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Friday, 23 May 2014

From Today's Papers - 23 May 2014

Terror groups still active in Pak: Deputy NSA
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, May 22
Even as Prime Minister-elect Narendra Modi has extended an invitation to Pakistan Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif to attend his swearing-in ceremony, Deputy National Security Adviser (NSA) Nehchal Sandhu today warned that “conflict entrepreneurs” in Pakistan continued to sustain an anti-India rhetoric and the ability to conduct terror attacks.

Delivering the KF Rustomji Memorial Lecture organised by the Border Security Force (BSF), Sandhu said an array of terrorist groups that had earlier perpetrated violence and killings in India continued to enjoy “much latitude” in Pakistan and sections of the state apparatus continued to support them.

Terming them as “conflict entrepreneurs”, the Intelligence Bureau (IB) ex-chief said these groups were working hard to create an atmosphere of “animosity” against India.

“The Pakistan Council that includes Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a front for the Lashkar-e-Toiba, is one such platform. An array of terror groups that have previously exhibited the ability to carry out operations in several states of India continue to enjoy much latitude in Pakistan and remain very active,” Sandhu said. An old hand in anti-terror operations, Sandhu said: “Limitations imposed on their (terror groups') recruitment schemes, training venues, fund collection mechanisms and infiltration platforms following the November 2008 Mumbai attacks evaporated a few years ago.

Sections of the state apparatus continue to extend support to these groups, he said. “Unrestrained outpouring of vituperative propaganda against India has not caused the Pakistan government to impose any restrictions. With the number of cadres available to them, these groups have spare potential despite having dedicated many of their cadres to eastern and central parts of Afghanistan in the last few years,” he said.

Sandhu said “launching pads” along the Pakistan border will be re-activated with the onset of summer and determined infiltration attempts will be made. “As we head into the summer, launching pads are likely to be re-activated and determined attempts will be made for infiltration. The burden for thwarting the same will essentially fall upon the BSF,” he warned.

Sandhu also spoke of the security situation along India's eastern flank where it shares the border with Bangladesh. “Proxy platforms of (Pakistani) outfits in Bangladesh, although exposed in many places, continue to maintain their vitality. Recent investigations show that the Indo-Bangladesh border has been exploited by terrorists for clandestine movements of their colleagues and hardware,” Sandhu said.

He said the completion of the border fence was a “pressing requirement” and best practices from across the world could be borrowed to secure the vulnerable riverine areas along Indian borders. He also cited the example of an anti-infiltration fence erected by Singapore in the sea.

Startling disclosures

“Conflict entrepreneurs” working hard to create an atmosphere of “animosity” against India

Terrorist groups that had earlier perpetrated violence and killings in India continue to enjoy “much latitude” in Pakistan

Unrestrained outpouring of vituperative propaganda against India has not caused Pakistan to impose restrictions

Launch pads are likely to be re-activated at the onset of summer and attempts will be made for infiltration
Talks fail, Thai Army seizes power in coup

Bangkok, May 22
Thailand's Army chief General Prayuth Chan-ocha seized control of the government in a coup on Thursday, two days after he declared martial law, saying the military had to restore order and push through reforms after six months of turmoil.
The military declared a 10 pm until 5 am curfew, suspended the Constitution and told outgoing Cabinet ministers to report to an army base in the north of the capital by the end of the day. Rival protest camps were ordered to disperse.

Thailand is locked in a protracted power struggle between supporters of ousted former premier Thaksin Shinawatra and opponents backed by the royalist establishment that has polarised the country and battered its economy. "In order for the situation to return to normal quickly and for society to love and be at peace again... and to reform the political, economic and social structure, the military needs to take control of power," Prayuth said in the televised address.

