Some may find it hilarious that the Border Security Force has ordered a Court of Enquiry (COI) to probe the allegedly unscheduled pregnancy of Lalcy, one of its sniffer dogs. Funny as it may sound, the fact that the female dog in question was deployed at an outpost on the India-Bangladesh border in Meghalaya might have made it an issue of some importance. After all, the dogs, as much as the jawans, are entrusted with guarding our borders.

The BSF is a disciplined force and its members – be they humans or dogs – are subject to rigorous discipline and rules of conduct. For the BSF, the dogs are like any other members of the force. Breach of discipline of any kind by any member is dealt with sternly, Lalcy being no exception.

If the newspaper story has got it right then the poor creature has committed a grave offence. It is reported that there is a detailed and strict protocol that governs the canine members of the BSF. The protocol, among other things, lays down when and how they can get pregnant and deliver pups, and getting impregnated by an unknown partner is quite out of the question.

It is not uncommon for members of the defence forces, diplomats, and others in sensitive positions to be victims of honey traps laid by the intelligence outfits of enemy countries. There are many instances – recent and remote – where even senior officers could not resist the attraction of the opposite sex, and compromised national security by divulging state secrets to the enemies through their lovers.

When any clandestine amorous relationship between a member of one of our forces and someone from the opposite side gets exposed, an enquiry is held to see if any breach of security is involved and if so, appropriate punishment follows.

Although Lalcy is indeed a proud member of the BSF, it is ludicrous even to suggest the involvement of Bangladeshi agencies in getting one of the inmates of the BSF kennel entrapped!

Indeed, there was no dearth of passionate feelings between Lalcy and her unknown lover. The poor girl likely was moon-struck, the SOP to get pregnant was too rigorous and, when she was approached by her lover, Lalcy could not wait till the officially allowed time for love-making.

Everything, they say, is fair in love and war. As an animal lover, I strongly object to putting Lalcy through the tyranny of a COI for as simple a thing as falling in love! After all, don’t we, humans, occasionally slip as well? I am sure the COI will not be so heartless as to punish Lalcy on this score.

An intriguing question could be whether Lalcy’s lover hails from India or Bangladesh. If the lucky guy is an Indian it is well and good. If Bangladesh is its origin, it could well be a case of infiltration! Maybe, the COI will find answers to those momentous questions and will exonerate Lalcy of any wrongdoing.

However, it may not be so easy for Lalcy’s handler to escape some disciplining. It is quite possible that while Lalcy was enjoying the company of her suitor, her handler was also on some pursuit no less interesting than Nancy’s. Now, that is something inexcusable for uniformed personnel.

It was the handler’s duty to keep Lalcy out of harm’s way, or to see that no one could charm her to the extent that she would surprise the force by an untimely pregnancy! For that indiscretion, some disciplining of the handler will indeed be in order. Meanwhile, I wish Lalcy and her pups a very happy and playful new year.

Sandip Mitra is retired from the Indian Foreign Service.