30 April 2015
Opting to drastically downsize 17 Corps and buy Rafale fighters were two bold, but not necessarily good, moves. Now, it’s time for the Defence Minister to create a unified services chief Arun Jaitley and Manohar Parrikar, the government’s first and incumbent Defence Ministers, respectively, perhaps hoped that the pitiful record of their predecessor A.K. Antony, India’s longest continuously serving Defence Minister, would make their task easier. Instead, it’s been quite the opposite. Mr. Parrikar seems to have spent the last several months cleaning up what he insists is a fiscal and policy mess bequeathed to the government and overlooked by Mr. Jaitley, who was, for a brief period, wearing two hats as Finance and Defence Minister. But is Mr. Parrikar leaving the place tidier than he found it, or laying down an unhelpful legacy of his own?
Three areas are worth looking at more closely: the slashing of the much advertised 17 Corps, the country’s first mountain strike force; the sudden re-jigging of a deal to purchase France’s Rafale fighter aircraft; and, most importantly, the vexed question of reforming India’s military command.
… As the scholar Anit Mukherjee wrote this month, “Left to themselves, they have not even been able to agree on training their musicians together, let alone pooling resources for joint training and logistics”.
GPO / IDSS / Online
Last updated on 18/11/2015