The General made his broadcast after a meeting of rival factions to find a compromise to end six months of protests, but no progress was made. — Reuters

India warns citizens

The Indian Embassy in Bangkok has advised all Indian tourists and residents to take "abundant precautions" for their safety and urged them to avoid moving around during the curfew period and also avoid areas where demonstrations, political gatherings and marches were likely to take place. It said public transport, including to and from the airport, could be affected from 8 pm (local time) onwards due to a 10 pm to 5 am curfew.
 Defence expenditure: Get value for money
In the concluding part of the series, the writer focuses on defence expenditure and argues that it is subject to knee-jerk and lopsided accretions. Plans to modernise slip and self-reliance is given a go by. All this must change if we are looking for defence expenditure to be a catalyst for growth
Lt Gen SS Mehta

The national security policy will place exacting demands on national defence. These will inevitably guide the services towards attaining a joint, lean, mean, fleet-footed, precision firepower-enabled capability for operations on land, sea, air, underwater, space and cyberspace. The immediate challenge will be the need for an across-the-spectrum, multidimensional capability, to replace the current single- service, ponderous, and unwieldy structures, supported by archaic logistic practices. However, this paper leaves this discussion for another day and time.
This note challenges the general perception among policy makers, politicians and think tanks that defence expenditure is wasteful; that it can be better utilised to provide for education, health, and other development expenses. The hypothesis is that affordable and well-spent budgets will raise the human capital, the bar of available technology for public and private use, improve the research-and-development culture and quotient and raise the self-reliance index of India, besides providing jobs and security to the aam aadmi. How?

About 70,000 personnel from all three services, who retire every year, are between the ages of 37 and 43. The majority having been trained for 15 to 20 years. They are disciplined, physically fit, and depending on the branch of service they served while in uniform, their skills can be gainfully put to use in the marketplace. To name a few, school teachers in villages, trainers in skill development, rural banking and marketing of products, supervision of infrastructure projects, monitoring of central and state-sponsored schemes, health workers, and for redressing the environment imbalance (afforestation of the Dehradun-Mussoorie hill tract by ex-servicemen serving as part of “Ecology Battalions” is an outstanding example). These ex-soldiers are national force multipliers in need of a second career and are eminently suited for assignments in the public or private sectors with short re-training programmes which the services must be obliged to provide before retirement and in a far more effective manner than is the current norm.
Focus on offsets

Secondly, let’s study the technology capital. Defence expenditure incurred in purchase of imported arms and ammunition should help raise the threshold of technology in the country. Leave past mistakes behind and look at the current acquisition of the state-of-the-art 126 fighter aircraft being bought for the Indian Air Force. As a part of the contract, we should imbibe levels of technology that will enable us to make our own 100-120 seater transport aircraft and jointly market them internationally in a manner similar to what Brazil, another developing country, has done in designing and marketing its Embraer transport aircraft. The alternative option would be to offset the manufacture of some critical components of the Tejas LCA (light combat aircraft) and then market it globally. Of course, for the latter option Parliament will have to take a call on whether or not India needs to make a policy shift in the manufacture and export of warlike materials.

The main point being made is that we have options and we should be proactive in exercising them. Defence-related technology is sophisticated and is often embedded with dual-use potential. Take, for example, the internet. Invented by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) and look at the way it has revolutionised businesses, society and our lives. Faster air travel is a spin-off benefit from the investments in the design of faster military aircraft. We have only recently moved towards an offsets regime which has excited the public, private and foreign suppliers. The announcement of raising the cap on defence FDI is equally fortuitous.

For the moment the outcome is difficult to predict. It must, however, be said that these are welcome initiatives. Much learning is required for their effective execution. Both are global practices and there are some very good and some bad experiences from which we need to learn. Today we are in the buyers’ market and we have the choice to decide which critical technology we need to offset. Skilfully executed, offsets will encourage our private, public sectors and entrepreneurs to come forward to join in the national mission of raising our threshold of technology. Consequently, there will be more jobs on offer; jobs demanding more and higher skills levels. Indigenously built defence equipment will result in a flourishing job market. Unemployed and unemployable youth will be motivated to skill and re-skill themselves to grasp the opportunity of more and better-quality livelihood options — a win-win opportunity for all.

Research and growth

Thirdly, look at research and development. All such activity is key to growth, Defence research and development more so. Our research and development establishments have spent huge amounts of money but have little to show for it. These establishments must be monitored for output as scrupulously as the other components of defence expenditure. Since R&D has long gestation periods with output often invisible to public scrutiny, establishments conducting such activity lack patronage as well as effective oversight, both of which have an impact on delivered quality. The virus of “time-and-cost over-runs” persists unabatedly within these establishments in general and in the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) in particular.

