Land Ahoy

Submarine Scapegoat

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The resignation of India’s Chief of Naval Staff Admiral DK Joshi over a series of operational incidents has put the spotlight on defence management under the UPA’s charge. Barely an hour after Admiral Joshi took personal responsibility for a fire on board the Russian-built submarine INS Sindhuratna, the Government accepted the Admiral’s offer to vacate his post.

The swiftness with which the political establishment acted clearly suggests that it was anxious to ensure that blame for all the recent underwater mishaps did not fall on the Government.

Inertia has become the ‘screensaver’ of India’s Defence Ministry ever since AK Antony took charge of it, with his men delaying critical procurements. Experts say that most of India’s 15 submarines are in desperate need of modernisation.

Admiral Joshi’s resignation is being lauded as being in keeping with the highest traditions of the service. But India’s political leadership, particularly Antony, chooses to look the other way when questions are raised over the resource and equipment crunch faced by the forces.