Military & Aerospace

Naval Chief proving too tough on the Babus?
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Issue Net Edition | Date : 27 Feb , 2014

Admiral DK Joshi

The resignation of the Chief Of The Naval Staff comes at a time when India has just concluded the Naval exercise Millan in the Bay of Bengal recently on Feb 10 this year, showcasing to the international community our world class Navy.

Admiral Joshi resigned on Wednesday taking full moral responsibility of the accidents that have rocked the organization in past six months, the latest being an accident on INS Sinduratna in which two Naval officer went missing and seven sailors seriously injured which was on the Sea trials in the Arabian sea on Wednesday the Feb 26 after re-fitment at Mazgaon Dock Limited.

Sources from the Navy disclosed that there was a buzz for over ten day that something was brewing up against the Naval Chief as he was proving too tough for the Babus of the MoD to handle.

It just happened that this tragic accident occurred and the Chief rendered his resignation, no wonder it was promptly accepted. A morally upright officer has herby set very high standards for the existing and the future military leadership.

It has emerged that the Naval Chief had been pressing for appropriate budgetary allocation necessary to undertake the maintenance of the ageing fleet…

As soon as the news broke of the Naval Chief’s resignation, senior officials were contacted in the MoD who revealed that the Defence Minister Mr AK Anthony had tried to peruse the Admiral to withdraw his resignation but failed to convince Admiral Joshi.

The events dominating the headlines in past three years related to the MoD vs  Military raises a serious doubt if the things are all in order or there is far more then what meets the eye.

While the former Defence Secretary was busy concocting false story in collaboration with leading national English daily on an imagined military coup, the issue of modernization and capacity building has taken a back seat on the agenda.

The weak political leadership it appears has been over shadowed by the babus of the MoD as it appears.

It has emerged that the Naval Chief had been pressing for appropriate budgetary allocation necessary to undertake the maintenance of the ageing fleet but the MoD proved a major stumbling block to the legitimate demand.

On the contrary pressure was being built on the service for poor safety and maintenance standards.

It has come to light that it was at the behest of Secretary Defence Production that the re-fitment of INS Sinduratna was being under taken at Mazgaon Docks Limited or otherwise it would have sailed to Russia for the same.

It would be interesting to see if the Govt of India orders a probe to find out the reasons why this submarine in question not sent to Russia for re-fitment which should have been the normal course and what was the role of the Defence Ministry officials of the MoD in the whole turn of events despite requests by the Navy.

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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Danvir Singh

Associate Editor, Indian Defence Review, former Commanding Officer, 9 Sikh LI and author of  book "Kashmir's Death Trap: Tales of Perfidy and Valour".

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9 thoughts on “Naval Chief proving too tough on the Babus?

  1. Sad for the country. political masters have changed but not the BABUS. babus can play around with statistics n logics that may appear obvious. political masters need to see beyond obvious n statistics otherwise it may lead to disaster.

  2. Resignation of the upright naval Chief has made waves. It has focused attention on the Government’s ineptitude and idiocy and bureaucracy’s viciousness. But so what?

    Soon the waves will die down; the public attention will wander away and a compliant new Chief, with an eye on the post-retirement rewards, will fill the empty slot. Having weathered another storm, the babus will grow viler and the politicians more indifferent.

    What the Defence Forces need is an effective, constitutionally sanctioned mechanism to raise an alarm to tell the legislature that defence preparedness is at an dangerously low level and/or that the Government is neglectful of the lives and well being of its military personnel. Reaction of people at large when such an alarm – God forbid – reverberates in both the houses is what is likely to stir netajis and babus into action, nothing else.

    Meanwhile, let the Defence top brass impose on themselves a code which forbids them from taking any post-retirement job over which the Government has control. That is the only way they can disassociate themselves, in the eyes of their officers and men, from the politicians-babus nexus. Currently, they are seen as a part of the nexus, all the more so after the Augusta scandal.

    Babudom thrives only when military top brass turn into babus in uniform. It is time we stared this fact in the face.

  3. Sooner or later this disease of importing military hardware has to stop. Capacity to build or refurbish has to be created in India and there is no argument about it. The batteries in this submarine failed is the only issue to be examined in this episode. It has nothing to do with competence of the crew or the refurbishing in India.

  4. It is the high time that all three chiefs come together setting aside their personal agendas and bring it in front of the nation that how MOD babus are irresponsible and dishonest towards the security of Nation,

  5. The author has rightly brought out the weak leadership at the defence min level which is responsible to steer armed forces towards the national goal of security of India. But i feel resignation will not be a solution to the issue, if Naval chief is so morally upright and feels so sad about the inefficient handling of armed forces by MOD , he should have taken the matter to court although difficult …… has to remain in the system to change the system. Now what, he resigned, next will come and become political slave again… where is the change ….
    i agree with author that files dont move in MOD for years and soldiers die for poor technology …….but there must be sm1 over MOD also…………where does the buck stops??????????

  6. Malcolm Gladwell, after carrying out investigations into air-crashes, enunciates in his work “The Outliers” that these accidents are caused due to a number of reasons combining together. Each of them by itself would not have crossed the accident. But when they occurred together disaster followed. The same is true here at least to some extent.

    The first two causes are of systemic nature which contributes largely to all round failures and inefficiency while the others may be offshoots of these two.

    1.Presence of a Defence Secretary who is neither accountable nor knowledge in matters of defence,
    2. Bureaucratic delays due to inefficient processes and vested interests.
    3. Aging fleet that renders maintenance and operation challenging if not impossible.
    4. Increased probability of human error due to the pressures of handling antiquated machinery.

    When the Chief resigned we lost a leader with integrity. Our soldiers shed blood for the ineptness and self centricity of the political and bureaucratic leadership. Whether there is going to be a realignment of plocies and priorities is yet to be seen.

  7. Well resigning doesn’t help. The Chiefs must bring out the real state of affairs of our defence forces in front of the public. The nation deserves to know as to how the nations security is being handled and as to how secure the Nation is. Only Gen VK Singh had to guts to point out that all was not right. The Chiefs just make brave statements – soon they will be sounding like Saddam Hussain, lets avoid that and do the nation some service but putting forth the facts on the table. To the Govt it doesn’t matter; they will appoint another Chief and life will be normal in the DUMP called the Govt Of India.

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