Editorial

And Now China Nudges Us to Mod­ernise the Armed Forces

India Strategic - - NEWS - Gul­shan Rai Luthra

This re­port, that re­port, CAG re­port and State­ments by Chiefs over the last few decades have pe­ri­od­i­cally drawn at­ten­tion to the paral­y­sis in our rou­tine de­fence ac­qui­si­tion and mod­erni­sa­tion process, thanks to the al­le­ga­tion of cor­rup­tion in the 1986 deal for Bo­fors Gun from Swe­den cou­pled with lies from VP Singh and com­pany who also added that it was a poor qual­ity gun and pros­e­cuted some of­fi­cials.

While I have noth­ing to say about the al­le­ga­tion of cor­rup­tion, the al­le­ga­tion of the gun be­ing of poor qual­ity was a lie which VP Singh used to pro­pel him­self to re­place Ra­jiv Gandhi as Prime Min­is­ter. His var­i­ous ac­tions trig­gered a paral­y­sis in the Min­istry of De­fence, and to date, the re­luc­tance of of­fi­cers in­volved in the se­lec­tion process has not fully with­ered.

Thanks to the tempo he built up, most mem­bers of the two par­lia­men­tary com­mit­tees, on De­fence and another tasked to probe the Bo­fors deal, were not will­ing to be­lieve that the Bo­fors gun in ques­tion was in­deed made of steel. They were sur­prised when, in a demon­stra­tion for them, the gun ac­tu­ally fired and de­liv­ered the pay­load to 30.8 km, ex­ceed­ing the stated range of 30 km. They were not sat­is­fied even then till the Ge­o­log­i­cal Sur­vey of In­dia (GSI), man­dated to check the dis­tance be­tween the fir­ing and im­pact points, con­firmed the Army’s ver­i­fi­ca­tion in this re­gard.

Not­with­stand­ing what­ever play the po­lit­i­cal par­ties have to do, and what­ever probes the des­ig­nated agen­cies and the Ju­di­ciary have to do, the re­quire­ments of the In­dian Armed Forces should be at­tended to on Fast Track ba­sis. At least now, for we have a nearly 30-year back­log in rou­tine re­place­ments and mod­erni­sa­tion. It may be noted that when the Pak­istani troops oc­cu­pied parts of Kash­mir, lead­ing to the 1999 Kargil War to evict them, we had to im­port mu­ni­tions and many items in­clud­ing high al­ti­tude cloth­ing and shoes on a fast track ba­sis. Then once again, the Pak­ista­nis kicked us out of this paral­y­sis in 2008 by launch­ing the 26/11 ter­ror at­tack on Mum­bai and the Gov­ern­ment then cleared sev­eral pro­pos­als of the In­dian Navy, in­clud­ing for the Boe­ing P8-I Mar­itime Sur­veil­lance and Anti Sub­ma­rine War­fare (ASW) air­craft to strengthen our vigil on the wa­ters around us. Do we need to be kick-started out of this paral­y­sis again!

Looks like, be­cause our armed forces have the will but not the best of equip­ment even now. And the Chi­nese are threat­en­ing us ev­ery day with a war to ex­pand their claims as a medieval im­pe­ri­al­ist power.

It is time for ev­ery­body in the po­lit­i­cal sys­tem, the Gov­ern­ment, the Peo­ple, to come to­gether, fill up the voids in the re­quire­ments of the armed forces, and give them a de­ci­sive ca­pa­bil­ity edge in de­feat­ing any one threat­en­ing us. We are Free In­di­ans. We need to be strong to main­tain our Free­dom.

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