Nehruvian pacifism ruined our defence manufacturing

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by WMD, May 16, 2013.

  1. WMD

    WMD Regular Member

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    Nehruvian pacifism ruined our defence manufacturing

    Narendra Modi has timely gunned for self-sufficiency in defence production. His statement comes as a morale-lifter. It is a pity that even after 65 years of independence, the Indian armed forces are heavily dependent on imported weapons and equipments. Paradoxically, we can design intercontinental ballistic missile like Agni-V; launch more than 60 satellites, including the Chandrayan, into the space; but we still need to import aircraft & helicopters, artillery guns and even army trucks. India’s defence import Bill, aided by scandalous devalourisation of the rupee under Manmohanomics, has bloated in the last few years.

    Expenditure on import of weapons/equipments
    Serial No. Year Amount(in crore rupees)
    1. 2009-10 13411.91
    2. 2010-11 15443.01
    3. 2011-12 24139.83
    4. 2012-13(upto Feb 2013) 25126.1

    (Source: Defence Minister’s reply in Lok Sabha on “Indigenous Defence Production’, March 11, 2013)

    Drain on India’s foreign exchange is not the only downside of defence imports. It also retards the capacity for technological value addition. This is because India has a tendency to buy off-the-shelf. We might actually be buying yesterday’s weapons to fight tomorrow’s wars.

    Defence scams under the UPA-I

    Defence deals are notorious for the bribery and kickbacks involved. Within a span of the last one year procurement deals of 600 all-terrain trucks from Tatra, 12 VVIP helicopter from AgustaWestland and 197 Advanced Light Helicopters from Eurocopter came under cloud. The cases of VVIP helicopters and Tatra trucks deals are now being investigated by the CBI. The Eurocopter deal has been cancelled.

    In April, 2012 the Ministry of Defence blacklisted six companies including four foreign ones for a period of ten years. The CBI has charge sheeted Sudipta Ghosh, ex-Director General of Ordnance for accepting illegal gratification from those companies.

    But the cancellation of defence deals leaves us equally vulnerable. They dent our defence preparedness. For instance, the blacklisting of M/s Israeli Military Industries has hit the completion schedule of Nalanda Ordnance Factory. The scheduled retirement of Russian-made Mi-series helicopters used for VVIPs is now in limbo after the AgustaWestland episode. The Government has not dared to scrap the deal. Our fleet of 15 submarines mostly of German origin also needs to be replenished. It took us a long time to zero in on the French-built Scorpene. The negotiation consumed nine long years. But the project is facing time and cost overruns. The first of the six Scorpene submarines would now be delivered after July, 2015 instead of envisaged December, 2012.

    Ordnance factories produced civilian goods

    For almost two centuries, the British had kept India free from invasions. It was an exceptional record when viewed against one thousand years that preceded British rule. Some 2.5 million Indian soldiers participated in the World War II on the Allied side. All ammunition needed for them was produced in Indian ordnance factories. All the 16 ordnance factories in British India fell on the Indian side after partition. Not a single one went to Pakistan.

    But the pacifist policies of Nehru negatively impacted India’s indigenous defence production. The ordnance factories took to production of civilian goods. On May 10, 1953 Deputy Defence Minister Satish Chandra informed the Rajya Sabha on the varieties of civilian goods manufactured in ordnance factories. These included rods and tubes, sporting guns and ammunition, leather goods, textile items, steel and cast iron castings, Acetone, steel billets and bars, forgings and die castings etc.

    By 1956, railway wagons and carriages were also being produced by the gun factories. Around 3000 ordnance workers were engaged in this task. Other Ministers did not lag behind in placing orders. The value of non-military goods produced in ordnance factories was Rs 80 lakhs in 1952-53, Rs 189 lakhs in 1953-54, Rs 393 lakhs in 1954-55 and Rs 280 lakhs in 1955-56.

    The India-China war of 1962 and the India-Pakistan war of 1965 shook and woke us up.

    INSAS rifles: Mass producing a folly?

