An IDC Analysis


New Delhi, 29 June 2002

Our recent articles on President to be Dr APJ Kalam Azad have elicited a great deal of feedback and debate. In spite of his apparent lack of political experience to be the President, most feedback has expressed great faith in his leadership qualities, patriotism and passion for making India one of the great nations of the world. The President of India is a rubber stamp leader but he can be a guiding example to the body politic and the citizens at large to strive to make India great. In the five years that he enjoys at Rashtrapati Bhavan, he can be instrumental to instill confidence, cooperation and inspire greater efforts.

Enlightened Leadership is the key to success in today's information and management age and India needs it badly. Leadership includes knowledge of modern management techniques. It is a sad fact that Indian Leaders are intelligent (a European survey had indicated that the British are the least intelligent), but our geriatric leaders and criminal politicians may not have it in them, and it is not their fault. We elected them!

When Rajiv died India's Congress dug up Narasimha Rao, later I K Gujral and Deve Gowda came to power as compromises not Leaders. Vajpayee may have passed his day but he is a father figure and the NDA needs him. So it is with Sonia Gandhi, though she has shown glimpses of Leadership.

Mohan Guruswamy has been Adviser to the Finance Minister and is a Harvard graduate. He obviously has inside knowledge and has researched the issues he writes about. However, some of our readers literally ordered us to remove Mohan's article from our site. Others gave us inputs on Kalam's non-political life and some showered bouquets on us for the views expressed, and still others analysed what he achieved as the head of DRDO.

However IDC must report we Asians thanks to Osama bin Laden's fanatic and sadistic designs and Leadership have been shot in the foot. All that he has done for Al Queda needed LEADERSHIP and management and secrecy and he achieved it.

Talking of leadership reminds us of a story told about late Rear Admiral St John Cameron, the finest Commanding Officer that INS MYSORE had. The Indian Navy had seen a rise in STD cases on ships returning from foreign cruises. So when the ship with 1400 officers and sailors sailed for East Africa he gave a five minute speech from a stand on the quarterdeck. “You are the finest ship's company I have had the honour to command and let us all enjoy the foreign cruise and come back with honour. I know none of you will do anything wrong, but my advice is whenever you go ashore carry your identity card and also pick up a condom kept all over the ship and carry it. I know both will not be required, but you never know when you may have to show one and use the other. Please do listen to your Captain.” INS MYSORE set the record and did not have a single case of VD. That was a display of blunt Leadership which many Anglo Indians gave directly and on the playing field and today the Indian Navy is regarded well for the traditions they left behind.

What also is interests us in various inputs from viewers from all over including Pakistan, are comments on the LCA, Arjun MBT, Missile and ATV projects of DRDO, which we have analysed in the past along with the other projects from time to time. We have stated how much was achieved in the sonar and missile and nuclear field and Kalam gets congratulated for these achievements. One of our viewers has sent us a piece which explains why INDIA LACKS LEADERSHIP and since we have said so time and again we reiterate that even in Defence India lacks Leadership.

Despite being one of the most intelligent races in the world we are lagging behind and nothing from our Electricity Policy for power, which is a prerequisite for progress or our education policy or economic thinking has any Leadership and what worries IDC is that we have three fine Chiefs of the three Services but no CHIEF in charge. No wonder the Defence Secretary acts as the CDS or CHIEF to coordinate matters, a task that he is ill qualified to do.

Mr Yogendra Narian is handing over to Mr Subhir Datta who was Additional Secretary and then Secretary Defence Production, so at least he brings continuity. But even the capable Yogendra Narian could not complete the reorganisation of the MOD, which he set out to do. All he will be remembered for is his delegation of powers.

Even abroad there is no single DEFENCE ADVISER in our Missions but separate Army, Navy and Air Force Attaches and each one operates independently. Please take our word for this -- most times one does not know what the other is doing and seniorities also play up. The Ambassadors love this as they can play one against the other. It all starts in New Delhi where each Chief pretends he cooperates but he has to guard his own turf. The blame lies in lack of Leadership. We post below an interesting input.

IDC commends all thinking people who care for India's security to worry about this aspect in the Armed Forces and correct it or else in war we will be in trouble and War is a  possibility after the monsoons. In Pakistan we may not like Musharraf but at least he has shown LEADERSHIP.

Feedback Input From A Viewer

Subject: kalam ka kamala

Comments: Thanks a lot IDC.

