defence Management Course visited the offices of The Tribune as part of their management education tour.

The group included Gp Capt Navtej Singh, directing staff at the college and the team leader, Col A S Chaudhury. Five of the officers were from the Army and three from the Air Force, with one each from the Navy and the Coast Guard.

As part of their course curriculum, the group is conducting a study tour of Chandigarh and Leh, where visits to civilian as well as military establishments are on the agenda.

Completion of the course would entitle them to a master’s degree from the University of Osmania. The course strength is 90 officers, divided into small groups, with each group visiting different places.

While stating that the media has been very respectful of the Armed Forces, Mr Dua added that the services and the Defence Ministry needed to change its existing information dissemination policy, which was at present too restrictive.

Mr Dua said that given the Army’s deployment in counter insurgency duties, there would always be an odd incident where a soldier went astray. People had become conscious of their rights and any such incident would spark protests, which in turn would have to be reported in the media.

To avoid incidents being blown up or one-sided reports, the Army would have to adopt a pro-active approach and give our more information, he said.

On the issue of civil-military relations, where the armed forces have been overshadowed in policy making by the civilian establishment, Mr Dua said that the grip of the bureaucracy over policy making in virtually all fields was like a stranglehold, though things had improved in the arena of economic planning with experts taking over.

Talking about The Tribune, Mr Dua said that the organisation continued to maintain the core value of disseminating unbiased and non-partisan information to the public without getting into the nuances of commercialisation.

He added that special emphasis was laid by the newspaper on defence issues as a matter of duty.