Friday, March 30, 2012

Defence Deficit!CBI not to probe corruption complaint forwarded by Army Chief!The gap between Defence Budget Outlay and Actual Expenditure on the Security forces has to be Investigated to know the Truth! Who would like to Bell the Cat as Politicians

Defence Deficit!CBI not to probe corruption complaint forwarded by Army Chief!The gap between Defence Budget Outlay and Actual Expenditure on the Security forces has to be Investigated to know the Truth! Who would like to Bell the Cat as Politicians are engaged in a suicidal Game of Diluting the issue!

Indian defence sector is going to be a big market in the long term, the US on Thursday asked the American companies participating in the Defexpo to know and understand the procedures here for future business.

Troubled Galaxy Destroyed Dreams, chapter 760

Palash Biswas

India tested the supersonic cruise missile BrahMos from a test range in Odisha Friday, two days after conducting a similar trial of the same missile from the same range.But the defence deficit remains Unanswered. The gap between Defence Budget outlay and actual Expenditure on Security forces should be investigated!ndia's top military chief has warned that the country's tanks have run out of ammunition and its air defences are obsolete despite increases in budget defence spending, leaving it vulnerable to any external threats.The warning was made earlier this month in a leaked letter, published by a national newspaper, from General VK Singh, the chief of army staff to prime minister Manmohan Singh.

The gap between Defence Budget Outlay and Actual Expenditure on the Security forces has to be Investigated to know the Truth! Who would like to Bell the Cat as Politicians are engaged in a suicidal Game of Diluting the issue!

Observing that the Indian defence sector is going to be a big market in the long term, the US on Thursday asked the American companies participating in the Defexpo to know and understand the procedures here for future business.More than 20 US companies including some of the big names like Boeing, Lockheed Martin and Northrop Grumman are participating in the Defexpo.Inaugurating the US pavilion at the exhibition, US Embassy Charge d' Affaires Ambassador Peter Burleigh said, "The market here is definitely going to be a big market. Certainly in the long term, probably in the mid term and for the short term it is important to be here on the ground to make the connection, networks and know the procedures."

Army chief General VK Singh on Friday replied to CBI confirming his allegation that he was offered a bribe by a lobbyist to clear the supply of a tranche of "sub-standard vehicle" for the force. Singh, who had made the allegation in a media interview that forced the defence minister to order a CBI inquiry, told the agency in a letter on Friday that there was a bribe offer from a lobbyist but did not give details of the amount or the name of the person who made the offer, CBI sources said.

In signs of truce, Army chief Gen V K Singh today retreated from his hard positions saying there were "rogue elements" trying to project a "schism" between him and Defence Minister A K Antony and asserting that he was part of the government. In de-escalation of tensions, Gen Singh issued a brief statement trying to clear the air saying that projection of schism between him and Antony was "untrue and needed to be guarded against". The Army chief, who has been facing flak with some political leaders demanding his removal, said for the media to constantly project every issue as a battle between the government and the army chief is "misleading". His attempt to further cool tempers apparently comes as a response to Antony expressing government's confidence in the service chiefs at a press conference yesterday. Antony and Gen Singh had yesterday condemned the leak of the leak of Army chief's letter to the Prime Minister as anti-national and high treason respectively. The Army Chief, who had lost his battle with the government over the age row, had recently raised the hackles of the government by giving an interview claiming he was offered Rs 14 crores in bribes to swing a sub-standard deal. The leak of the letter to the Prime Minister raised tensions between the two sides. "For the media to constantly project every issue as a battle between the government and the Army is misleading. Army, by extension the COAS, are also a part of the government. "There are rogue elements who are actively trying to project as schism between the defence minister and the COAS. This is untrue and needs to be guarded against," he said. Reacting to Gen Singh's remarks rogue elements, retired Lt Gen Tejinder Singh attacked him saying the Army chief was insinuating that he was "causing schism" between him and Antony. He said Gen Singh was frustated because he did not get a 10-month extension in service and was targeting him

In his letter to the CBI, General Singh who returned to the Capital after two days said he would give further details soon, they said.The agency was waiting for a formal complaint from the Army chief regarding details of alleged bribe offer to initiate a formal probe into the matter referred to it by the ministry of defence. CBI officers had met him on Monday evening once.

The agency had asked the defence ministry to make available a complaint from Singh besides other details such as list of witnesses and supporting documents after which it would initiate its probe in the case, they said.

