DEFENCE IN JEOPARDY
In the fag-end of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's BJP rule, plans and schemes are announced that could solve many of the existing problems the country faces. Giving farmers 1½ times the expenses they incur in the case of crop failure, have a health insurance scheme that gives Rs. 5 lakh to some 50 crore families for caring the members who fall ill, are very essential schemes. However, it has to be seen how many will be benefitted by these schemes during this government's time.
Such a plan is formulated by the Government to renovate the country's defence structure,that no doubt needs urgent attention. Ex-generals and Defence analysts have been warning that the forces are in need of very essential weapons and equipments that a modern army, navy and air force need. Though the overconfident Army Chief Bipin Rawat boasts that India is ready to fight war on 2½ fronts, his own generals have been doubting his wisdom. It was reported that the soldier's basic weapon, the rifle, is outdated and many thousands have to be imported, not to talk of the 5.5 howitzer that have to replace the Bofors guns entangled in corruption in high places. The import of fighter planes the Air Force badly needs is still in the process of procurement. As for the Navy which has the least role in a war, the service seems to be contending with our own production resources in India's well-developed dockyards.
The Services and the Defence Ministry are saying the budgetary allocation for Defence is not sufficient to meet the requirements. However, no viable amount will be sufficient to a system that is not willing to cut down the obsolute and make the best use of the available. For example, the Army could do away its own postal service, several institutions where the education of men and officers could be in the civil colleges and have Supply, Ordnance and Signal and Electrical and Mechanical corps common to all services. But the top officers of the departments are not ready to surrender their individual empire for the sake of national economy and convenience.
The government has come out with a plan to renovate the Defence by constituting a high level committee consisting of national security advisor, service chiefs and secretaries of three most important ministries. As it is, these officers are already too busy in their own jobs to take up additional responsibilities. And the committee's work will creep so that no tangible result would come out of it in the immediate future.
If the Government is really serious about solving the problems confronting Defence, what it should do is to have a workstudy team of young IIM graduates who could work independently and unbiased.