Tuesday, April 1 saw the unfurling of a historic decision in Japan. Prime Minister Shinzo Abe decided to take his nation away government discarded a nearly half-century ban on the export of weapons and military hardware. This move is obviously aimed at helping Japan assume a larger regional security role to offset China’s growing military might.
Japan’s post-World War II renunciation of war, along with - vented successive governments from taking a more proactive approach. It is this ban that has been removed but with self-restrictive guidelines that permit the export of weapons only to allies and partners that agrees not to sell them to third nations without Japanese approval. Economically it will imply opening new markets for Japanese defence companies at a time when Japan’s own military spending is increasing while the defence budget is severely con - cits. Moreover with an increasingly assertive China, Japans, regional this needs correction. Therefore Abe has decided to carry out the long-discussed change to achieve a larger strategic goal: augment by offering its technologically superior hardware to countries who are locked in territorial disputes with China.
First week of April has also seen the parliamentary election scene in India heating up. As usual each party is putting its best foot forward and generally trying to cleaner record in public life. What - ing elections is that the entire nation wants a change from the corrupt politics and politicians of the UPA era. Therefore it is refreshing to see that this time, unlike on earlier occasions, people are focusing on individuals and personalities and their leadership qualities so that they can look forward to a government with decisive leaders in place.
Culminations of parliamentary elections in the month of May will undoubtedly bring about a new political dispensation and there examine the legacy being left behind by the current regime as far as the operational preparedness of the armed forces is concerned. All three services are facing severe shortages of vital weapons and munitions. In the case of the Army, 600 odd modernisation schemes amounting to over ` 70,000 crore in the Eleventh Five Year Plan (2007-12) alone have over the years has done little to accelerate the pace of modernisation. There are serious voids in equipment and munitions of the together with the lack of modernisation of equipment, in virtually all - bility gap vis-à-vis our likely adversaries exists and this is becoming more pronounced day by day. It is in this context that we should view the letter written by General (Retd) V.K. Singh, the former Chief of Army Staff (COAS), to the Prime Minister on March 12, 2012, pointing out the lack of preparedness to -
Following this it seems that Army Headquarters to fast-track acquisitions and the list of essentials was prepared and sent. However, the situation has not improved but in fact has worsened in the last one year. On the one hand, nothing has come so far, on the other hand, missiles and specialised ammunition holdings which have a shelf-life, have dipped further. The situation has never been so critical earlier.
Lt General (Retd) V.K. Kapoor