Indian Defence News [View All Articles]

Should The Indian Army Soldiers Be Put On Steroids?

What is a super soldier? The usual answer would be: the one who is equipped with top-notch weaponry and possesses absolute man-to-man combat skills. Well, that is true but if you nosedive into the philosophy of creating a super soldier, things move beyond the understanding of many. The talk about a super solider should start with a very basic question: how strong is he? Strip him off his weapons and put him in a hostile zone, what is he left with to survive? Well, that would be his strength to kill with bare hands. Wars know no rules. Kill before you get killed. Close quarter man-to-man battles are ugly. Before you can reach for your gun tucked in a holster, you can have your throat stabbed. Here's where strength to kill with 'bare hands' comes in. So, what do we do to make the strong even stronger? The answer is simple: put the Indian Army soldiers on Anabolic steroids.


Duplicating The Hollywood Fantasies ::
Know Captain America? Steve Rogers, the snail-sized soldier was put into a casket and came out as an invincible super strong, bullet-crunching-alien-killing super soldier. While the armies around the world have toyed around with the idea of developing sci-fi weaponry, nothing much has been done on the genetic or chemical enhancement front. Rumors have it that Nazi juiced the SS but there's no proof to solidify those claims. So has any Army done it yet? Read on. You will be surprised.


The Australian Experiment 1998 ::
In 1998, the Australian authorities discovered that a lot of their soldiers in their Elite Forces were using Anabolic Steroids. Instead of taking stringent action against this, the authorities embraced the fact. Their ideology was- 'if anything increases the survival rate of our soldiers, it is OK!' The authorities even laid out certain guidelines for use of steroids in the military. Somehow the press (Sydney Morning) got hold of this idea and created a public panic. Eventually, the program got terminated and steroids were pulled away from military usage.

The below mentioned article links are from the Sydney Morning Herald, dated 2010, and talk about Australian soldiers using performance enhancing steroids. All the links are forbidden and it's not hard to guess why.


US Military Health Editorial 2016 ::
The US Military is also exploring the advantages of chemically enhancing their soldiers. The researchers at the 2016 Consortium of Health and Military Performance symposium suggested 5 primary agendas the Military must consider. Astonishingly, one of these was the further exploration of steroid use, including the costs and benefits. The interest aroused from an anonymous survey in the US Army Rangers which found out that 1/4th of soldiers had taken Anabolics or some form of performance-enhancing drug. The authors of the editorial, Lt. Col Chad Peltier and Kyle Pettijohn, PhD, did mention the pros of anabolic steroids and how it can enhance the performance of their men the Special Forces. But they also gave a final statement which gives a subtle hint that use of Anabolic Steroids can be justified in the military.


How Will The Soldiers Benefit?
1) Enhanced Stamina = Increased Survival Rate
Steroids tend to increase the red blood cell concentrations (oxygen-carrying capacity). Thus, boosts energy and sense of well-being. It also supports the retention of lean body mass, and improves muscle strength and most importantly, endurance. For the surgical strikes against Pakistan in response to the Uri Attacks our soldiers had to trek around 50 Km (one side) into the enemy territory. Once the operation was executed, our soldiers had to break out through the enemy zone in minimum time. Now these men already have remarkable stamina. But what if this could be made better and pushed to a superhuman level. It would only increase the survival rate of our men.
Note - Unlike steroid abuse (which most bodybuilders do), controlled hormone therapy may have benefits with regard to cardiovascular health. For example, studies tend to show hormone replacement as having a positive effect on serum lipids which includes a reduction in LDL and total cholesterol levels, combined with no significant change in HDL (good) cholesterol levels.

2) Increased Muscle Mass = Increased Strength Levels
This is perhaps the most evident benefit of steroids, due to which many strength athletes have been accused of administering it: superior strength levels. You might wonder that if our soldier doesn't have to squat 250Kg in a battlefield, then why do they need high levels of strength? Well, on an average a soldier would be carrying a backpack weighing anywhere between 30 and 65Kg. The load can increase during special operations. If our men have greater strength to carry the load, they can be equipped with more ammunition, inevitably making them more lethal.

“To observe the above performance enhancements, super high bodybuilding dosages need not be administered. Such high dosages will undeniably do more harm than good.”


Non-Steroid Substances For Increased Alertness & Concentration ::
Staying mentally alert is extremely important for any soldier. Often, our soldiers operate for extended hours with little to no sleep. Lack of sleep can decline cognitive functioning which can be a matter of life and death. There are FDA-approved drugs which stimulate the central nervous system safely and effectively. Drug M (name not disclosed for safety reasons) has been shown to successfully help in the treatment of many mental disorders. It belongs to eugeroics ('good arousal'), designed to promote a mental state of vigilance and alertness. One advantage of this drug is that it has much lower potential for abuse due to the fact that it produces a lower sense of euphoria. The U.S. military is quite interested in this drug, for enhancing energy levels of pilots and combat soldiers that need to operate for long periods of time without sleep. Soldiers on drug M have reported maintaining excellent cognitive functioning for up to 40 hours without sleep, and have fewer side effects.


“Indian Air Force: The Go-No-Go Pill Test ::
Use of anabolic steroids is rampant in defence forces around the world and it is a well-planned initiative. Imitating such initiatives, the Indian Defence Forces also have been experimenting on their soldiers. For example- the famous 'Go-no-go' pills were tested on pilots while I was serving in the IAF. These are being used by pilots to combat fatigue and heighten alertness during combat. First time it was used in the Exercise LiveWire, says report from Times of India Feb 08 report. Handling highly stressful situations becomes more difficult when sleep-deprivation and fatigue come into play, and can negatively affect decision-making ability. After the adrenaline-rush of the Go Pill, the No-Go Pill is used to offset its effect in order to rest before the next mission.


What Is The Future?
The worst outcome in a battlefield is death. Everything else (including side effects of the drugs) can be dealt with later once our soldier survives the extremes. There are 1.4 million active soldiers serving in the Indian army; putting all of them on some form of drugs does not make any sense. But the ones involved in special operations and guarding the sensitive areas (LOC in Siachen, Jungles in the Northeast) can definitely benefit from this. So, the question is not whether the Indian defence forces will use performance enhancing substances on the soldiers, because the answer, invariably, would always be no. The question is whether we are ready to raise a crop of front line soldiers who are enhanced beyond their natural genetic capacities?

Defence News Poll
Should India recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital?


  
View Result  |  Archive