Indian navy at sea
Evidently, India’s defence preparedness and technological acumen are in choppy waters. If the slew of fatal accidents and naval mishaps are a pointer, severe technical, logistical and leadership deficiencies are looming large on the defence sector. The fire accidents on INS Sindhuratna and INS Kolkata in a succession too quick to fathom, as well as the sinking after a deadly explosion on INS Sindhurakshak in august last year, are enough to indicate the degree of ineffectiveness in the system, which the resignation of former chief of naval staff (CNS) Admiral DK Joshi cannot whitewash. In fact, the ultimate responsibility lies with the defence minister, who is equally liable for the staggering scale of corruption in defence acquisition, as is clear in the number of scams, including the latest allegations against Rolls-Royce by the government-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) of paying kickbacks to HAL officials during 2007-08. Not is the navy stretched beyond its capacity in the present times, it is also bearing the brunt of lack of proper appraisal as well as the result of being deployed in tertiary role of policing the high seas with faulty equipment instead of practicing war drills and furthering naval diplomacy. Indian navy is in urgent need of modernisation, which, given the appalling state of defence sector, looks like a distant prospect, despite the security red alert.