Indian Defence: Sleaze, Subversion, Sabotage, Supersession and Succession

Admiral DK JoshiBY RSN SINGH

It seems that the Defence Minister of India Arackaparambil Kurien Antony was waiting for the din of the fifth and the biggest phase of elections to arrive so that the government could surreptitiously push its agenda of appointing a Naval Chief for which the powers that be had schemed for many months.

The appointment of Admiral RK Dhowan comes after 50 days of the resignation of Admiral DK Joshi. In any decent country the appointment of the next Naval Chief should have been immediate.

Admiral DK Joshi resigned on moral grounds, taking responsibility for series of accidents and mishaps, involving dozen vessels including two submarines. The government and most quarters in the Navy attributed these incidents to logistics, shipbuilding or age-related problems. Even though, the indications of sabotage deserved serious consideration, it was disdainfully ruled out. It may be reiterated that all the accidents and mishaps had taken place on the shore. Only in February this year, the Navy conducted a massive Exercise TROPEX in which more than 70 vessels had participated, and there was not one accident/mishap in the mid-seas.

Many senior Indian Naval Officers that this author has interacted with are strong on the judgement that the accidents/mishaps are nothing unusual and are now coming to notice because of increasingly intrusive media.

If the accidents were ‘usual’, due to logistics problems or age-related mishaps, then why did the Defence Minister accept the resignation of Admiral Joshi with amazing alacrity? When General VK Singh’s age issue was still with the MoD, there were babus who superciliously bandied that the General would not be allowed to resign and alter, the ‘succession plan’, as he served under the pleasure of the President. Why was Admiral Joshi’s resignation therefore not withheld by Antony till his successor was found?

The resignation of a service chief by taking moral position or responsibility on any issue is huge symbolism. It is these gestures that provide impetus to integrity and moral muscle in the evolution of the organization. It does not in any way reflect any kind of guilt. The quality of inventory of the three services is more the responsibility of the government. To that extent, it was Mr AK Antony who should have resigned.

There are many stories in the air about the resignation of Admiral Joshi. Most of them portray the Defence Minister and his babus in conspiratorial roles. Admiral Joshi’s silence further deepens and fans the conspiracy theories.

The most robust theory was that the accidents and mishaps were used as a tool to compel Admiral to resign and to supersede the next claimant by Admiral RK Dhowan. This theory has now been vindicated. No upright officer would accept the position after so much of sleaze, manipulations and machinations. His appointment alters the entire ‘line of succession’, which vested interests, most significantly the ‘arms lobby’ is now investing in a brazen manner.

Vice-Admiral Shekhar Sinha has been superseded. But for the fifth phase of the ongoing elections, this supersession story would have dominated the front page of newspapers and prime time television. The manipulators in government are advancing preposterous and bizarre logic for his supersession. They maintain that since most accidents took place in the Navy’s Western Command, Admiral Sinha as Flag Officer Commanding of that Command is also responsible. This argument nails the lie of AK Antony that he did his level best to persuade Admiral DK Joshi against resigning. If Antony did not find him guilty, how can he inflict that guilt on Admiral Sinha and supersede him. Moreover, why should this chain stop only at Admiral Sinha?

The moot question is: Will the new Chief Admiral RK Dhowan resign as and when the next accident takes place, or all logistics and age-related problems of the naval inventory has been fixed forever?

[sociallocker]From the sequence of events and the behaviour of principal protagonists the suspicion of subversion and sabotage becomes overwhelmingly strong. To people with Intelligence backgrounds, conversant with the machinations of ‘Western arms lobby’ the sabotage angle behind the accidents was most plausible. If the accidents were not sabotage, the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Indian Navy and other related organizations would have been impelled to meet the crisis on a war footing. Instead in the aftermath of these accidents increasing adversarial relationship was witnessed between the MoD and the Indian Navy. Some people in the MoD looked clearly happy, since the situation was now amenable for pursuance of their agenda.

