INDIA DEFENCE CONSULTANTS

WHAT'S HOT? 末 ANALYSIS OF RECENT HAPPENINGS

QUO VADIS INDIAN NAVY?

An IDC Analysis

 

New Delhi, 19 July 2006  

The fine Indian Navy of today is getting a bad name because of a few bad eggs, who did grave wrong by filching data from the War Room computers and passing it on to their retired colleagues. The Navy is the guardian of our vast coastline and the seas around us and we need to shore up the leaking ship and it can be done easily.

It is well known that there were those with ambitions in the Navy who leaked selective inside information and this was not a new phenomenon. It had happened before in the battle for the top job between Admirals Ramdas and Jain, but in those days there were no mobile phones or pen drives and other such technology to discover the past 末 yet today since the entire Navy is sought to be tarnished by the War Room leak case, some damage control is called for.

The media is saying it more juicily than is warranted and the CBI instead of getting on with their job are indulging in press conferences and leaks to the media. In every case whether it was HDW, Bofors, Airbus or oil deals, the investigating agency always knows the truth about the moneys that flow, but how seriously they try to go for the culprits had always been a political decision 末 so it seems was the case in this War Room leak and its linking to the Scorpene deal 末 where two big arms agents seem to be going for each other. OUTLOOK magazine in some form got the scent of it to start a ruckus. The Navy top brass faulted in the beginning and the whole Navy is suffering a low now.

The Navy now almost admits it faulted by not courtmarshalling the officers, like the Army did in the Tehelka case (in camera), but let the culprits go home peacefully under article 311 of our Constitution 末 one of them is contesting that too 末 and he may win in Court if what one hears and reads is correct.

We hope the draconian Article 311 will be redefined and refined in its usage and applicability by lawyers and constitutional experts. A full book jointly written by a former Judge Advocate of the Army and a former naval officer titled Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat 末 Sacked or Sunk, devoted to this aspect does not appear to have been studied for its ramifications. Defence Minister George Fernandes used Art 311 cleverly to sack Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat.

The navy case looks like it was a cover up and the involvement of two retired officers was never followed up as they were the front of an arms dealer and one had relations in high position. The CBI now claim that 7000 pages of data from the War Room computers was leaked 末 for a big ship that is a big leak and needs big damage control!

The Indian Navy was built post Independence with the sweat and toil of many dedicated officers but the Navy old timers never forgot what Admiral Cunningham had said and now the Chinese Navy believes in that too 末 的t takes three years to build a ship and 100 to build a Navy. The officers who built Independent India痴 Navy 末 the Pereiras Andersons, Fanderlindens, Hawses and Nanavatis, just to name a few 末 who all migrated to Australia and UK after retirement 末 indulged in one vital activity and that was to constantly train their juniors and lead by example. They allowed their junior officers to run the ships from the bridge even when the Admiral was on board, and that is what the later Admirals who grew up had imbibed 末 the inane sea knowledge to run ships with a sixth sense, just like a good driver of a car or truck.

Today sea time is an eyewash just to collect a sea report, so Executive officers do one year at sea in command or as second in command and technical officers clock even less sea time. There is a shortage of junior officers. The old generation taught the juniors what man management was all about, by being firm and tough yet fair to their men in ships and establishments and Supply Officers advised them on law and punishment and how to deal with the bureaucrats and auditors. For the sake of a few who wanted career progression the Indian Navy removed a branch and there are no more Supply Officers and one wonders who manages that function now?

Yet even today one can boast and say the Indian Navy sailor is a cut above any other Navy痴 sailor and our technical branch Artificers have few to match them in the world. Indian submariners are an amazing lot but accent on aviation never allowed them to blossom as they should have. The Aviation branch has had two Chiefs and more Admirals than the Submarine branch, who steered their branch more for the aviation cadre, as we emotional Indians are wont to and we should not be surprised.

The Chinese leadership had decided as an edict that in their Navy, only submarine officers will be Chiefs for some time. They told us, 層e will look to aviation when we need to enter the Indian Ocean after 2015, but our submarine fleet will ensure Taiwan never gets help form the US aircraft carriers. In fact they ask why the Indian Navy got an aircraft carrier in 1959, 層hen you needed submarines, which Pakistan got before the Indian Navy. There are lessons in this even today as money is limited.

India and its Navy today must not forget these illustrious old timers who ran taut ships and played rough games including hockey and beat the Pakistanis in matches at the Jet exercises in Trincomalee and sipped the spirit with gusto. They just need to emulate that spirit, reduce the spit and polish, beauty parades and VIP days at sea and get on with training. The war room leak will play itself out but India痴 seaward defence must not suffer because of a few.

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