Past still haunts defence ministry

Discussion in 'Defence & Strategic Issues' started by AVERAGE INDIAN, Jan 2, 2014.

  1. AVERAGE INDIAN

    AVERAGE INDIAN EXORCIST Senior Member

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    NEW DELHI: India's past experience of cancelling ongoing defence contracts have been far from happy, with ministry of defence having to cope with serious financial repercussions while struggling to maintain systems already in its possession.

    It was in the late 1980s that India got into the business of blacklisting defence firms if they were found engaging middlemen and paying bribes for procuring defence contracts. The Rajiv Gandhi government move to define such a strict policy was prompted by the Bofors scandal.

    To stem the tidal wave of protests against those close to prime minister Rajiv Gandhi allegedly receiving kickbacks in the Bofors deal for purchase of artillery guns, the Congress government blacklisted the Swedish firm in 1987. This ban was lifted only in June 1999, during Kargil conflict when the Bofors guns proved their efficiency but were severely crippled by shortage of spare-parts.

    The ghost of Bofors continues to haunt the Indian Army, which has not been able to buy a modern artillery gun since the blacklisting. Worse, the entire transfer of technology of Bofors lay ignored until a few years ago, and India made no effort to even start making them.

    A few months after the Bofors blacklisting, emerged the HDW scandal, in which the German submarine maker told the Indian ambassador to that country about commissions being paid to middlemen for securing the contract. The company disclosed the kickbacks when India was negotiating with HDW for buying more submarines.

    Already, under a contract signed on December 11, 1981 India had bought four submarines from HDW.

    Once the blacklisting came into being against HDW in 1987, Indian navy was in a bind. The complex nato identification system for spare-parts and its inability to deal directly with a blacklisted firm forced the navy into dealing with dubious firms for years to keep the submarine fleet running.

    As a result, there were recorded instances when the navy paid up to Rs 25,000 for an ordinary nut-and-bolt, which was otherwise available in market for just a few rupees.

    Now as India moves to blacklisting AgustaWestland, the question is how badly will it affect the maintenance of helicopters from the UK firm including the three VVIP helicopters already with the air force, and the anti-submarine Sea King helicopters of navy. The challenges to maintenance of the helicopters could yet again kick in a debate on India's policy of blacklisting defence firms, given that India is among the world's largest importer of military wares.

    As India blacklists foreign military majors, its own choice of weapon platforms is getting narrower, and this ultimately would result in New Delhi coughing up more than the market rate. Its blacklisting is leading to the creation of indirect monopolies, raising the question if there is any better solution. For now, at least defence minister AK Antony seems to be convinced that indigenization is the only magic wand against such scandals.

    Past still haunts defence ministry - The Times of India
     
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  3. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    All major western Russian and Israeli arms exporters pay bribes which are cheerfully accepted by national leaders and military leaders in third world countries of Africa and Asia. India is queering the pitch for some of these arms exporters and they will be looking for ways to screw India as soon as they can - and this will include freebies to Pakistan and technology to China. IMO Indigenization is the only magic wand. But India's defence preparedness will definitely take a hit while we indigenize and the locally made stuff fails before it succeeds.

    The only answer to that, in my view, is to threaten nuclear retaliation against anyone who tries to take advantage of weakness in conventional forces due to indigenization efforts.
     
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  4. TrueSpirit1

    TrueSpirit1 The Nobody Banned

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    Sir, wouldn't that require fundamental & paradigm shift in our nuclear posture as well as unprecedented policy changes ? & which govt. do you reckon capable of formulating & actually acting upon such a policy ?

    Anyway, I believe we are somehow capable of carrrying on the balancing act of fulfilling our defence equipments' needs from outside while keeping the indigenization effort going on. It has been repeated n number of times but still:

    If only, our forces could shed their marked preference for foreign maal & provide necessary support (moral, funding, active & complete participation) to desi projects. At the same time, DRDO needs to set their priorities right & be selective in the work they take up. It would help if they can manage to attract & retain better quality talent which is now available, galore. Project-management expertise is something that DRDO, DPSU's & OFB sorely lack.

    Finally, OFB's & our shipyards are in need for serious, fundamental overhaul in terms of their work-culture, human-capital, quality controls, prod. infrastructure, efficiency & delivery mechanism. But, the union-baazi ensures that no reform ever happens on ground. Being the banana republic we are, our minsters happily capitulate against these unions.

    For reasons (deficiencies) mentioned above, indigenization would continue to play a minor role, in so far as our war-fighting capabilities are concerned. On the strategic front, we are doing marginally well & slated to performed better.
     
  5. bennedose

    bennedose Senior Member Senior Member

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    As far as my thinking goes, I try to focus on what I think needs to be done rather than worrying about the fact that what needs to be done is not being done because some government or other is weak. Let alone weakness, does the government actually understand what needs to be done?

    I don't think they do. We tend to give the government too much credit and imagine that they know the facts but don't have the guts and that someone else with guts will come if we pray and keep our fingers crossed every five years. I say that they are simply ignorant.

    We are stuck in a cycle of indigenous development failure--> loss of operational readiness--> panic purchases at exorbitant cost --> security bought in exchange for dependence on imports for another 20 years --> operational readiness with costly imported equipment

    This cycle can only be broken by actually allowing ourselves to become conventionally weak by refusing imports (as far as possible) and spending money and effort in indigenous development and giving that time to happen. Any threats in the meantime need to be shown nuclear missiles as a response. If that requires policy change so be it. But as long as we pretend that our nukes are for show only and we will "somehow manage" to get conventional tech - we are pretenders, not real power brokers. Everyone knows that. It is both sad and amusing to see foreign arms exporters pretending that they are oh so reliable partners for "Rising India" and we suckers swallowing their sales hype. There is a Renault ad I saw on TV - "Renault the car for the "unstoppable Indian". The Indian feels so happy on hearing that he is now unstoppable that he pays to keep workers in some foreign Renault plant employed. Same thing multiplied by 1000 for arms imports.
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2014
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  6. pkroyal

    pkroyal Regular Member

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    Since Independence we have had 12 major defence scams ( Jeeps to Helicopters we have come a long way)

    an average of one every five years.

    this is one milking cow( defence budget)whose udders have been made raw by all the rough pulling and pushing.

    time we had a long term policy of defence spending.
     
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  7. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Only bonafide thieves are afraid of their past.
     
  8. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    A valid observation.

    Idiots have no clue except what comes to them through bribes!

    Our DRDO should develop scientific temper and discard power, pelf and bureaucratic temper!
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2014

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