Though one of world’s most-lucrative markets for military products, India’s industrial policy has kept defence production under tight government control. The tools for bolstering indigenous defence production capability were transferred through licence agreements and technology transfer to Defence PSUs and Ordnance factories. While these populist methods enhanced low-level technology, the fact remains that today over 70 per cent of our capital defence acquisitions are externally sourced.

Self-reliance is key

This brings us to the linked question of self-reliance in critical areas and the opportunities that go with it in securing attractive livelihood options for our citizens. We are savagely skill deficient but seem oblivious to the need for rapid transformation from a “have-not” to a “have” category of nation. Reform will have to take in its fold an education system that is dated; a system where you get a certificate which is not linked to employability. The legal tender of tomorrow is not only going to be pounds, dollars, euros, and yen, it will also be skills. These could be cashed in every part of an ageing world. Besides helping to raise the bar of job opportunities and self reliance it will set the stage for India to move from a “labour-arbitrage economy” to a “knowledge-arbitrage economy” — a change that will place India on the path to realising its latent and untapped potential.

The defence expenditure as a catalyst for growth comes with a caveat related to defence budgets. How well is it known that the defence budget falls under the non-plan expenditure head of the union budget? The question is why? Also, the five-year defence plans have rarely, if ever, been approved at the beginning of the plan period. Why? In fact, the track record is scary. Some plans have been approved after the expiry of the plan period, while some have been approved midway through the plan. However, most have been approved without a financial commitment. Why? The budget allocations as a percentage of GDP have varied from a low of 1.5 per cent of GDP to a near 3 per cent of GDP, that too on a year-on-year basis. Of course, the security situation and resource availability may have dictated this variation, but this is not without its adverse impact on the “readiness of the force”. Such variation and practices have led to knee-jerk and lopsided accretions. Jugaad is the operative catchword. The modernisation plans slip and self-reliance goes out of the window.

All this must change if we are looking for defence expenditure to be a catalyst for growth. Allocations, commitments, and acquisition processes must follow a predictable path. Capability development is an exacting exercise. Year-on-year allocations, with no mechanism to benchmark it against commitments, put a premium on long-term planning, besides raising scores of anxieties. What would be the basis for long-term private and public investments in capability development? What is the motivation for industry to buy technology, invest in research and development and develop indigenous capability?

Development means different things at different levels. Whatever these be, it goes without saying that by the very nature of the task that the services are expected to execute in border areas, development is a “natural spin off”. The need for roads, heliports, airstrips, bridges, habitats, supplies and materials, creates its own development opportunity. All of this helps to create a feeling of inclusivity and bonding amongst the population in far-flung and inhospitable areas.

Technology-driven India

Let me end on an optimistic note. A safe India, where human capital is being enriched progressively, a technology-driven India, a selectively self-reliant India, will bring to the masses, specially the youth, the much-wanted pride and self-esteem. It will provide them space to practice their “we-can-and-we-will sentiment. The spin-off of inclusivity is an automatic byproduct. Imaginatively spent defence allocations can do all this and more. The free world is also waiting to see India rise to its full potential and take its rightful place under the sun. India is a status quo power that has never countenanced others territory, but will be steadfast in holding its own. It has a stake in preserving the peace from without and within. A safe environment is key for development and growth. It should surprise no one that affordable defence expenditure provides all three. The clock is ticking.
Armed with Presentations, Military Chiefs Prep to Meet Narendra Modi
The three military chiefs will make presentations before Narendra Modi next week, after he is sworn in as the new Prime Minister.

The chiefs will each make a 25-minute presentation to Mr Modi and his Defence Minister on a detailed roadmap for the armed forces.

Sources say the forces have been asked to categorise their needs as "urgent" or "necessary".

Army Chief General Bikram Singh has deferred his visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan for the briefing.

