In the age of rising patriotism and nationalism in India; the army has been the holiest cows of all. Any criticism to the Indian Army is considered as a misconduct of highest order by a certain section of the society.
Chief of Army Staff, General Bipin Rawat on his recent interview to ANI boasted about how India was ready for two and a half wars referring to Pakistan, China and internal conflicts. If we were to look at it, India has the third largest army in the world, on the accounts of military expenditure India ranks five with a budget of 56 billion dollars. India is currently the largest buyer of arms according to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). So statistically it checks out and Bipin Rawat is absolutely justified with his ‘Let it rip’ attitude. But, there is always a flip side to the coin.
In the recent months, India has seen an outrageous amount of air crashes. In the first week of July itself the country saw, Kiren Rijiju narrowly escape a potential chopper crash, an MIG-23 crash in Rajasthan and one more incident of a chopper going out of the radar that later was found to have crashed with no survivors.
If the modern day warfare were to depend upon a country’s strength in air-warfare, India would probably score a big fat zero. Indian Air Forces current squadron strength is 32 as opposed to the sanctioned number of 42 squadrons. Amongst that 32 squadrons of combat aircraft, most are past their use-by date and have not been retired just because the IAF will run out of options.
THE FLYING COFFIN
With a treacherously alarming rate of air accidents, India has lost 11 major jets in the past year itself and nobody seems to care and talk about it. While the government remained busy pushing its ‘Make in India’ initiative with Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas, which by the way CAG found 53 shortcomings in, the IAF continued to overwork its old faulty Russian through intensive training. Dubbed as the ‘Flying Coffin’ for their tendency of operational malfunction mid-air India lost numerous pilots and lost half of its MIG fleet through minor or major accidents.
THE BIG WALLET
India recently brought MIG-29’s worth Rs 10,000, an aircraft that has a serviceability of 15%, which means that the jet can reach to the place if called upon only 15 times out of hundred. No wonder that the CAG called the expenditure avoidable.
Indian government’s flawed purchases, out-dated technology, scams and not to mention utter disregard for human life comes out as shocking if not as disturbing considering the turbulent times.
Can Bipin Rawat defend India on ‘Two and a Half Fronts’? It’s very unlikely that he can defend us from one.
Sources: Scroll, Indian Express