    Today, there are 41 ordnance factories in India placed under an Ordnance Factory Board. But it would be a revelation that their most manufactured weapon is the one junked by the army. The rifle factories at Ichapur, Kanpur and Tiruchirapalli together churned out 1,00,000 units of 5.56 mm bore INSAS (Indian Small Arms System) rifles annually. The 5.56 mm INSAS rifles developed by the DRDO were first inducted in the army in 1994-95. But the army was dissatisfied with their performance from the beginning. Yet, their production continued at top gear despite the army wanting to shelve them. The army, in the process, was saddled with half a million rifles and carbine. The Ministry of Defence has now decided to phase them out within five years.

    Even the Border Security Force (BSF) did not want them. A BSF jawan once told me how insecure he felt defending the border at Punjab with 5.56 mm bore INSAS rifle instead of 7.62 mm bore SLR as previously. With a hit from INSAS 5.56 mm, an infiltrator can safely escape with an injury, whereas a shot from 7.62 mm SLR could kill him instantaneously. But it is a pity that ordnance factories were producing merely 6,000 units of 7.62 mm SLR as against one lakh units of 5.56 mm INSAS.

    The Rs 200-crore Beretta goof-up

    The BSF also wanted to dump the 5.56 mm INSAS rifles. The Home Ministry decided to give them Italy-made Beretta sub-machine guns. A deal for 30,000 guns was struck for Rs 200 crore. But after the first consignment of 17,000 guns arrived in September, 2011, there were complaints about the condition and performance of those weapons. Test fires often went awry. Ultimately, Beretta agreed to replace the faulty weapons.

    (To be concluded)
     
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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Nehru's pacifism has contributed to India's quest to find its spine and repeated stumbling and failing to find it!
     
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  4. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Self-sufficiency in defense production should have been achieved in the 80s. It is sad we are not there yet.
     
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  5. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    DRDO is not for any inventions or self sufficiency.

    It is for power, privileges, perks and pelf and shoring up for the pension period of life.

    So, why should anyone be surprised that India has no defence industry?

    High in ideals, low in implementation.

    Check the amount of money poured in after DRDO was established and compare it with the results they have produced!

    You will have the answer.

    And also check how they have fitted various foreign components to produce an equipment and have passed it off as their own original!
     
    Last edited: May 16, 2013
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  6. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    Develop Cutting Edge Defense Industries old article i like it hope it helps

    To develop cutting edge defense industries, New Delhi must eschew the inherent divisive tendencies. Instead of consolidating Aero India 2009 as the foremost Asian aerospace show, we reduced its functional importance by taking away two aspects integral to it. Ministry of Civil Aviationheld a separate international civil air power show at Hyderabad and Bangalore ended up with the first international space exhibition that practically had no visitors. The uncalled for turf war between different ministries created unwanted segmentation and compartmentalization between space, civil and military air power assets that are technically inter-linked. Besides diluting the holistic structure of Aero India, conduct of three different exhibitions trebled the cost to the Indian taxpayer and the foreign vendor!
    To be a dominant Asian power, India requires to consolidate the genius of the private sector with the existing national assets to build state-of -the- art defense industries. Unity of purpose will enable New Delhi to defend its expanding economic interests in a globalized environment and permit it to speak from a position of strength in the existing hostile neighborhood.

    However, to achieve the twin goals of becoming an economic powerhouse and the ability to militarily defend its democratic values, essential we exploit the favorable international environment for deep military technology transfers. This alone can modernize the defense industries. Therefore cutting edge thinking at the political level is essential too.

    With increasing fundamentalist upsurge, majority of the Islamic countries continue to regress and therefore remain technology-deficit. China at best is a ‘reverse- engineering’ genius. None of these countries, in any case, will be eager to improve India’s military might! Technology transfer from Russia is possible but only to a point. Of course, most of the technology available is archaic.

    The West has the latest technologies and weapon platforms that India needs to equip its Armed Forces to face the combined threat posed by authoritarian regimes on its land borders. While communist China is denied acquisition of advanced sensitive military technologies by the Western alliance, there exists a unique opening for New Delhi to access these. This can help create a formidable defense industrial hub in Asia, if the opportunity is seized.

    On two counts, the threat perception dictates that India rapidly modernize its Armed Forces as well as its internal security apparatus. First, public confirmation by Islamabad that China-Pakistan axis threatens India jointly dictates swift modernization of the armed forces. Second, the inevitable Talibanization of Pakistan and Bangladesh creeping towards our borders, threatens to destroy the multi-cultural social fabric of India. It is imperative that the threat from Taliban is contained and destroyed within Pakistan. Therefore to neutralize these two threats, military requires extraordinary offensive capabilities, which are available with the West alone.