He is likely to brief Mr Modi on the need to buy artillery guns, attack helicopters and basic weapons like infantry assault rifles.

The Air Force is expected to discuss the prolonged negotiations with French Aviation major Dassault Aviation to buy 126 combat jets. Officials say the 15 billion dollar deal needs to be finalized as soon as the new government clears it.

The Air Force, which has an authorized strength of 39.5 squadrons, is down to about 33 squadrons as there were no new acquisitions after old aircraft were phased out.

The Indian Navy, too, is short of conventional submarines; its fleet of diesel-powered submarines is down to a single digit and submarines in production in Indian shipyards are at least four years behind schedule.

Sources say the chiefs are likely to take up the state of the Indian Infantry.

Well-known gun brands like Colt and Beretta are among five or six companies competing for the big tender of 60,000 assault rifles at an estimated cost of Rs. 5,000 crore. The army also wants to replace light machine guns.

The three service chiefs will also flag the security situation in the Indian sub-continent and brief Mr Modi about the situation along the Line of Control and the progress of infrastructure development along the China frontier.

Mr Modi will also meet top bureaucrats of all ministries. Cabinet Secretary AK Seth has asked all departments to prepare power point presentations on their needs and achievements.
Army chief defers visit to Tajikistan, Turkmenistan
Amid preparations to brief the next government on the issues facing the Defence Ministry and the armed forces, Army Chief Gen Bikram Singh has deferred his visit to Tajikistan and Turkmenistan.

The Army Headquarters had tentatively scheduled the visit between May 26-28 but in view of the preparations for briefing the new government, it has been deferred, Army sources said here.

The visit will be rescheduled according to mutual convenient dates, they said.

The new government will take over on May 26 after the swearing-in ceremony of Prime Minister-designate Narendra Modi and the Defence Ministry and the three Services are preparing to make presentations before the new administration on the issues faced by them.

The Ministry and the Services are preparing a list of issues and problems which would be put up before the next government.

The list of issues is likely to include the delayed acquisition of critical weapon systems including the 126 Multirole Combat Aircraft, 197 light choppers and shortage of ammunition faced by the Army for its tank fleet, the sources said.

The divide between civilian and military officers is also likely to figure among the issues. This divide between civilian and military bureaucracy had come out in open during the age controversy of former Army Chief and now BJP MP Gen V K Singh.

The list of issues to be presented before the next government is being supervised by Defence Secretary R K Mathur.

The various departments under the Defence Ministry have also sent the status report of the various important defence manufacturing and procurement projects to the PMO and the Cabinet Secretariat, officials said.

The exercise comes after the Cabinet Secretary asked all the ministries and departments to flag issues faced by them for the next government, which will start functioning after the swearing-in ceremony on May 26 evening.
India’s Next Cabinet Committee On Security-Credentials Imperatives
By Dr Subhash Kapila

India’s national security management and directions suffered extensively in the period 2004 to 2014 due to its ineffective Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) with limited strategic vision, limited national security expertise, and insensitivity to India’s threat perceptions.

That India’s national security has been set back by a decade is now widely accepted going by the critical commentaries swamping the public domain about lack of India’s war preparedness to face India’s major military threats from China and its strategic protégé and spoiler state in South Asia.

India’s military asymmetries with China have yawning gaps endangering India’s security and rendering India vulnerable to China’s political and military coercion.

India’s military superiorities over Pakistan which earlier checkmated Pakistan’s unrestrained military adventurism today stands whittled down and Pakistan has significantly narrowed the differential of India’s military superiorities.

India’s responses to Chinese intrusions into Indian Territory and Pakistan Army’s atrocities on Indian soldiers in border incidents were allowed to pass timidly without any substantial responses. This chiefly arose from the timidity of the outgoing CCS for whom the political appeasement syndrome even extended to appeasement of India’s military adversaries.

India’s defence infrastructure on the Tibetan borders against China are years behind schedule due lack of firm directions, control and inter-agency coordination flowing from the CCS. This severely restricts the operational movements and flexibility of Indian Army’s postures.