They said they have received a "reference" from the defence ministry to probe the matter and it has been processed as per the laid down procedure.

A preliminary enquiry or an FIR could be registered soon after completion of the procedural requirements.

The Army chief had claimed in media interviews that an equipment lobbyist had offered him a bribe of Rs 14 crore, a matter which he had reported to defence minister AK Antony.

The ministry had then recommended a CBI probe into the allegation made by the Army chief.

On the other hand, The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) today said it would not probe a corruption complaint forwarded by Army chief Gen.V.K.Singh against a serving Lieutenant General, saying an extensive investigation by the Cabinet Secretariat has found nothing into the allegations. In yet another blow to the government, fresh controversy has erupted over defence procurement procedures of the country. The Indian Express newspaper reported on Thursday that Army Chief Gen V K Singh has asked CBI to probe a serving Lt Gen in the army. The paper reports that the COAS has handed over to CBI a letter written by Trinamool MP Ambica Banerjee wherein it has been alleged that there have been widespread "procurement scams" in the Special Frontier Force - when Lt Gen Dalbir Singh was its Inspector General.

The newspaper report comes after recent controversy over Gen V K Singh's revelation that he was offered a bribe in his office for purchase of equipment and after the media leak of a secret letter written by the Army chief to the PM highlighting inadequacies in the Indian defence system.

On Tuesday, Gen. Singh had forwarded to CBI a complaint letter from Trinamool MP Ambika Banerjee which had alleged corruption in purchases for the Special Frontier Force during the tenure of Lt.Gen.Dalbir Singh Suhag as its then Inspector General.

CBI sources said since the issue had already been probed by the Cabinet Secretariat last year and no wrong-doing was found, there was no need for another probe by it.

CBI had approached the Cabinet Secretariat, which controls the RAW, seeking to know if they had conducted a probe into the allegations levelled by the MP, agency sources said.

They said the Cabinet Secretariat had informed them that an extensive probe was conducted into the allegations levelled by the MP last year but nothing was found.

Following the intimation of the Cabinet Secretariat, CBI has returned the complaint saying if any new material is brought out, it can probe but as far as this complaint is concerned there was nothing to be probed.

Amid concerns about India's defence preparedness, Defence Minister AK Antony said on Thursday that defence allocation has been consistent with the country's needs and is bound to grow to increase as the armed forces need to have access to the latest technologies and equipment to counter any threat.

Speaking at the inauguration the seventh edition of International Land and Naval Defence Systems Exhibition-Defexpo-12, Antony said that six companies - four foreign and two Indian – have been blacklisted from the procurement process for 10 years, on the recommendation of the central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Mincing no words, Antony said, "We have zero tolerance for corruption. In the process of procurement, if it is established at any stage of the contract that there is malpractice then we will cancel the contract. Even after signing the contract if anything is found we will take action, we have very strong safe guards."

The "once-nascent" defence ties between India and US has evolved into a "strong and growing" strategic partnership between two of the pre-eminent security powers in Asia, a top Pentagon official said.

"Today, US-India defence ties are strong and growing, including a robust slate of dialogues, military exercises, defence trade, personnel exchanges, and armaments cooperation. The strong ties between our two militaries reflect this," James Miller told lawmakers in written answers submitted to the Senate Armed Services Committee during a confirmation hearing for the post of Undersecretary of Defence for Policy.

"Over the past decade, there has been a rapid transformation in the US-India defence relationship. What was once a nascent relationship between unfamiliar nations has evolved into a strategic partnership between two of the pre-eminent security powers in Asia," he said.

In February, Miller had travelled to India to co-chair the annual US-India Defence Policy Group meeting.

"My trip reaffirmed my view that a close, continuing, and expanding security relationship between the United States and India will be important for security and stability in Asia and for effectively managing Indian Ocean security in the 21st century," he said.

Miller also said India has a long history of non-alignment and is firmly committed to its policy of strategic autonomy.

"The continued growth of our partnership should be focused on working closely on common interests in a true partnership."

If confirmed, Miller said, his priorities for this relationship should be to focus on increasing maritime security cooperation, expanding the military-to-military relationship, and deepening cooperation on defence trade, including cooperative research and development.

