The standards of Indian military were highest until the early decades of independence viz till 1960s. This can be seen in various episodes of exemplary conduct, great dedication and glorious valor in face of overwhelming odds during initial wars India fought. For instance, in 1948, Indian army won the goodwill of Kashmiri civilians and there was no complaint of human rights violation and in 1962, the unacclimatized, ill-armed, ill-clad and underfed Indian soldiers fought till last man and last round.

This was thanks to creativity and ingenuity of British techniques in recruiting only the best candidates for the officer posts in British Indian military. British psychologists designed some scientific tests which assesses candidate's Officer Like Qualities (OLQs). These qualities include effective Intelligence, sense of responsibility, initiative, judgment (under stress), ability to reason and organize, communication skills, determination, courage, self-confidence, speed in decision-making, willingness to set an example, compassion and a feeling of loyalty to the nation. The British legacy continued well into the early period of independent India. It should be noted that in both of above mentioned wars, although the officers at helm were Indian, they were recruited and trained by British during Raj.

The rot in the system began when India got independence and Indian military veterans started private coaching institutes to help candidates preparing for SSB exam. These coaching institutes gave away the secrets for cracking the mysterious SSB. As a result, the selection system of SSB became obsolete. Since many candidates started getting prior knowledge of what to expect, they got unfair advantage over others in SSB tests. I hardly need to tell that this opened the floodgate of substandard candidates. Had this happened during British era it wouldn't have made any difference because the British would have devised newer techniques to unearth military leadership talent. But not so with Indians. Indians are continuing with the stale and unraveled methods learnt from the British. Due to lack of imagination, the SSB has become predictable.

As the rot set in, the standards of Indian military began to deteriorate. Sycophancy, corruption, indiscipline and human rights violations started plaguing Indian military.

The only way to reverse the rot is by outsourcing the project of selection and recruitment of cadets every term to the capable hands of our ex-colonial masters. Then despite all these coaching institutes mushrooming, with the British people's help, we would definitely find ways to make SSB much less predictable. Then Indian military would definitely regain it's past glory.