The outgoing CCS failed to stand upto the Finance Minister’s annual cuts of around Rs. 10,000 crores of the Defence Budget every year just before the presentation of the Annual Budget to balance the budget deficits. This set India’s defence acquisitions back by a decade.

India’s intelligence failures during the period 2004-2014 are glaring and especially in relation to terrorism strikes and internal security. The CCS was a hapless spectator and glossed over these failures. The CCS neither was it accountable itself nor sought accountability from the intelligence agencies.

The outgoing CCS failed to implement effective and coordinated “Border Management” on the Northern borders by allowing the Home Ministry to impede the Indian Army’s constant pleas that the Indo-Tibetan Border Police be placed under its operational control for effective and integrated ‘Border Management’. No wonder the Chinese intrusions into Indian Territory increased.

The list is endless and this litany of CCS failures can go on and on. Suffice it to say that the outgoing CCS composed of exclusively Congress Party political leaders failed to provide strategic directions, strategic postures including foreign policy thrusts, allowed India’s defence preparedness against China and Pakistan to suffer by their acts of political commission and omission.

Worse still the outgoing CCS failed to arrest the politicisation of Armed Forces appointments by a meddlesome Defence Ministry civilian bureaucracy and the same bureaucracy widening the “Severe Distrust” that has constantly plagued India’s civil-military relations which no political dispensation has been able to transform due to political expediencies.

The CCS is the apex level Government body which is responsible and logically be “Accountable” for India’s external and internal security in its most comprehensive connotations— from realistic deciphering of India’s military threats and intentions of its military adversaries, ensuring strong defence postures and war preparedness to thwart them, ensuring adequate defence budget to sustain the foregoing, indigenous defence production and defence infrastructure development along India’s borders for effective operational responses.

The CCS is chaired by the Prime Minister, and comprises of the Defence Minister, Finance Minister, Home Minister, and the External Affairs Minister. The National Security Adviser is in attendance and the attendance of the Armed Forces Chiefs can be called for when required.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi has won a decisive mandate in India’s General Elections 2014 chiefly because of his impressive dynamism, his reputation for decisiveness and his strong sense and sensitivity for India’s “National Honour”. The Indian Republic has reposed immense faith in him and that PM-Designate Modi would provide robust leadership and “Will to use Power” if need be to protect India’s sovereignty and that it is not trifled by China and Pakistan.

PM-Designate Narendra Modi as he sets about to constitute his Cabinet needs to pay particular attention to selecting his Defence Minister, Home Minister, Finance Minister and External Affairs Minister as this ‘Core Group of Ministers’ would constitute the new CCS.

In selecting his ‘Core Group’ Prime Minister Designate Modi needs to recognise the imperatives of selecting a dynamic group of political leaders who match his strategic vision, decisiveness and come equipped with a strategic vision and a good grasp of matters military and national security.

The new CCS, it follows, from the drawbacks of the outgoing CCS outlined above, should be composed of Ministers reputed for strong loyalty towards Mr Modi, so that they are in complete synchronisation with his strategic vision of a strong and powerful India and also have a good working relationship amongst them.

While it is the new Prime Minister’s prerogative to select his ‘Core Group of Ministers who will constitute his CCS, an ideal shortlist from which he should select, in popular perception, gets narrowed down to Shri Rajnath Singh, Shri Arun Jaitley, Shri Arun Shourie, Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad Shri Amit Shah, Shri Manohar Parrikar, Smt Vasundhara Raje and former Army Chief V K Singh.

All of these political leaders have earlier written or spoken about national security, internal security and external affairs thereby equipping them to be ideal members of the new CCS in the offing. All of them also do not seem to be carrying political baggage which would develop into dead-weights obstructive to PM Designate Modi’s strategic vision and dynamism.

The cardinal principle in selection should not be political expediency or achieving political balance within the political party but constituting a strong and professionally competent ‘Core Group of Ministers’ that can bring back India‘s national security neglected for a decade.

Further PM Designate Modi would be well advised to review the entire national security set-up existing but to begin with the imperatives of an effective CCS with imperative credentials suited to the national security challenges confronting India is an immediate priority.