I had followed General VK Singh’s age row case very intimately, and distinctly remember the vicissitudes. I was particularly intrigued by the machinery the ‘arms lobby’ had assembled to ensure the exit of the General. This lobby included journalists, owners of television channels, some retired army officers, strangely one very senior Air Force Officer and even a former diplomat who had no locus standi on the issue. During that period, I was invited to many television channels. To begin with, one prominent TV channel asked me whether I was ready to say on air that the General should resign. It also assured me that while taking this stand, the channel would vouch for the integrity of the General. I clearly understood the game-plan, being scripted by the government and carried forward by this particular news channel. Nevertheless, I did make myself available, but on the penultimate question on whether the General should resign or not, I said: “it is for the General to decide”. The anchor was aghast! There were many occasions that a particular anchor of one channel while taking anti-General stand during debates, would prod me underneath the table to take on some of the worst detractors of the General. The anti-VK Singh industry also included a former national security advisor, who got himself invited to an interview by a TV channel, and during the course of which, and in an inebriated state, he led the journalist to the question: “Who has been India’s worst Army Chief?” Actually, given his own background, the answer was very simple for the anchor.

Even at that time Antony could have resolved the age issue in respect of the General within hours. It may be mentioned here that the General while filing his nomination for Lok Sabha has mentioned his date of birth as maintained by him. Doesn’t it smite your conscience  Mr Antony? Why is it that the names of recipients of kickbacks on AgustaWestland deal stop at the former Air Chief? Are you not interested in other names Mr Antony? How is it that most of the revelations regarding kickbacks on arms deals when they are at the verge of fruition are sabotage by some of the sleaziest countries in the world who dabble in arms business?

In reality, it did surprise everyone that why did the power behind your elevation as Defence Minister repose so much of faith in you? Going by precedence and proclivities of that power the reasons can be anything but ‘honesty and integrity’.

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!

In the assessment of this author, the chain of accidents involving naval vessels will now come to an end.

(RSN Singh is a former military intelligence officer who later served in the Research & Analysis Wing. The author of two books: Asian Strategic and Military Perspective and Military Factor in Pakistan, he is also a Guest Blogger with Canary Trap. The opinions expressed by the author and those providing comments are theirs alone, and do not reflect the opinions of Canary Trap or any employee thereof)[/sociallocker]

25 thoughts on “Indian Defence: Sleaze, Subversion, Sabotage, Supersession and Succession

  1. Antony is the most sophisticated swindler among politicians. Sonia and the Church spotted his talent and has exploited him to the hilt.


  3. God, what all games this Italian lady has played with India, the country which gave her shelter and the honour of a bahu and then widow. Probably mafiosi is in her DNA.

  4. RSN Singh is right in his assessment that the the phenomenon of spate of accidents will now come to end as Antony and gang have engineered what they were dictated.

  5. It is also learnt that Antony and gang have already worked on script to appoint Lt Gen Dalbir Suhag as the next Army Chief because they are apprehensive that the new government may have a re-look on the entire succession plan. The arms lobby has invested very heavily in bringing their chosen line of succession to this point. Antony and gang are therefore under tremendous pressure from Sonia and the Western Arms Lobby. It may be mentioned that Lt Gen Suhag is not Staff College qualified. He will be the first Army Chief in the civilized world without this professional qualification. Admiral RK Dhowan has also not FOC-in-C of any Command. In India therefore it is not the armed forces which can be blamed for coups but it is the arms lobby and Atnony & Gang who are doing coups one after another in the armed forces with impunity. The opposition parties must launch an agitation to prevent Sonia from further subverting the armed forces. There should be a demand for arrest of Mr Antony, the most dishonest and subverted Defence Minister at India has had.

    1. Sir,
      Regarding Staff College. This is a highly discriminatory element brought in by wrong thinking in the Army. As the name implies, it is a STAFF course to make good “BABU OFFICERS”. However in practice, these officers have cornered all the promotions in the Army and left the so called “REGIMENTAL OFFICERS” who bear all the hardships of the Army with very little promotion prospects. It is time to correct this anomaly and do justice to all the officers who have not done this course for whatever reason.

      1. Kulbir Labana—then by same logic why not do away with promotion exams as well? You and not your jawan became an officer because you passed an exam which he did not, otherwise there are so many jawans who are graduates.These so called regimental officers are not only mentally weak but are physically weak as well as cowards and morale degenerates.

  6. ‘India’ is a strange country

    Where rulers are from ‘Italy’

    and Voters are from ‘Bangladesh’.

    Incredible India

  7. Mr. RSN Singh should have the courage to name the TV channels if he is a patriot. Otherwise he is no different from them. Certainly they cannot send him to the gallows.