"There is potential for increased cooperation on counter-proliferation, collaboration on humanitarian assistance and disaster response, countering piracy, cooperation on counter-terrorism, greater intelligence sharing on common threats, and working towards stability in Afghanistan and the broader Indian Ocean region," he said.

Presenting the country's annual budget for 2012-13 in the Indian parliament earlier this month, Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee announced a massive 17 percent increase in spending on defence services, raising it to 1.93 trillion Indian rupees ($40 or 38.6 billion). Of this outlay, 41 percent would be spent on procuring modern weapons systems and military hardware. This year's rise follows a 12 percent increase in the previous year's budget. Mukherjee offered little explanation for this massive boost in military expenditure, apart from stating that the allocation was "based on present needs" and that "any further requirement will be met." India's actual military budget is even higher, as the figure for "defence services" does not include spending on its nuclear weapons programme, military pensions and the paramilitary forces.

Three days after India's budget was presented, the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), a reputed think tank, released a study on global arms transfers according to which India has now overtaken China as the world's biggest importer of weapons. India purchased some $12.7 billion in weaponry during 2007-2011 from foreign countries and accounted for 10 percent of all arms imports during this period.

India's future arms acquisitions plans, as it goes on a major military spending spree to expand and modernise its armed forces, are even more staggering. In a report published last month, Jane's Defence Weekly estimated that India will spend $100 billion on defence procurement between 2011 and 2015.

Army chief Gen VK Singh, who raised the issue of battle preparedness of the force, on Friday said there was a need for attaining self reliance in meeting defence needs.Addressing an aerospace and defence conference organized by ASSOCHAM in New Delhi, the Army Chief spoke in favour of a sound industrial base with increased participation of private sector and increased coordination among industries, government and the defence forces.

"We need a strategic vision for ensuring self reliance and maintaining an independent capability, because of the two pillars our policy is based on. These two pillars are that our country has got no extra territorial ambition and it does not want to transplant its ideology on anybody," Gen Singh said.

He noted the requirement to develop a capability to equip the armed forces without getting influenced by external factors.

"This demands that we have independent capability to equip our armed forces, a capability that does not get influences by too much of dependence on external factors," he added.

The army chief had written a letter to the Prime Minister raising concerns over the preparedness of the Indian Army, modernisation and acquisition process.

Noting that the Indian defence industry has come a long way since its early days and is now capable of developing complex systems and technologies, the Army Chief asked them to understand the policies properly.

"The private sector participation has been debated for a long time. While in the national economic policies there have been institutional and policy oriented changes, we need to ensure that our industry understands the complex web of linkages which determine national policies in defence industrial sector," he said.

Observing that joint ventures need a greater analysis to ensure indigenous production, Gen Singh said, "Joint ventures must go to joint design and development as well as co-production if we want to enhance the scope of participation in defence related ventures."

On challenges being faced by private industry, hesaid, "First is access to the proven technology, how do we get it and who will give it you? What kind of arrangement you will make to get this technology and ensure that our human resource is capable of going ahead with this technology."

He said the research and development aspect also needs to be factored in for producing cutting edge technology.

On Transfer of Technology, he said the focus should be on value addition and improvement of the product.

"We need to look at value addition and product improvement and understand the need of the armed forces and have a much closer interaction so that we can take it forward," Gen Singh said.

For meeting business and profit requirement of private industries, he prescribed a closer coordination between industry, government, ministries and armed forces.

He said the Offset Policy has been designed to assist domestic defence industry which needs to be analyzed in greater details to promote greater interaction between industry and governemnt.

On imports substitution, the army chief said that "We need to ensure that this becomes in the ratio of 70-30, in favor of own industry".

On the other hand,The defence ministry on Thursday said that it is reviewing procurement procedures to ensure impartial, transparent and swifter acquisitions for the Armed Forces, even as the Army chief's recent assertions about corruption in big-ticket defence spending have created a major controversy.

The minister of state for defence MM Pallam Raju also said that the government is developing a long-term integrated perspective plan for the technology and capability needs of the Armed forces over 15 years. The plan would be made public soon after its firmed up, he said at the inaugural session of the Defence Expo in the capital.

"The lack of adequate information regarding defence requirements has been one of the major impediments in the growth of India's defence industry," Raju said. "This (plan) would enable domestic industry to plan investment in the defence sector and take up research and development, technology upgradation and forge tie-ups... collaboration with foreign partners to meet the future requirements of the armed forces," he said. Stressing the government's focus on encouraging joint ventures and small and medium enterprises ( SMEs) for indigenous defence development, the minister pointed to a few recent initiatives under the new defence production policy unveiled last year.

