Representational image for the Indian Army | Photo: ANI
Representational image for the Indian Army | Photo: ANI
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New Delhi: Units in the Army found guilty of letting military videos pass into the public domain — even unknowingly — without proper clearance will be debarred from being granted unit citations, while their troops will also not get any military awards, ThePrint has learnt.

The new rules have been issued by the Army to certain formations as part of its new policy on the use of social media platforms and mobile phones, to control the leakage of critical operational information.

The fresh advisory comes after the Army banned 89 social media applications, including Facebook and Instagram, for its personnel. It also issued strict guidelines for the use of social media and smartphones, which stated that they would be monitored by way of surprise checks, and that strict action would be taken against violators under the provisions of the Indian Penal Code, Official Secrets Act, Army Act and IT Act.

As first reported by ThePrint, the Army had said Facebook accounts of all personnel should be deleted, not just deactivated, by 1 June, and that people using Facebook or other banned sites after 15 July will be reported.

Army sources, however, said the communication regarding the new rules could be from a regional command for the formations under it.


Also read: Indian Army asking officers to stay away from Facebook a knee-jerk, ineffective diktat


The new rules

According to the new advisory, a senior Army officer said, formations have also been asked to include this parameter when they vet unit citations and individual awards.

The decision is said to have been taken due to earlier incidents when crucial operational information, even from forward bases, made its way to social media.

“Most such videos are unregulated and can give out critical and confidential operational information to enemy agencies. The strict guidelines have been promulgated to check this,” the Army officer said.

The new rules state that formations and units will select a person who will be responsible for all photos and videos for operational events, and will be maintaining a record of all such footage.

Multiple other sources confirmed that the new advisory states that photographs or videos will not be recorded on smartphones, and only designated cameras will be used.

The advisory also mandates that all such pictures or videos should not be shared on social media or transferred to one another via messaging services, and only footage that has been officially approved would be released in public.

“We have been told that in case any video footage or other crucial operational information gets leaked, even unknowingly, into the public domain, a Court of Inquiry would be ordered against those responsible and the defaulter would be subjected to stringent action,” the officer quoted above said.

ThePrint has reached Army spokesperson Colonel Aman Anand through a text message for an official comment. This report will be updated when he responds.

‘Troops will act to protect honour of the unit’

The move has got mixed responses from within the service.

Officers said it is a good step because a lot of critical information often gets leaked, which may be detrimental to the operational requirements.

“Everyone will be conscious of his responsibility to uphold the izzat (honour) of the unit,” the senior officer quoted above said.

A second officer ThePrint spoke to, however, said holding a unit responsible for the act of one individual who may not even be part of the unit but may be in the area needs a rethink.

Earlier moves

The Indian armed forces, particularly amid the stand-off with China at the Line of Actual Control in Ladakh, have been exercising stringent caution on allowing personnel to use social media.

The Army periodically conducts cyber security exercises to assess its operational preparedness in the cyber security domain, one of which started in April this year.

Earlier this year, the Navy, after a ‘spy ring’ was busted last year, banned and restricted 85 applications, including Facebook, Instagram, WeChat, Viber, Tumblr, Reddit and Truecaller.

The Indian Air Force has recently advised its personnel to withdraw themselves from WhatsApp groups by the end of July, leading IAF officers to leave those with their course-mates and others within the service.

The Army’s ban on social media was challenged by an officer in the Delhi High Court, which is still hearing the matter.


Also read: Why Indian Army is cautious of China during Ladakh disengagement


 

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20 Comments Share Your Views

20 COMMENTS

  1. This new law is not about national security it is just about suppressing the soldiers from any kind of exposure. Whether it is about injustice to them or misconduct by any of the higher ranked officer or any of the higer authority.
    If it really is about national security this law must be enforced to every one in the nation. And no one must be allowed to publish any military information, but no you are not going to do these because you can’t and you have no right for this. But to the soldiers of the nation, to those who pledge to serve the nation till their last breath if necessary, you are imposing such dictatorship rules.
    And you know almost all of them will not say anything to this new law, because they don’t care about this, what they have in their mind and heart and what their souls are looking for is only the service toward the nation, the service for the nation, to stand for the nation till the last moment.

    Do respect them.
    Do think generously.
    Create a picture that can make them feel we are with them, so they can feel proud to be an Indian Army….