  8. Are we boneless, spineless & spunkless that we accept this system & the people on top who are corrupt & looting the country . If we have to progress as nation we should work & think as Indian only, no caste, religion or region should come into our thoughts .

  9. Its the Nehru-Krishna Menon era in play with one difference that none of them had any donors of Dollars, they were above suspicion in matters of personal integrity and loyalty to the Nation.Krishna Mnenon was dubbed as a communist sympathizer and that might have clouded his thinking, he was an egoist who had coterie of Army Generals working against Gen Thimayya and this caused immense damage to the Indian Army and the Country. Antony. his country cousin has beaten him hollow. His loyalty is not to the Nation but to the Lady who has her own axe to grind. The latest incident of appointment of the Naval Chief superseding an equally capable officer stinks of some conspiracy or loyalty of the Def Min and his masters to some powers outside India.

  10. So appointing Admiral Dhowan was a conspiracy theory?? LOL. So let’s get this straight. Somehow the MoD got 14 accidents to take place in the WnC including two major ones invliving the most deaths since the Indo-Pak war. They also appointed Admiral Sinha to the CinC WnC against the recommendations of the then naval Chief Verma, just so he would be responsible for some future mishaps under his command and then made to supercede?? They also orchestrated all these MAJOR accidents so DK Joshi would give in his resignation?? LOL.

    EVEN if this was a fiction story it has SO MANY plotholes, the audience would laugh at it.

  11. There is no man on earth whom money cannot buy. Only the premium varies. Also, Make hay while the sun shines.
    Our country and our people have been on sale to the highest bidder ever since we got our independence , even if it is in bits and pieces.
    An intelligent person and an historian can certainly read between the lines and come to the correct answer.


  12. So you make us wise, who caused these accidents? Must be DK Joshi through his agent Shekhar Sinha? DK Joshi had a vested interest in becoming martyr.

  13. The CBI Director is currently in Italy . He has been sent by Sonia to hush up the kickbacks she received in the Augusta Westland chopper deal. The butler at the behest of sonia tried to save her by implicating Tyagi and now he knows that he will be in trouble when the new govt comes.Antony too is a party to it.

  14. Winds of change are there though BJP is not the ideal alternative but they may not go down to this extent of playing with National security. VK Singh DOB was no issue but everyone connived with the vested interest even judiciary and PMO for reasons well known.With CBI Director in Italy to fix up post election fall out, a non combat branch officer heading navy, nothing happening to AF and one state of the art force multiplier aircraft going down with no reason, army line of succession being drawn by politicians to suit their ends, foreign policy and diplomacy at its lowest ebb …one dreads what would be our fate if we got to defend our Borders with no friends around and no equipment…are we in a better shape than 1962?….NO Madam/Sir ….No.. with so many likes of Krishna Menon/Maliks around. I wonder how do we defend each and everytime our PM being/Defence minister being honest with so many scams all over….we all know UPA has taken the Aam Aadmi for a ride…It is time UPA and likes of Mulayam/Mayawati/Krunanidhi/Jaya/ Azam Khans are shown the door.

  15. It is not in the interest of nation to meddle with the security of nation with malafide intentions. Are such type of politicians ever concerned with the country. Soldiers lay their lives to sort-out the mess created by them. Do they have soul somewhere?

  16. Allegations made by Col RSN Singh tantamount to criminal conspiracy by the the state and non-state actors. Why doesn’t he move the court? Perhaps because his conspiracy theory is entirely based on conjectures and not facts that can be proved in the court. He hasn’t even mentioned the names TV Channels / their anchors allegedly involved in this conspiracy. Why? For reasons known best to him I guess. The writer raises several serious issues but doesn’t address remedial measures. Am in no way saying that the allegations are false. All am saying is that the Colonel needs to hone his investigative skills which at the moment are much below par.

    1. I guess u need to rephrase your words. And you expect a colonel to move to court!!!….Be a part of the forces to know why he doesn’t, and just do not pass on loose remarks.

  17. When small men begin to cast long shadows the society and country is in trouble. That is primarily the problem with Sonia who is 5th class pass, Manmohan who is highly overrated economist, and Antony whose intellect is mortgaged to church and dynasty. Obviously bright and upright service chiefs do not suit them.

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