Saturday, April 11, 2009

MAVNI Merceneries

It is always a painful episode for someone to relinquish a citizenship. It a kind of indication that the state has failed in meeting the aspirations of the person. But one must also accept the fact that it is the universal right of every person to relinquish or acquire the citizenship of his choice.

But a recent NY Times article on military recruitment of non-citizens (in a grand official parlance called the MAVNI program) shows to what extent some people would go to get that citizenship. Under the MAVNI program all legal aliens in US are eligible to enlist in the armed forces of US. this means that even students on F-1 visa are eligible for appointment. They have listed a few languages skills that is the only skill set they are looking for. (the list includes half a dozen Indian languages like Bengali, Tamil, Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu etc.)

The question of foreign nationals serving in the armed forces is not new. In France we have the Foreign Legion comprised only of non-French citizens, Nepali Gurkhas serving in the British Army and even Vatican City's Swiss guards. But the carrot in this MAVNI program is assured access to citizenship after the completion of four-five years of active service. So to get the citizenship of US would a person go to that extent?

The sad truth many in the third world countries are desperate to do just that. The NY Times interviewed many Indian origin folks joining the Army, college students, poor migrants, housewives etc. They were proudly administered the oath of commissioning by General George Casey himself in the Times Square. A nice photo op for US Army. But a slap in the face for the countries to which they belong . The ironical fact that Indian people que up to these recruiting stations when there is acute shortage of officers in our very own Army, Navy and Air Force. ( I speak only with reference to India because I am come from India, these arguments can be applied to any country as well). So what should India do to tide over this crisis? Maybe we need to start recruiting our officers from African countries?


Vishnuvardhanan Vijayakumar said...

Start recruiting from African nations :). Wow, it looks like armed forces will also follow into the globalization band wagon.

Shankar said...

That day is not too far I suppose....This is the current SSB regulations for selection of officers of armed forces:
"Nationality : A candidate must either be (i) a citizen of India, (ii) a subject of Bhutan, or (iii) a subject of Nepal, or (iv) a person of Indian origin who has migrated from Pakistan, Burma, Sri Lanka and East African countries of Kenya, Uganda, United Republic of Tanzania, Zambia, Malawi, Zaire and Ethiopia and Vietnam with the intention of permanently settling in India. "

Looking at the appalling vacancies and attrition, even the "Indian orgin" term in clause (iii) would be dropped.

Mike said...

what are you saying man!!! if u go to India now will u be recruited ? No so stop saying go to india to join the army

Harry Potter said...

Well see how many ppl turn up at Indian Army recruitment centers =>

It's all a game, this talk abt. shortage. During my undergrad I remember out of 100+ students who applied 10 got in to SSB, of which none got in to final selection? What kind of standards are this? Compared to this US army takes in ordinary people & trains them to be best.

HOOVER said...

Hey Vishnuvardhanan. Africans ! very funny. Ha ha ha ha
Recruit Africans what!? ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ! Very funny indeed.
Soon they'll recruit bears and whales ha ha ha ha !

Neil said...

It seems most of your argument is restricted on the citizenship being the carrot; but i doubt if you have paused to think about other factors.
I'm of Indian-Latin origin and I'm proud to have enlisted in the US Army. A few years ago one of my employers had given me this piece of advise.....If you can better your life to the chagrin of the "crowd".......just do it.
I believe I have done exactly that, I know a few Mavni's who have done it solely for the citizenship, but off the many Mavni's I've met, all of them have enlisted to give back to the country that has give them opportunities with no regard to race, color or life style (& a deep conviction to do something honorable). The citizenship of course was an added bonus. So the next time you take the time to make these fallacious generalizations, i suggest you do your due research and publicize your thoughts based on an impartial analysis. That being said you could still cloak your thoughts on the First Ammendment.
God bless our troops.

nah said...

ja ja Saale desh drohi ! Main Teri Gand maarunga tu India main aake to Dekh bas ! I'm a lt .col in the Indian army ! Teri Banawati Americi gaand ko toh main aise maarunga na ki. Nani yaad aajayegi !