Why India needs to question the workings of its Defence Bureaucracy?

Please browse through the following article: http://www.defencenews.in/defence-news-internal.aspx?id=qh3Mr5Wiedk%3D

The first thought that came to mind was if the Defence Minister was probably mistaking multi-billion dollar tax-payer commitment for a ‘haggling exercise with his neighbourhood grocer’. Pyaaz mehenga ho gaya…nahi chahiye..kaam chalalengey’ – loosely translated as, ‘since onions have become expensive, I’ll manage my household without them’.

The Defence Minister’s statements are not only dismissive of Rafale – a long drawn-out, painfully pursued and heavily invested national effort, but reek of ‘taking the Indian public for granted’. As a tech-sensitive military arm with huge financial burden to the government, why did India ever go in for the MMRCA when it could have stayed content with the Sukhois, as he now contends? After all India has been utilising them since 1997. Rather than ‘making do’, the Indian tax-payer is entitled to the ‘accountability’ facet of this saga.

Defence purchases, especially for an import-dependent country – emerge from years of research, planning and force-structure rationalisation — or so the Indian public is made to believe. This planning (should) also entail taking into consideration escalating costs over the period of negotiation and contract-fulfillment. This is very relevant, considering the fact that India has traditionally faced these problems.

The only logical way to ensure a proper process would be to quantify these concerns in the contract/negotiation documents – which serves to lay out accountability and liabilities caused due to unwarranted delays. (Delays and inadequacies are another Indian defence specialty). Repeated ‘slaps on the wrist’, ‘international embarrassment’ have resulted in a continually evolving ‘purchase criteria’ for our Armed Forces…how has this major issue been omitted?

All this has a cascading effect on our national security and leaves us vulnerable to threats – largely a consequence of our own bumbling policymakers.

Rather than ‘making do’, the Indian tax-payer would like to know ‘who’ is to be blamed for this gross negligence of national security and what action has been initiated. What about the time lost and its consequent impact on defence preparedness ?

Lastly and more importantly, are we a ‘make do’ nation?? Really?? Aren’t our politicians always whipping up popular rhetoric citing us as among the world’s best armed forces and a nation poised for superpower status ??

The Indian Defence Minister needs to come clean on this, now that he has waved his magic wand and dismissed Rafale….We are not watching a Harry Potter movie, after all. The nation’s tax payers, I’m sure, would want an answer to reconcile these concerns!!

(Image Courtesy: ichannel.ca)

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