India under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi needs to get over the daunting task of sweeping away the debris of ten years of national security neglect and the gaping “Civil Military Relations Distrust” which has made India that much more vulnerable in terms of political and military coercion to Pakistan and China and its standing as a notable Asian power.
Army jawan found dead in barrack
An army jawan was found hanging from a ceiling fan of his barrack here today, a Defence spokesman said.

Nishad, aged 44, was posted as Havildar in 524 AC Battalion's army service, he said adding the reason for his death was yet to be ascertained.

A court of enquiry had been ordered and his family members in Raipur informed about his death, the official said.
FDI not an all cure; ready for any role BJP gives: VK Singh

FDI is not a Penacea for India's defence sector. That's the word coming in from the former army chief and current BJP MP VK Singh. Speaking exclusively to CNBC-TV18's Shereen Bhan, Singh called for structural changes to India's defence policy. “FDI is only one part of the issue. What is needed is how do you leverage the power of your private sector to ensure that you become self-reliant,” he said. Singh believes flawed procedures are to blamed for arm lobbyists making a killing for themselves. He feels the country needs to work getting in more fresh tech to foster domestic defence production. “India hasn’t developed a new gun in 15 years because of procedures,” he said. Singh, a popular candidate for the role of Defence Minister, said he is willing to take on any role his party entrusts upon him. “If BJP wants results, they can entrust me with any task,” he told the channel. Below is a verbatim transcript of the interview Shereen: There has been a Facebook page that has been setup, which suggests, you should be appointed the Defence Minister of the country. I believe at last count, it had about 37,000 likes. Is that on the agenda; is that what you are hoping for? A: I don’t know who has setup that page nor do I subscribe to such a page because the party gave me a responsibility to go to Ghaziabad, I have done that. Whatever other responsibilities party will give I will fulfill it. Shereen: You have seen the comments that have come in from your former colleagues. Let me just quote to you what former Army Chief General VP Malik has had to say on the possibility of you being given the defence portfolio and General VP Malik has been quoted to say that it should not be done in order to avoid politicisation. So, I don’t know whether you are going to get the post. You don’t know if you are going to get the post apparently at this point in time but what do you make of the comments that have come in suggesting that you should not be put in that position? A: Let me say with all respect to General VP Malik, he has got his total things wrong. I don’t want to quote what all has gone wrong with him. A person who was in Poland when the Kargil thing erupted has got no right to even comment on anything like this. Shereen: Since I don’t have General VP Malik here let me not go down that route of charges that you are making against him. A: I am not making any charges. I am just stating facts. If he hasn’t told these facts to people then people should know. Shereen: As I said he is not here to defend himself so I don’t want to go down that route. A: I was also not there to defend myself when a person like him, a previous chief, makes a statement like that. Shereen: Let me ask you about opening up the defence sector. The DIPP under the UPA suggested hiking the FDI cap to 74 percent. A conversation that I have had with the DIPP Secretary today says that you should open up the defence sector altogether. 49 percent should be under the automatic route and after that you can go through the approval route but this is the one area of opportunity. India is crying for modernisation and this needs to be done on a priority basis. You are a member of the BJP, you won the election, you may or may not be part of the council of ministers where do you stand on this issue? A: Let us forget about the FDI. I think we all confuse ourselves by talking about FDI. FDI is only one part of the issue. What is needed is how do you leverage the power of your private sector to ensure that you become self reliant. Have you done that? Have you changed the rules or modified the rules or restructured the entire thinking which allows you to get technology which can be leveraged by you to produce things in India? No. Have you ensured that your DRDO functions in a manner in which it can contribute towards giving technology to people who can manufacture things in India? What is happening with our public sector? Have you done that? FDI comes much later. Shereen: I understand that FDI is not the panacea to all of our problems but if you want technology to be brought into this country people are saying we are not willing to come in with joint ventures with an FDI cap at 26 percent. You talked about improving the efficiency of the public sector, you yourself as army chief complained about the lack of modernisation within the armed forces, you yourself talked about deficiencies in the procurement process, in ammunition for instance what do you think needs to be done? A: Problem with you people is you carry on with 26 percent and 