    To develop India into a major low-cost high-end R&D base and defense industries hub in Asia, New Delhi should generate intelligent policy shifts to create a business friendly environment that attracts frontier technologies. It was pompous of the Defence Minister in Aero India 2005 to announce that “The defense sector has been opened up for private investment and it is not that we are dying for investment. It is for the interested companies to make necessary investment.” Such diplomatic gaffe out of lack of confidence results in dampening confidence and enthusiasm of the foreign investor.
    Instead of re-inventing the wheel, we need to leapfrog the technological gap by accepting deep transfers of technology against the offset clause. This in turn will subsequently ensure that we have world-class equipment to export.

    To attract FDI, the foreign investors stake should be raised from 26 percent to 49 percent. To instill confidence in the foreign entrepreneur, increase his share to 51 percent where cutting edge technology is brought in.

    Primarily FDI is influenced by stable and favorable investment climate, economic freedom and a fair market access. Therefore for New Delhi to expect that the foreign investor will invest his resources where he exercises no significant control, cannot access other markets within the country or for exports, and is restrained by strict capacity controls instead of scales of economy is unrealistic. Indian bureaucratese and government over regulations are perceived to pose the biggest risk to his investment. This perception needs to be corrected through intensive dialogue.

    The Defense Minister should announce slew of measures to deregulate the defense industry sector during Aero India 2009. Incorporate the genius of the private sector to compete with the sluggish public sector, increase the legitimate stakes of the foreign investor in the economic pie as an incentive, and announce India’s readiness to join the ‘global factory’ concept with West. Technologically advanced and vibrant defense industry is critical for India’s security and its global aspirations. Therefore, it is time MoD fine-tunes its policies by bringing them at par with the existing international business norms, instead of living in a mental ghetto.

    Develop Cutting Edge Defense Industries
     
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  7. WMD

    WMD Regular Member

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    (continued.........)

    We will win no wars with old weapons

    Stephen P Cohen and Sunil Dasgupta, in their book ‘Arming without Aiming: India’s Military Modernization’ (2010) have focused on the dilemmas of India’s militarisation. The core problem is that India is culturally and socially not a militarised state. While the armed forces are praised and are popular, they are not the fulcrum of the nation. India’s diplomatic and military policies are marked by restraint rather than aggression. They are reflective of Indian mind.

    Military mindset: Nehru versus Subhas

    Nehru might be blamed in isolation for ruining India’s defence production. But he was conditioned by the matrix of historical-cultural-economic forces. Should a newly independent nation, not self-sufficient in food production, invest in weapons? Without building up heavy industries (problem addressed in the Second Five Year plan) self-sufficiency in defence production was a chimera. India had achieved its independence by civilian methods – not warfare or Revolution. The armed forces had played no role in shaping of India’s republican polity. Those soldiers who had joined Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s Azad Hind Faujj were discredited as traitors. On this issue Nehru and India’s iron man Sardar Patel were one. These were the challenges of stepping up indigenous defence production.

    It is purely conjectural what would have happened if Netaji Subhas Bose had been triumphant in his mission. Perhaps he, like George Washington, would have commanded the nation. One can imagine the India of Subhas Bose would have been mentally tougher than India of Nehru. India could have transformed itself into a robust state despite its perennial mindset. Bose himself had been a Khadi clad Congressman before he became the Supreme Commander of Azad Hind Fauj.

    The issue of India becoming self-reliant in defence matters was not lost on Subhas Bose. NG Ganpuley in his book Netaji in Germany: A Little Known Chapter tells how Netaji had met President of Skoda (originally a Czech arms manufacturing company) in Prague. He had promised to help Indians set up arms manufacturing facilities and train its staff when India became independent.

    Still a lightweight in air


    Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, formed by merger to two aviation companies in 1964, is running in its 50th year. The original company Hindustan Aircraft Limited was set up in Mysore State in 1940. But its long product line is about light aircraft and light helicopters. India cannot produce Advanced Light Helicopters, Medium Lift Helicopters let alone heavy lift helicopters like Chinuk. Thus for purchasing military aircraft and helicopters we need to be dependent on likes of AgustaWestland, Boeing, Eurocopter etc.

