India has a large body of over one and a half million troops comprising just the army (not to mention a blue-water navy, a formidable air force, and other paramilitary forces) who come from diverse socio-economic backgrounds and cultures and practice different religions; the country’s progressive society has now started to contribute women to military units not just in logistics and administration but also as fighter aircraft pilots. However, what is unique is that irrespective of the religious and cultural composition of regiments and battalions, military leaders get commissioned and command troops from diverse multicultural identities on the basis of randomised selection with no consideration of their caste, culture, or religion. This is in consonance with a famous adage in the Indian military: ‘The religion and culture of officers is the religion and culture of troops that they command’. This chapter seeks to understand the dynamics of integrating multicultural religious identities of personnel serving in the military and the tempering of leadership required to earn respect and be acceptable as a leader and command troops in operations as well as during peacetime. The discussion will include military values interwoven in common religious traditions and cultural practices before, during, and after induction into operations as well as major training events like field firing, battle inoculation training, military exercises, and movement of troops/units as well as sports and competitions, along with implications and possible replication in other militaries across the globe.
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