Wednesday, March 28, 2012
On issues related to Indian Armed Forces, BJP should come out openly and clearly. What is going on is not a simple matter. This is gravely serious and instead of making it a Politicians Vs. Army Chief, BJP should play the role of bringing the focus of the Nation to the content of Army Chief’s letter rather than unproven issues of propriety as far as Army Chief is concerned.
BJP is known for standing up strongly in favor of National Security issue. I am personally a natural fan of BJP because of its unfailing stand on National Security issues.
Here’s a list of important issues that I feel face Indian Armed Forces.
1. Appointment of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh as the next Army Chief (CoAS)
a. What is this “Line of Succession”? Since when has Indian Army started preparing a “Line of Succession” for the position of its Chief of Staff?
b. Why was name of Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh announced 90 days in advance as opposed to 60 days, which is the usual procedure?
c. Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s son is married to a Pakistani National and lives in Dubai. What was so outstanding in Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh’s service record that he and he alone is a suitable Army Chief?
d. Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh was the Director General Perspective Planning when the shortage of Ammunition in Army started (Till April 2010).
e. Lt. Gen. Bikram Singh is also a favorite with the media because his past role as the PRO during Kargil Conflict.
2. Shortage of Personnel across Armed Forces, especially in Officers’ Category
a. Batches after Batches are facing shortage of necessary number of cadets at OTA, Chennai as well as IMA
b. New Cadets are not coming, Young Officers on Short Service are not extending service to Permanent Commission, Officers on Permanent Commission are taking pre-mature retirement and joining Corporate Sector and Govt has no method for retaining and adding Men to its forces.
c. Morale of Faujis, ACR issues, Salary Issues (especially when compared what Officers get offered from Corporate Sector) etc are taking a major toll. Mishandling of situations like things that have happened recently with Army Chief are adding to the woes.
3. Shortage of Arms, Ammunitions and other Necessary Equipment
a. Army Chief’s letter to MoD, presentation to MoD last month by Army and a new letter (now leaked) to PMO list out the shortages very well and are now a part of public discussion
b. Govt must be pressurized into modernizing forces immediately.
c. Govt is not equipping Armed Forces adequately on one hand and on the other they are provoking China in South China Sea, what is the meaning of such a maneuver
d. Nuke Deterrence is not adequate defense as we all know it something that will mostly not be used.
4. Indigenization of Production, immediately
a. India produces world-class missiles and its Launch Pads, but doesn’t produce high quality Guns and Bullets? When we buy foreign manufactured Guns like AK-47, AK-56, we become dependent on Foreign Nations for its Bullets.
b. Production of indigenous Aircraft Carrier INS Vikrant (also known as Project 71) is unofficially going on since 1997 at least. The date in public domain may be of later period like 2000 or so. Still not complete. Same for other indigenous programs.
c. Subject to comments of Armed Forces officials, I think Govt policy should be about indigenous production of arms, ammunition & other equipments necessary for at least 2 months war possibility with any of our neighbors either individually or jointly. Why are we dependent on Foreign Nations?
d. Procurement from Foreign Nations not only carries the issue of kickbacks, but also delayed placement of orders, delay in delivery of orders and in some cases, like Aircraft Carrier, non-availability of permissions from foreign nations for sale of “brand new” Aircraft Carriers
5. Highlighting of Chinese Preparations for Military Conflict with India
a. The urgency on these issues will come only when the high-possibility of conflict with China will be highlighted. Here’s a view to what’s going on:
i. India has 7 neighbours – 6 along territorial boundary and One in purely coastal
ii. Pakistan, Nepal, China, Myanmar & Bangladesh is already romancing with China in different magnitudes. Bhutan’s Defense itself is India’s responsibility.
iii. Srilanka on Coastal border is also romancing with China
iv. China is building a String of Pearls around Indian Waters – Sittwe & Coco Islands with Myanmar, Chittagong in Bangladesh, Hambantota in (Southern) Srilanka and Gwadar in Balochistan Region of Pakistan will all have ports for China, which needless to say, will initially carry the tag of “purely for merchant shipping purpose”.
v. Transnational Speed Rail from China to Pak in the Gilgit Agency region in PoK is also now a Public Secret.
b. Repeated threats from China on South China Sea, Oil Exploration project with Vietnam is not a good sign
c. Repeated and unreported incursions of Chinese into Indian territory, at WILL, is a horrible sign of confidence of Indian Faujis in facing Chinese Soldiers (Huge incidents occur along Ladakh, Himachal, Sikkim and Arunachal Region…most incidents go unreported.
6. Implementation of Report of Kargil Review Committee
a. Report was made under BJP led Govt
b. All issues pertaining to management of Armed Forces, including Paramilitary Forces and State Police were dealt with in Detail, including treatment of Soldiers across their Lifetime with Indian Security establishment
c. Frictions between Civilian Govt and Military leadership could easily be reduced by implementation of this Report.
d. BJP should put its entire weight behind implementation of this Report of Kargil Review Committee. Largest no. of issues pertaining to Structural Problems and problems caused due to Structural Problems will be resolved immediately.
7. One Rank, One Pension
a. No doubt, this is a serious issue. It may in fact have some positive effect on recruitment aspect too
b. Prime Minister’s impropriety in telling lies on the floor of the house on 3rd March 2010 when Shri. L K Advani was giving Motion of Thanks to the President, and raised the OROP issue, and Prime Minister butted in saying OROP is implemented, is to be highlighted. Govt must be held Accountable. Prime Minister must be personally held accountable.
These are some of my suggestions and request to the current BJP Leadership. I have lot of faith in BJP because it stands strongly behind National Security issues. And I believe no party is better suited to raise these issues than BJP.
Looking forward to some positive action.