I wonder how many of us heard our Min of External Affairs, Smt Sushma Swaraj on 5th August, 2017 while she was speaking in Rajya Sabha replying to numerous questions (read doubts) raised by the opposition wrt India’s Foreign Policy under the current Modi led government since mid-2014. It was an outstanding exposition of clearly enunciating tenets of our foreign policy illustrated by specific examples and accomplishments on the world stage. In years, perhaps in decades, it was a pleasure to hear a politician of substance speak with conviction and authority. Needless to state that China issue also was not only mentioned but also specific Indian stand on current standoff was also enunciated and explained in detail. At the end of her reply, the minister sought permission of the chair to READ OUT a prepared two page document on standoff with China, our responses so far and in near future as well.
Minister emphasized the need for a dialogue and did not mince her words that even if we go to war, we still would have to sit across the table to resolve the issue after the war (if it happens) ends. It was a classic Chanakyan exposition of clearly and categorically defining our national aspirations and resolve.
Ms. Swaraj, as an ordinary Indian you made me proud by your exceedingly well articulated exposition of our current foreign policy. Incidentally, for those who were busy watching YOU TUBE video of China Military parade, it would be pertinent to mention that the Minister spoke extempore for most of the sixty odd minutes, merely glancing at her notes once a while except for last FOUR minutes on China, which was read out from a prepared document. Minister stressed the need to read out our government response to China so that she (read Govt of India) is not misquoted.
Now for the YOU TUBE watchers! It actually amazes me as to how a well-crafted film can project false and unsubstantiated capability. As I have always said and I reiterate, THE MILITARY HARDWARE ACQUIRED AT THE COST OF BILLIONS OF DOLLARS IS NOT MEANT FOR DISPLAY ON REPUBLIC DAY, NATIONAL DAY OR ANY OTHER EVENT/DAY OF SIGNIFICANCE.
Military hardware is meant for only one purpose; to fire in anger, if and when the need arises. I also watched the 87 minute YouTube clip of recent China military parade. Few classic facts that must be mentioned:-
- More than 50% of the hardware displayed was either obsolete or reaching obsolescence. Employability of most of the platforms in actual operational conditions in the terrain under question is at best debatable.
- The displays were carried out with precision.
- PLAAF Air Power has never been tested in actual conditions. A classic example is Chinese humiliation at the hands of Vietnam nearly five decades back. If PLAAF elements were capable, Vietnamese ground forces would have been decimated. I must add that Vietnam had little or no offensive capability from Air at that time. Our pseudo intellectuals, who can barely name PLAAF airfields in TAR continue to cry wolf. No need to stop these intellectuals.
In India if one addresses any problem/issue, one will always and every time arrive at same conclusion; THE PROBLEM MANIFESTS DUE TO EXCESS POPULATION. Likewise when we discuss military affairs, we remain stuck to issues viz creating THEATRE COMMANDS, APPOINTMENT OF CHIEF OF DEFENCE STAFF etc. and invariably the argument (not discussion) ends up with the mention that CINDRELLA OF MILITARY THE INDIAN AIR FORCE PLAYS SPOIL SPORT IN ALL SUCH ISSUES.
Personally I consider myself to be SOLDIER of one of the finest MILITARIES of the world. That I joined IAF and flew magnificent flying machines viz, Hunters, Gnats, MiG-21S and MiG-29s is incidental. I do not belong to school of thought wherein we (most military officers of all ranks and ages) refer to SERVICE CHIEFS as ‘YOUR’ or ‘MINE’ SERVICE CHIEF. A ‘SERVICE CHIEF’ is our SERVICE CHIEF. I mention this merely to highlight our parochial, self-centered and misplaced sense of loyalty to the colour of uniform we wear.
While few points mentioned above merit a look into, but conspicuous by its absence is the non-mention of our flawed and contrived DEFENCE PROCUREMENT POLICY and the need to change the hierarchical set up of the DEFENCE PROCUREMENT BOARD from the existing dispensation. Currently the DEFENCE SECRETARY heads the DPB, the executive body deciding on Military Hardware Procurement. Perhaps I will never get the answer to my question that I have raised since 2004 as to why the SERVICE CHIEF should not head the DPB? Yet another deliberate omission is nonperformance of DRDO and ORDNANCE FACTORIES. It is these macro issues that are the root cause of what ails the Indian Military.
No intellectual heading our self-opinionated THINK TANKS has had the courage to confront the current and past governments on above issues. None, not even one, THINKER has had the guts to question the current government as to why we do not have a FULL TIME, WILLING and a COMPETENT DEFENCE MINISTER.
We will never accomplish and achieve the deserving status of the Indian Military, if we continue the blame game. We must accept MUTUAL INTER-DEPENDENCE’ as our credo and not talk about superiority of one service over the other. Issue of welfare of our soldier has been missed by choice in this write up.
As far as current standoff with China is concerned (YOUTUBE VIDEO NOTWITHSTANDING), if push comes to shove, we must respond with all that we have got. Chinese media uttering blasphemous speeches is equally aware of the drubbing they will get should they try any misadventure. Hopefully Modi will not be wearing yellow glasses and have JAUNDICED VISION (like Nehru) when deciding to allow the entire might of Indian Military on the adversary.
And finally the words of a great Soldier, General Patton;
“One does not win a war by dying for his country; one wins a war by making the other b—–d die for his country”.
If the war is thrust on us we must fight.