"The introduction of the new category of acquisition 'Buy and Make (Indian)' is a major shift enabling Indian industries to enter into joint ventures with foreign original equipment manufacturers. The route has opened up ways for technology transfer to Indian industry based on the armed forces' requirements," Raju said. "Self-reliance in defence is of vital importance for both strategic and economic reasons. The government is committed to promoting indigenisation in defence," he said.

Maintaining that the Indian acquisition and procurement procedure is very different from what the American companies are used to, US Embassy Charge d' Affaires Ambassador Peter Burleigh  asked the participants to be patient and understand the local culture and systems.

Highlighting that Indian defence sector is "essentially a guaranteed market", Burleigh said some of the American companies have been here for a long time and they have conducted successful businesses also.

Meanwhile, Boeing during a press conference, organised to share details of progress made in supplying C-17 strategic lift transport aircraft to Indian Air Force, said that plane would be delivered to India in June 2013.

"The Letter of Agreement (LoA) with Indian government was signed in June 2011 and the manufacturing began in January this year. Its first flight will take place in January next year and the certification is due in May 2013. In June next year, it will be ready for delivery," said Partic Druez, Business Development head of the Boeing.

Druez said that the aircraft is being flown by 19 countries and is capable of carrying large payload and can be operated from short runways and withstand variations in weather as well.

Denying that Boeing is conducting talks for any follow-on orders of the aircraft, he said, "The training of the aircrew will start 10 months ahead of the delivery. May be in May or June."

On development of infrastructure, he said, "It is part of the LoA and we are in the process of building the required infrastructure."
On delivery of P-8I long range maritime surveillance aircraft for the Indian Navy, Boeing said the final assembly of the aircraft will begin in the second quarter of 2012 with the flight test due for later this year.

Meanwhile,BJP on Friday demanded defence minister AK Antony's resignation, upping the ante against government over the controversy surrounding Army chief's allegation that he was offered bribe for clearance of Tatra truck contracts.

Raising the issue during Zero Hour in Rajya Sabha, PrakashJavadekar (BJP) questioned whether the minister was patronising corruption as no action has been taken against anybody though a probe was ordered two years back.He rejected Antony's contention that he did not act on the Army chief's information on bribe offer in absence of any written complaint and claimed that a written complaint did exist.

"If the probe in Tatra trucks is continuing from 2009 to 2011, if it is not completed in two years, then this government and this defence minister are trying to cover up corruption. If you are patronising corruption, you have no right to remain in power. The defence minister should resign," Javadekar said.

The BJP leader told the House that Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had written a letter to the defence minister two years back demanding a probe into the matter. Azad was not in the House.

He said the defence ministry had even informed Azad that the probe was going on. He demanded that the contents of the findings should be made public.

Javadekar also demanded to know what action was taken into the matter and who were found guilty.

Mind you,Congressmen are seething at the government's failure to cap the V K Singh saga, jittery that it would compound the party's mounting trust deficit.

MPs from the ruling camp were livid at the latest fracas over the Army chief's letter on the country's defence's preparedness.

In the aftermath of electoral drubbing in key states earlier this month, Congress could have done without the latest controversy. Though it is confident that Gen Singh would not find much acceptance among people in view of intrinsic fear over the Army's overreach, there is a worry that it would add to the perception of further drift in UPA.

In the letter, the general said the country's tank fleet was "devoid of critical ammunition to defeat enemy tanks" and warned that air defence was "97% obsolete". He also outlined "woefully" ill-equipped special forces and "large scale voids" in surveillance in a region where India faces two "inimical neighbours" and a potent terror threat.

These warnings, on the eve of Hu Jintao's arrival in the Indian capital, reinforce views held by some former national security advisers and other senior commanders that India is not preparing sufficiently for the rising military might of a more assertive China.

The letter surfaced only days after India was declared by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute as the world's biggest importer of arms, surpassing neighbouring China. The think-tank estimates that India accounted for 10% of global arms imports between 2007 and 2011.
India, the world's largest democracy, has an annual defence budget of USD 40 billion, and is in negotiation with France's Dassault for the supply of 123 jet fighters, worth about USD 20 billion.

