Sunday, April 1, 2012

Out of the Closet?

Some of us speculated about this for long - that the Indian armed forces are defending us with low degree of preparedness.
In a perverse way, I am glad that the leaks of General VK Singh's letter to the Prime Minister has brought these issues "out of the closet", out into the public domain.
It is a well known fact that for ages now India's foreign policy and consequently defence strategy has been caught in NAMesque time warp. While the collapse of India's time-tested backstop, USSR, pushed India unwillingly into the arms of the United States, threat perceptions especially relating to build-up of forces on the Indo-Tibetan border remained practically unassessed.
That is still true today.
Part of problem lies in the fact that the rigid politician and the impractical babu in the Ministry of Defence decides what is a threat and what is not. Sadly, the view of the soldier on what is a threat and what isn't is rarely recognised by the political establishment. Isn't the soldier on the front well aware of what is required? How many of us feel the pain that the soldier goes through as he heads towards the icy frontier? I have seen this first hand at Nubra Valley, Ladakh as soldiers headed towards Siachen and stopped to make that one last call home before the mobile signal ran out.
These brave men are driven by their passion and love for the nation. Do we respect that emotion? Do we equip them appropriately to defend us?
General Singh's anguish is right! Will the babus and the politicians really understand now that the issue is out of the closet?
Perhaps public pressure may force them to react.
But then we need to draw the line. As our war hero, General JFR Jacob said yesterday, sensitive matters like these cannot and should be discussed in public for long and beyond a fine line, as it could threaten security. The press should be restrained on reporting these matters.
As long as that restraint is maintained by the media, I would be happy that issues on Indian defence remain out of the closet.

1 comment:

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