“Leadership cannot be taught, it must be experienced.” This was the crux of the talk given by one of the most experienced tactical army veterans out there. As he shared his experiences of the battlefield, he enlightened everyone with the minutiae of leadership qualities; the little things that are generally taken for granted.
Col Subin Balakrishnan has had a distinguished career in the Indian Army. Graduating from the National Defence Academy (NDA) and the Indian Military Academy (IMA), he started out as a commissioned officer in the Maratha Light Infantry Regiment. Subsequently, he volunteered for the Special Forces, (formerly known as the Para Commandos), and after a gruelling selection process, transitioned into this elite outfit. Only 0.3 % of India’s 1.3 million army make it into the Special Forces.
Through the early years, he was responsible for planning and leading high risk, intelligence-led combat special operations in diverse theaters such as the jungles of the North East and along the Line of Control in Kashmir. The teams he led and trained have gone on to lead classic surgical strikes across the border.
After hanging up his combat boots in 2012, Subin joined the leadership team at Reliance Industries Ltd in a strategic role and and is conducting special operations in the corporate world.
This talk was given at a TEDx event using the TED conference format but independently organized by a local community. Learn more at