A.K. Antony, the defence minister, confirmed the existence of the letter in parliament on Wednesday amid calls from the government's allies for the army chief to be sacked.

"The government is determined to do all that is needed to continue to assure the safety and security of India," said Mr Antony, a trusted ally of Congress party president Sonia Gandhi.

The parliamentary opposition, which has drubbed Mr Singh's government for high-profile corruption scandals over the past two years, described the letter as "extremely disturbing concerning defence preparedness".

Gen Singh has become a highly controversial figure in recent weeks, and is widely viewed as an antagonist to the ruling party after a bitter row over his retirement.

Gen Singh took the defence ministry to the Supreme Court in February after claiming he was a year younger than military records showed. He lost the case. This week, Gen Singh said Mr Antony had failed to follow up on the general's earlier disclosure that he had been offered a USD 2.8 million bribe to buy faulty trucks for the army.

"Fiscal allocations [for the military] by themselves tell a partial story," said Uday Bhaskar, a Delhi-based defence analyst. "Creating appropriate military capacity requires a certain degree of political commitment and institutional integrity that appear elusive in the Indian context."
"Decision-making remains paralysed since the major political parties have chosen to attack one another over corruption and transgression issues. As a result, India's military capacity has glaring gaps."

Maroof Raza, a defence analyst, said India's defence forces were falling victim to a confrontation with the nation's bureaucracy.
"The growing trust deficit between the army chief and the ministry of defence has led to a situation where the government and bureaucracy have decided to not let anything move," he said. "Ours is a shocking state of affairs."

Dismissing Army Chief Gen V K Singh's comments on Tatra trucks as "not true", state-owned BEML today said that it had never received any single complaint from the force in its over two decades association.

At a press conference here, he said he had "great respect" for the army chief but did not not agree with his reported remarks that the Tatra trucks were "sub-standard".

Addressing a press conference here, BEML Chairman V R S Natarajan said that Gen Singh had praised the vehicles after he took over as the Army Chief and there is no issue with either serviceability or availability of spares of Tatra trucks.

"We have supplied 7000 vehicles in the last 26 years. For last 10 years I have been the Chairman of the company, not a single complaint has come from the Army Headquarters or any of the directorates.

"We never got complaints about Tatra vehicles that shows these vehicles are performing complaint of any nature has come to us so far either directly or indirectly on performance," he said.

Asked whether he ever personally interacted with Gen Singh on this issue, Natarajan said, "I have met the Chief only once after he took over. I interacted with him... Particularly, he was mentioning that Tatra vehicles are good and we support you."

To a query about the inquiry which has been ordered by the CBI against BEML in 2009, he said it has nothing to do with BEML or its performance or any wrong doing.

Defence Minister A K Antony and Army Chief General V K Singh will attend a function at Udhagamandalam on April 3 to mark the the 98th birth anniversary of Field (Fd) Marshal Sam Manekshaw.

Antony and General Singh and others will lay wreaths at the new gravestone for the late Field Marshal and attend a prayer and military memorial service that day.

Manekshaw, known as Sam Bahadur, was the architect of the victorious 1971 Indo Pakistan campaign that led to the liberation of Bangladesh.

Upon retirement in January 1973, Manekshaw settled down in Coonoor, the twin civilian town of Wellington Cantonment, where he had served as commandant of the Defences Services Staff College.

He passed away at the age of 94 in 2008. He was laid to rest in the nearby Parsee Zoroastrian Cemetery in Ooty.


Author:  C.Uday Bhaskar
The Indian defence expenditure for the financial year 2012-13 has been budgeted at a fairly high figure of Rs.193,407 crore (budgeted expenditure, or BE) which converts to $38.5 billion and is not unreasonable -- but is well below China's corresponding figure of $100 billion. However, to get a true sense of how this translates into tangible Indian military capacity, this allocation is to be seen in relation to the revised expenditure (RE) for the last fiscal that was announced as Rs.170,937 crore ($34 billion). The increase thus is of the order of 13 percent from the actual amount spent in 2011-12.

However, this is only one perspective, for the BE for 2011-12 was Rs.164,415 crore ($32.7 billion) and this was revised by over Rs.6,000 crore to reach almost Rs.171,000 crore. The Indian defence expenditure is broadly divided into two heads - the revenue and capital components - with the latter accounting for acquisition of new equipment and inventory items, as also modernisation of existing platforms. Ideally, a 50:50 ratio, or even a marginally greater amount for the capital head, would be the most desirable norm - but in the Indian case, since the military machine is largely manpower intensive, the opposite pattern prevails - meaning that the revenue component is higher.

