Monday, March 3, 2014

EXCLUSIVE- The Scam Saga- What will the new government inherit?

Neelam Mathews
March 3, 2014
Defense Minister A.K Antony, is likely to go down in the history of India's defense as the most ineffective and perhaps most disliked in the military for his apathy to defense requirements resulting in some cases, in tragedy and insecurity of the forces he commands. A recent instance is the submarine battery issue resulting in the death of two young men.
Antony has gone ahead and proven how not to move on papers and in his zest to come out clean, how to freeze the world's largest democracy's defense modernization program. We've become the laughing stock today. For anybody who loses a contract or has a stake, all it calls for a 'complaint,' to put a project on hold. 
Isn't it time for us to have some confidence in our own systems, in our own technical evaluation, in our people rather than declaring a project frozen following a news report abroad? It's time for some guidelines. Time to know when to freeze a project, when to blacklist.
Time to stop thinking hazy. For instance, why did we prevent Finmeccanica from participating in Defexpo rather than just Agusta Westland? Does that mean any project associated with that company will be on hold? Are they? And what about ALL others including US companies that somehow embroiled as suppliers in major projects in the west? Will they be stopped from participating too? As an official said: "All men are brothers!"
And ofcourse, the latest -Rolls Royce. Why are we releasing information to the media first without connecting with OEMs- our partners? There is no clarity. Does it now mean that we will look at alternate engines for the Hawk? And, further punish our military desperate for trainers? In the process, also punish innocent Bae Systems - wonder what the contract says on how much we have to shell out to them under such circumstances! The sage continues, as do questions.
And to top it all, what will the new government inherit? What policy will they follow? One hopes they have a backup plan on how to handle this legacy being handed to them. Else, we'll be in a bigger soup than we are in today.And only those with an agenda will benefit.
The new government will have to show it has the guts to stand on its own feet and make decisions on its own without having to depend on other countries to teach us to think.

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