The question is: why was the heroic work done by 37 Indian Naval ships in Sri Lanka, Aceh, Maldives and India’s eastern coast completely missed out by the global as well as the Indian media?
It is intriguing that the ‘intrusion’ factor went up only when the economic component of the relationship between the two countries gained ascendancy. The change in global pattern of arms market has also contributed to the ‘intrusion’ factor. It may be mentioned that since 2011, India has replaced China as the largest arms importer. As the arms industry has been shifting its principal market focus on India so has been the corresponding increase in the ‘threat from China lobby’.
If Manmohan Singh delivered to his political benefactor and mentor by way of CWG, Coal and 2G; Mr Antony did not lag behind. Never before in the history of India, the three services were targeted in the manner in which it was done during Mr Antony’s stewardship of the Ministry of Defence. Never in independent India had the arms lobby become so brazen and criminal that it dared to manipulate ‘chain of succession’ of service chiefs.
The extent of reach and influence that the ‘arms lobby’ has carved for itself under the present dispensation, can be gauged by its ability to alter the ‘line of succession’ in the armed forces. Under you Mr Antony, the ‘succession plan’ has subverted the three services for posterity. This is your greatest gift to the Indian Armed Forces!
India is now in the throes one of the most critical elections in its post- independence history. The country stands at a critical crossroads today. The nature of the next administration will determine to a great extent whether India can exploit its massive youth bulge and become a breakout nation.
However, should India fail to kickstart its faltering economy and generate some 200 million new jobs – we may well face an internal security crisis of unprecedented proportions. The external environment is equally challenging.
It is intriguing that an unprecedented number of the accidents have taken place involving Indian naval vessels during Antony’s tenure as Defence Minister. It is also intriguing that these accidents have not taken place in the mid-sea but on the shore. India has done a number of exercises with the foreign navies in the recent past, all without any mishap. Recently, the Indian Navy conducted a massive month-long naval exercise ‘TROPEX 2014’. Around 60 ships and submarines, and 75 aircraft took part in this exercise. This exercise in which both the Western and Eastern Fleet of the Indian Navy participated was again without any mishaps.
The Navy is now in “Mayday” status. A weak and dishonest political leadership begets a frail and spineless military leadership. Cover up is the norm. Statements like – Pass your time buddy, I’m here another 3 months, Let the next bugger sort it out is the new standard operating procedure.
Two years back the longitude marking off high risk areas for piracy was moved from 65 degrees to 78 degrees in the Arabian Sea by the International Maritime Organisation (IMO) and the Contact Group on Piracy off the Coast of Somalia (CGPCS) constituted in 2009 following a UN resolution. The new longitude, although away from India’s territorial waters limit of 12 nautical miles, is dangerously close to the Indian coast. Ships in order to be safe from piracy tend to hug the Indian coast from Mangalore to Kanyakumari. The Enrica Lexie incident too was primarily because of the eastward advancement of the high risk longitude.
The present day Armed Forces are run on a day-to-day basis by two Bollywood terms. “Chalta Hai” and “Bhagwan Bharose”. If the Board of Inquiry (BOI) were to carry out an impartial Root Cause Analysis, the blame would go to the very top. Yes, the very top. This is a systems failure.