    The Tatra Trucks case

    Building trucks is no rocket science. But we need to import trucks even while excelling in rocket science. Close to 8000 Tatra Trucks are being used by the Indian Army in various modifications. The number is less than five per cent of authorised motorised vehicles used by the Army. Bharat Earth Movers Limited (established 1964) now known by acronym BEML is the authorised importer of those trucks. Since 1997, these trucks have not been purchased directly from the company but through a vendor Tatra Siphox UK. For the last 24 years, it has not been able to achieve full indigenisation of Tatra as originally envisaged. The BEML had converted the currency of payment from dollars to euros causing a loss of Rs 4 crores and did not levy Liquidated Damages charges resulting in loss of another Rs 9.27 crores. The BEML chief VRS Natarjan was suspended, and later retired. Ravi Rishi, CEO of Tatra Siphox UK is behind the bars. The CBI claims under Natarajan the BEML had partially surrendered indigenisation rights.

    Scientists leaving DRDO

    The DRDO (Defence Research Defence Organisation) is the backbone of India’s R&D in military matters. The DRDO has developed missiles, aeronautical systems, radars, sonars, torpedoes, combat vehicles, bridges etc. This organisation is of critical importance for indigenisation of defence manufacturing. But for the last few years, it has been in news for scientists quitting it. In the last five years, 443 scientists at various levels have resigned from the organisation. This information came from Defence Minister AK Antony to the Rajya Sabha on March 20, 2013 in response to a question put by BJP’s Piyush Goyal.
    Scientists resigned from DRDO
    [table="width: 500, class: grid, align: center"]
    [tr]
    [td]Post[/td]
    [td]Scientist ‘B’[/td]
    [td]Scientist ‘C’[/td]
    [td]Scientist ‘D’[/td]
    [td]Scientist ‘E’[/td]
    [td]Scientist ‘F’[/td]
    [td]TOTAL[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]2008[/td]
    [td]83[/td]
    [td]64[/td]
    [td]9[/td]
    [td]5[/td]
    [td]1[/td]
    [td]162[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]2009[/td]
    [td]41[/td]
    [td]18[/td]
    [td]2[/td]
    [td]1[/td]
    [td]3[/td]
    [td]65[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]2010[/td]
    [td]38[/td]
    [td]18[/td]
    [td]2[/td]
    [td]3[/td]
    [td]2[/td]
    [td]63[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]2011[/td]
    [td]58[/td]
    [td]21[/td]
    [td]5[/td]
    [td]1[/td]
    [td]1[/td]
    [td]86[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]2012[/td]
    [td]46[/td]
    [td]16[/td]
    [td]4[/td]
    [td]1[/td]
    [td]-[/td]
    [td]67[/td]
    [/tr]
    [tr]
    [td]Total[/td]
    [td]266[/td]
    [td]137[/td]
    [td]22[/td]
    [td]11[/td]
    [td]7[/td]
    [td]443[/td]
    [/tr]
    [/table]



    Though the resigned scientists have indicated personal / domestic grounds for leaving DRDO, it is assumed they have they have secured lucrative opportunities elsewhere. The Government has now declared a slew of incentives to retain the scientists.

    A middleman with Congress background

    The challenges of indigenous production are no less than importing weapons and equipments. Though we perceivably have an honest Defence Minister, the UPA Government seems to have become a playground for middlemen. The most pronounced case is that of Abhishek Verma, who is now lodged in Tihar jail along with his Romanian wife Anca Neascu. He is charged with trying to bribe a Defence Ministry official on behalf of American small gun manufacturer Sig Sauer. Interestingly Abhishek Verma, a proclaimed con man, is the son of late Hindi poet Shrikant Verma. Shrikant Verma (1933-1986) was national spokesperson of the Congress (I) and Rajya Sabha member on Congress ticket. Abhishek’s mother Veena Verma was also a Rajya Sabha member from the Congress. His political connections helped him until he overreached.

    A leader with a vision

    Much depends upon who leads India. Wars are won and lost in the mind. The same applies to preparation for war. I had concluded an earlier article by saying we need a strong political leader like Narendra Modi to ensure India’s indigenous defence production base expanded. I am not surprised that he is thinking along the right lines.

    http://www.niticentral.com/2013/05/17/we-will-win-no-wars-with-old-weapons-78815.html
     
    Last edited: May 17, 2013
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