Thanks a lot Mr. Guru Swamy for your clarification and explanation..

I support most of your views. But it is the discussion about Kalam. But let me express my views about few of your comments.

Your comment: He is not a nuclear scientist, as his presidential rival believes. He is not even a scientist as is commonly believed. He is an engineer turned administrator, which is as different as apples and oranges are.

Good administrators, that's what our country really needs. Till now after independence we never had good administrators. All the leaders so far, they tried hard to be in power. Leaders with absolute majority in parliament tried to be in power for the next term, and the leaders without majority for their current terms. They never cared about the country. That's where our country lost to China.

  • China has corruption. India has corruption..

  • China has large population. India also has large population.

  • China is a big country with plenty of resources. So is India.

Then why is our country is not treated as a power like CHINA.

It is just because we lack good leaders. Even Musharraff is a good leader from Pakistanis’ perspective. He is an intelligent guy, who doesn't want to lose battle with India and not conceding anything to India.

That’s where we lost to China and Pakistan. I am sure that Vajpayeeji is a great leader. But most of his office time he will be spending reconciling his NDA partners and trying to stay in power.

According to you, the world is full of self-made men and women. In fact we are all self-made people for we are what we made of our choices, options and opportunities, and are as much a consequence of our temperaments, habits, attitudes and discipline.

That's true.

And what about Presidents? You only said that the quality of presidents is diminishing. That's where we need good administrators. That's where Mr. Kalam scores points. He doesn't have degrees like Mr. Narayanan. But he also came up in his life from a poor background. May be seniority rule brought him up to heights. But with out talent no one can stay in such high and important position for such a long time.

Yes he is not a missile scientist, but he is the person who pooled all the young guns and directed them in the correct direction.

Even in western countries who have no funds crunch, they are also lagging behind their schedules in their efforts to build new weapon systems. Best examples are Europe's EUROFIGHTER and EUROCOPTER and America's National Missile Defence System and F-18 project. Those projects are very well funded and a large number of scientists are working on them, still they are behind schedule.

Hence is it really not fair to say that Kalam's missile program and DRDO's other programs are lagging behind. Their LCA is ‘Late Combat Aircraft’. Let me tell you one thing. Building any advanced fighter in the world takes a minimum of 15 years. It doesn’t mean that, by the time it comes out it is lagging 15 years behind in technology. While designing they design to cover this lag. So same with LCA. The flow of cash into this project is also not constant. So how can you expect the project to be completed on time.

If we take the missile program, designing a missile (Agni 1) in 8 months for a country like us is really a great thing. We got Prithvi's, and Agni's from DRDO. Rest of the things are going to make it in another two or three years, though behind schedule. See sir, we don't have proper infrastructure and Indigenous research field is neglected by our leaders in the first three decades.
For every thing we have bureaucracy problems. Take the case of AJT. Still we are not able to short list the right kind of plane just because of our great leaders. Every consortium catches one leader and put the pressure on our government. Meanwhile our government changes and again the new government takes more time to decide. That's what’s happening in buying weapon systems. They are already built and we are facing problems in selecting them. So lets think about building a system on our own. First they have to get proper funding, they should have infrastructure, so it will take time. For sure Kalam is not responsible for ATV's delay. Government gave it the status "1" only two years back. It means that proper funding is available only from two years.

So if we take your main complaint that "after all these years there is still not very much claw to the paw!"

My reasons are:

  • In its means DRDO performed very well in a lot of projects. (eg: PRITHVI and AGNI)

  • There are some delays in few projects because of the decision-making delays by the government or lack of funds. Lack of funds means putting that project in second or third grade of importance.

  • Lack of proper infrastructure.

  • Indian parents are not ready to make their children defence scientists as those positions are not lucrative. 

  • Most of the talented Indians are going abroad.

Mr. Kalam has joined or being promoted in the department in the rank of scientist.. so obviously he will be called a scientist and he has done a very great job. He encouraged youngsters to become scientists. Even after his retirement he joined as a professor and trying to encourage students to come in this way.

In present conditions, I think he is the best person who can handle the post very well.. If his few poems are published in RSS weekly doesn't mean that he is a RSS guy. ( RSS guy means that guy is a bad person.. RSS is a great organization.. but that's a different topic.)

We can see the efforts of Mr. Kalam in ‘whatever claw we got in our paw’.

Name: Deepak Khaderabad

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