49 percent and 70 percent. That is immaterial if your procedure is such that if today you want something, and it takes 36 months, then there is something basically wrong with it. If your procedure is such that it is not transparent, and allows arms lobbyists to make money, then there is something wrong in it. What have you done about it? Does joint venture mean FDI? Tomorrow, let us say, you tell the Tatas we want A, B and C -- have you made the things such that the Tatas are able to get that technology, manufacture it in India and allow that company to also export outside? Let us look at these aspects first. Shereen: If I were to ask you forget the issue of FDI for a moment as you are suggesting but if I were to ask you to draw up an action plan as far as the defence forces are concerned to modernise the procurement, to modernise this entire business of setting up defence manufacturing facilities in India what would your suggestions be, what would you recommend today? A: There is a tremendous scope to restructure our ordinance factories, there is a tremendous scope to leverage the private sector, which has the capital and the managerial skill, and there is a tremendous scope of ensuring government-to-government transactions, which allows you the capability to get out of this arms lobbyist racket. The scope is so vast and you can do so much, which can be done to ensure that you are at the forefront. Shereen: If I may ask you, hasn’t this business of indigenisation also been over stated? Let’s just take the example of what the HAL is been trying to do marred by delays. It has been marred by overruns on both costs. We haven’t seen a single indigenised product come out of that stable on time. A: The problem is with your procedures. Let me give you one simple example. We made a gun, which we called the Indian field gun, an excellent in the gun, in the Jabalpur coach factory. In last 25 years, you haven’t made a single gun. Why? Because the procedure says Indian army has not ordered more guns, “Hey guys, why were you sleeping? Why didn’t you upgrade yourself to make something else?” Today, we won’t have been looking for a 155mm if this gun coach factory along with the DRDO, along with the armed forces, sat down and had made or taken a stride in making a 155 caliber gun. So, the basic mentality has to be changed. Shereen: Since we are talking about the mentality and mindset change, again I ask you this: if the government were to ask you for your recommendations—and I don’t know whether you will be empowered to actually take those decisions forward—but in terms of empowering the armed forces, taking the power away from the bureaucracy sitting in Delhi, what would you recommend? A: First thing that should be done is: let’s tell the bureaucracy, this is the way things will be done and not the way you do it. You can’t have a guy who comes from postal department and starts dictating policies for defence. You can’t have a person coming from IRS and start thinking that he has become a defence expert. Let’s do away with this. Let’s structure things in an efficiency management model, in a business model. That is how things will be done. You want to take country forward, then you can’t have these cobwebs, which have been existing in the country for the last 60 years. Shereen: A large infrastructure portion, a large infrastructure thrust is also the need of the hour at this point in time. Your party says it’s committed to boosting infrastructure, to boosting and reviving growth. If I were to ask you on the basis of the conversations that you have had with your party leadership what can we expect now in the next 100 days? A: I haven’t had any conversation, firstly. But let me give you my views. We have got tremendous capability of ensuring that the right type of infrastructure comes in a timeframe in which we want. Do you remember the Common Wealth Games (CWG) bridge, which fell down? How much time did the army take to construct another bridge out there? 48 hours, right? I am quite sure you can find ways and means to bring infrastructure in the timelines that will make a difference in this country. You can ensure that the infrastructure meets not only the requirements of the progress that you desire, but also the requirements that people want. Infrastructure is something, which is going to spur growth. Infrastructure is something, which will provide jobs. Infrastructure is something, which will ensure that better technology comes in. Shereen: You spoke about modernisation, procurement, FDI and so on and so forth. But talent and the lack of talent is a serious problem facing the armed forces today. Besides addressing the issue of compensation, how are you likely or how is your government going to address the talent issue? A: I am not the Prime Minister. Let the Prime Minister start working. Let the government come into being and I am quite sure you will see much more things happening than what you are saying. Shereen: If not the Ministry of Defence, any other area of opportunity that you believe you would be suited for? A: I don’t speculate. I will say very simply. I was tasked to go to Ghaziabad, I produced results. I belong to an organisation, which is result-oriented. And if the party wants results anyway, they can entrust me for whatever they want.

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