  2. Indian Army is very poor in discipline aspects. All this is happening because high command of Indian Army is not much able to command their troops. Fresh example can be seen in Ladakh where Chinese Army has destroyed Indian Army’s proud and Indian soldiers fled away from the scene because they were not able to fight back.

    • Lol, 1st of all I like your user name cuz it seems pakis are having Indian army-phobia, post Surgical strike…2ndly Chinese themselves are admitting the casualties but not disclosed them cuz of shame…..So instead of wet dreaming on these weird facts, (despite the fact that we frucked you guys in 1971, so bad that you hv to surrender ) you should focus on your pathetic country and it’s pathetic economy

  3. Is This rule is also applicable for defence civilians or not? As per my knowlegde they are not involved in any operational activities. And this should not be folliwed by them.

  4. Make a good pastime for Chinese & especially Paki INT AGENCIES !
    Any unit which is doing well, can be targeted using “cyberhoods” from Wuhan or Shanghai or Karachi or Dubai !
    Who thinks up such dumb ideas? The CDS ?

  5. Who allowed “Gaurav Arya”, strategic affairs Editor @ Republic TV to make exclusive videos on Indian Army – Arms and Ammunitions, Artillery units.. Etc.

    He also recorded videos of exercises carried out by indian army Artillery regiments.

    And you will find him disclosing many strategic movements of Indian Army.

  6. Army information should be made out of reach of the public. Any bits of information can be treasure for enemy camp to out wit our own plans. Enemy’s intelligence agency will have their access to all of our plans with ease and our defence will be incapable of any defence of the sovereignty of our country. No compromise on secrecy. Misleading information can be thoroughly discussed in the media. If the secrecy is thorough the expenditure on defence can be substantially reduced. That fund can be channelled to development.

  7. Where is the operation which is carried out till now ? Its long overdue to china and its allies .
    Controlling an already deciplined army is just harrasment to men in uniform which i feel is not justified and can be done so with a disciplined force within in crutial matters which are on papers only till now .
    Tit for tat with china should have been immediate , and truth need not be hidden . Security shared within forces is no leakage of security . A BROAD AND CLEAR DEFINITION .
    Those trying to deviate need to amend or should be viewed seriously . International boundries cannot be compromised at any level anywhere on any table .
    Then what is to hide from whom ?
    National security is paramount . For that all actions be managed internally without harrasment to any one in uniform . No manipulations allowed on table .

  8. Where is the operation which is carried out till now ? Its long overdue to china and its allies .
    Controlling an already deciplined army is just harrasment to men in uniform which i feel is not justified and can be done so with a disciplined force within in crutial matters which are on papers only till now .
    Tit for tat should have been immediate , and should not have been hidden . Security shared within forces is no leakage of security . A BROAD AND CLEAR DEFINITION .

  9. Only basic fon can be allow in army or whole military aur mera manana to yah hes ki militry mea kise tarsah ka fon lagu nahi hona chihia iss se sari security leak hote hea aur fooj ka anusasan bhi ab bhahut jayada bahattar nahi malum padata hea hamare samay me to essa nahi thaa

  10. This is absolutely correct. There is no reason to share military data on social media. This could have been done for all armed forces a long time back. You can not compromise national security and therefore every individual using such smart devices should be held accountable for leakage of information, if any.

    • Your argument is totally wrong, what you mean is we should ban production of drug for it leads to ruining of our youths. If this is considered to be a right step them what does the word abuse is for.
      Yes there should be some restrictions according to the profession and duties towards the nation. But a total band is not the solution. Are they not human like us. Are they don’t have families, friends and relatives. The System should take care of their loopholes but not to throw everything to the soldiers. Strategies should be made to defend them from any difficulty. But what is going on right now is not a sign of good strategy. Rather I should mark it as a diversion of responsibilities by an authority.

  11. In guise of security they intend to suppress new generation jawans who were increasingly venting on social media against the injustice n colonial mindset of officers. Planning started from series of videos after Mr. Tej bahadur’s (BSF) explosive revelation of meals condition n corruption by higher officers..

    • Yes, these can be mentioned, we have heard about a lot of disgusting things going around high ranked army officers.

  12. Many smartphones without camera are available in the market, but all are China made. Army can order cameraless smartphone from indigenous manufacturers. as per their requirement. No camera no shooting no leaks.

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