Thus for the current fiscal - 2012-13 -- the total revenue expenditure is budgeted to be Rs.113,829 crore, while the total capital outlay is pegged at Rs.79,578 crore. Paradoxically, in the last fiscal, 2011-12, the capital expenditure was planned for a total of Rs.69,199 crore - but the actual expenditure as announced in the budget documents presented on March 16 was of the order of Rs.66,143 crore. In other words, the defence ministry surrendered Rs.3,056 crore as unspent from its capital head - and this is reflective of the inability to arrive at swift and objective decisions that will contribute to laying a strong foundation for capacity-building of the Indian military profile.

But then the question that arises is where did the increased expenditure occur over the last year? The increase from BE to RE for the last fiscal, 2011-12, is of the order of Rs.6,522 crore and this was expended in the revenue component, which along with the unspent capital amount of Rs.3,056 crore offers an insight into the trends that characterise India's defence expenditure.

The lack of a clear strategic focus is evident when the spending pattern of the last decade is examined in some detail. On the one hand, the revenue expenditure is closer to 60 percent against the capital head, even when allocated amounts remain unspent - except in the last fiscal - which was an exception to the general trend. The lack of a strategic underpinning is evident when a very anomalous situation obtains, in that capital funds are returned as unspent when the Indian military across the board is in dire need of modernisation of critical equipment and platforms.

For instance, the Indian Army has been seeking to replace the old Bofors gun - the mainstay of the artillery for well over a decade -- but to little avail. Given the kickback allegations and related political scandal going back to the Rajiv Gandhi years (mid-1980s), the Indian higher decision-making system remains inert or is in eternal slow motion. Thus 25 years after the Bofors scandal broke and a decade after the Kargil War, the Indian Army is yet to get a replacement for its artillery gun!

Decision-making remains paralysed since the major political parties have chosen to attack one another over corruption and transgression issues - from Bofors to coffin scams - and as a result, India's military capacity has glaring gaps. Defence expenditure and budget allocation is held accountable to strict compliance with audit regulations and fear of politically-motivated investigations and hence no senior official in the Ministry of Defence wants to take long-term decisions that will benefit national military capability-building.

India's total defence allocation can also be viewed in the regional context -- while the current allocation for this year is closer to $40 billion, the Chinese defence budget announced recently is closer to $100 billion. While India does not seek equivalence with China, the pattern of defence allocation and the priorities set by the political leadership is a contrast.

Since the end of the Cold War in 1991, Beijing has set itself the task of acquiring credible indigenous design and production capabilities in the defence and military domain - and also utilised its domestic industrial base to advantage. India, on the other hand, has the dubious distinction of becoming the world's leading arms importer over the last decade. Much of the funding from the capital head goes to foreign suppliers and over the last 20 years, Indian funding has proved crucial to the very survival of certain defence industries -- first in Russia and now in France.

It is regrettable that the defence expenditure is rarely discussed in parliament despite being a reasonably large amount - and where debates do occur, they are zero sums games between bitter political opponents.

It merits recall that over the last decade, two high-powered committees have rendered their reports - the Kelkar and the Rama Rao panels - about the challenges to India's acquisition procedures and the need for a rigorous defence public sector/DRDO review. However, both reports remain shrouded in secrecy - and have not come up for detailed discussion in parliament or in the national trade and commerce chambers.

If examined in an objective manner, where everyone is a stakeholder in contributing to national security, some embarrassing truths will be revealed. More than 60 years after becoming a republic and 50 years after the debacle with China, the opaque Indian defence production establishment does not produce high-quality clothing and personal inventory items like boots - let alone a suitable rifle for a one million army, or tanks and aircraft. The question that Defence Minister A.K. Antony may like to ask is why the stoic Indian jawan still buys his uniform from the market and shuns what the government provides?

Fiscal allocations by themselves tell a partial story. Creating appropriate military capacity requires a certain degree of political commitment and institutional integrity that appear elusive in the Indian context.

(Commodore (Retd) C. Uday Bhaskar is one of India's leading strategic analysts. He can be contacted at This article first appeared in South Asia Monitor on March 20, 2012)

Ref.:  South Asia Monitor

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