Monday 23 November 2009

Democratic Defence

Being associated with industry lobby organisation exposes you to a lot of well analysed information across various sectors. This post is particularly dedicated to the defence sector, especially because I take pride in my army based ancestry.

But yes there are certain things I perceived during my education, as journalists are skilled to look at everything with suspicion. So I had a belief that defence people are authoritative. It was when Air Marshal P K Barbora's remark reflected on the front page of The Times of India. The story was formed around the military's resistance towards female pilots. His remarks strengthened my belief, ironically to realise that the world of media is full of wrong interpretations about remarks made by people in authority.

I have had my share of witnessing such episodes, during sessions with ministers. Media comes up with a completely new made-up story. I respect media as the watchdog of society, politics, commerce, etc. at the same time I realise media like anything else has its pros and cons.

So let me come back to the issue, as I decided to give some of my blog space to the Indian defence sector. Particularly to the speech made my Air Marshal Barbora at a session on 19th November 2009. His fearless, well analysed speech had substantial weight.

According to him,

Post independence, India had small civil aviation and a small tactical air force. Social thinking was inducted in governance through the PSU culture. Incentives and motivation for the private players were lacking. Financial system and availability of capital was nationalised, and impetus to private system was very low, and no level playing field existed for the private players. India missed out on mid-level technology and the founding blocks of the national Air Force went amiss. The governance structure was such that that the country went for an outright direct purchase. The sellers were happy and the nation was in a miserable condition. It was all dependant on the mercy of the suppliers to turn the tap on and supply, while India's hands were tight. Indian economy was not great and DRDO's did not had money. Ironically the phenomenal growth of educational system benefited only the west through brain drain.

Today, India is a rapidly growing economy, but we have not come to a single digit to what the global aviation industry is. China has produced the whole damn airbus, and we still pride ourselves if we have created just a part of plane. Systems and hurdles exists. There has to be participation from DRDO as well as private enterprises. We still live with so many regulations and exports sanctions. The national defence requirements from the private sector is minuscule. No private enterprise wold want to make investments to serve to a small market, they should therefore be allowed to venture overseas markets. The steps have been taken in the FDI domain, but these ought to be bold enough. Technological transfers have not been in actual terms, its just been assembling of equipments. Ding-dong battle carries on for years between the government in power and opposition. Infrastructural support from the government if required. Approximately 1000 acre on land is required only for civil aviation. The government must therefore evolve a national policy, and take advantage of global interdependence. Private sector must be allowed a freer hand, and should adhere to quality consciousness. Exports control for the private sector must be opened up, with of course a little regulations. We have adequate knowledge in IITs etc, this should be leveraged. The economy has to adhere to strong intellectual property norms. India must go indigenous.

Author's Note: I found his remarks democratic enough, changing my perception about the defence personnels! But this all has been said a lot, real work is missing. No matter what we talk about arms proliferation, ultimately the nation with the largest ammunition's is considered powerful on the global scale.

1 comment:

  1. do not miss understood the remarks of mr barbora's first of all defence forces are not the employment generating agencies, and when it comes to national defence i think no compromise on physical standards should be tolerated irrespective of gender.

    and thanks for showing the true face of the story


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