Sep 28, 2023
Sep 28, 2023
Everyone knows that a large percentage of India’s state legislators and members of parliament have criminal cases pending against them. Equally well known are their pervasive corruption and dishonesty. What is unknown is that most of them are ignorant, ill-informed and uninterested in anything except getting rich and getting re-elected by any means.
This has left Indian armed forces unprepared to meet conflicts with hostile neighbors. From the time of partition, Indian leadership has seen the adverse consequences of America’s arming and financing of Pakistan and its tacit tolerance of Pakistan’s nuclear weapon acquisition by theft and clandestine help from China. Even today the US supplies aircraft, missiles, ships, ammunition, free of charge to Pakistan. This upgrade of Pakistan’s arms is one factor that requires India to spend huge sums of money to keep up and prevent the disasters of the 1962 Chinese invasion. The US has reneged on fuel supply to Tarapur nuclear plants and still is unwilling to supply reprocessing technology. It denies any exports of dual use or advanced technology as per India’s DRDO chief. IT is supplying nuclear capable F-16s to Pakistan and pushing sale of its obsolete aircraft to India. It has given a contract to Boeing to modify its older F-16s so that they can be flown unmanned and be used for target practice by its newer F-18s and F-22s. Yet the Indian air-force and defense ministry are considering buying F-16s.
The defense ministry and its various committees have delayed inordinately any decision on the 126 MMRCA proposal for the last three years. They delayed the advanced jet trainer purchase of the British Hawks for years while scores of IAF pilots died in crashes due to inadequate training and faulty spares for the aging MiG-21s. They have done the same with the basic jet trainer despite the complete obsolescence and inadequacy of the Indian Kiran trainer made by the incompetent DRDO, HAL employees, selected by nepotism and quotas. The DRDO has failed to deliver on Astra, Arjun tank and Tejas aircraft, to mention a few. On the other hand the armed forces like the population have a fetish for “phoren” equipment just like the population. They have purchased old T-72 Soviet tanks in the past without adequate equipment like night vision, T-90s with some advanced electronic suites missing, under false hopes and reckless assurances by the DRDO that they would be able to install such equipment of indigenous make.
Even the much delayed and previously deficient Arjun tank and Tejas aircraft have large imported foreign components with the DRDO mainly being assemblers. The DRDO now wins bids without competition excluding private Indian companies by teaming up with Israeli and other foreign companies. One is unsure if any bribery is involved and how secure the software is. It is as idiotic as the armed forces buying Chinese communication equipment. Of course, I realize that the private Indian companies have seen the burgeoning Indian defense expenditure and are merely salivating to gorge at the public trough and not motivated by unselfish patriotism. The navy, DRDO and contracting agency showed their combined incompetence in not taking the advanced equipment for the Scorpene submarines at the initial offer. The delay and the belated modifications cost the nation 500 million dollars each (total-one billion) and the submarines will not be available before 2013, after many of our current submarines are retired for obsolescence.
The idiotic defense ministry has cancelled the purchase of helicopters (attack, utility, transport, reconnaissance and ASW) repeatedly and yet our high officials who should be pedaling their own rickshaws promptly spent 800 million dollars in buying twelve VVIP Agusta helicopters. These copters have three engines, so no VVIP will crash and have electronic warfare suites to combat heat seeking and explosive missiles. Our crooked ministers, presidents, parliamentarians deserve to walk, ride bicycles or pedal their own rickshaws. They are not precious enough to be missed by the people. The armed forces, DRDO, HAL and the defense factories need to co-ordinate to make tanks, armored personnel carriers, howitzers, rocket launchers, mortars, artillery, guns and ammunition indigenously and not fall into the Pentagon idiocy of 200 million dollar aircraft too costly to use or maintain or operate in adequate numbers. If the Arjun works well in hot climates it can be used in Rajasthan and the east only. If it works well in colder climates it should be used in Kashmir and northeast only. It has to be better than a T-72 without night vision or anti-tank missile defense. How can the Tejas be worse than the 40 year old subsonic Jaguar or Harrier (both retired). It should be better for close air support and even dogfights in both the visual and beyond visual range. India is spending nearly two billion dollars to upgrade 50+ Mirage 2000s, which are twenty+ years old. For forty million dollars a piece, is there no new modern alternative? Why is India buying more MiG-29s when Algeria has scrapped them because of defects and Malaysia is complaining about them.
The total foolishness of Sonia’s current puppet Manmohan Singh, led him to skip the SCO meetings and snub Russia. This led to renegotiated price and delay in delivery of the carrier Gorshkov. India keeps crawling towards the feet of the US and receives only kicks. The US needs Pakistan to extricate itself from the mess in Afghanistan by making peace with the Taliban. Yet it wants to retain a military presence in Afghanistan to control Central Asian energy resources and keep an eye on China and Russia and engender insecurity for the latter, so it needs Pakistan.
India and Manmohan Singh were made complete fools at the London conference on Afghanistan. India had to support and welcome the inclusion of the Taliban. India has committed over a billion dollars in aid and suffered multiple bombings at its embassy, and deaths in Kabul. It has gained nothing by toeing the US line. It has alienated Karzai, had to listen to Holbrook’s lies that the attacks were not against India and to put up with General McChrystal saying that India’s role in Afghanistan needs to be curtailed so as to not offend Pakistan. No wonder Putin issued a veiled ultimatum last week in India reminding the foolish prime minister that Russia has avoided arming Pakistan in consideration of its dastardly terrorism against India. The meaning for India’s dumb politicians is that America arms Pakistan for free despite it being a terrorist state and if you keep crawling to America and buying its expensive outdated planes, Russia may decide to change its policy towards India and Pakistan and by the way make sure you attend the next SCO meeting.
Clueless Manmohan Singh crawled to Saudi Arabia whose Wahabism is the main cause of terrorism in India. His crawling to America is why he invited Colombia’s Uribe and Saudi King Abdullah to be the chief guests for India’s Republic Day. The latter insulted India by refusing to visit Rajghat and pay homage to Gandhi. India should stick to Israel, Russia and the EU. They are all worried about rising Islamist terrorism and politics and have common interests and enemies with India, while unfortunately despite our desire, need and some admiration for it, relations with America will remain a dream, hope and recurrent disillusionment, until the US becomes a genuine democracy with enlightened leaders, a possibility less remote than one for India becoming the same.
More by : Gaurang Bhatt, MD