Bharat Karnad

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Bharat Karnad is professor at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi

Parliament needs more ex-generals

The Army has been in the news for a few years now not always for the right reasons. The succession trauma that saw Gen. Bikram Singh replacing V.K. Singh will be stretched out some more with Lt. Gen. Ravi Dastane, deputy chief of the Integrated Defence Staff, deciding to take the matter of the elevation of Lt. Gen. Dalbir Singh Suhag as the Eastern Army commander to the Armed Forces Tribunal.

Defence tutorial

In the Westminster system of government, Cabinet ministers are autonomous, virtually a law unto themselves, and serve at the pleasure of the Prime Minister. If the Prime Minister is a strong, elected leader, the fear of rubbing him the wrong way and consequently being thrown out of the Cabinet or demoted is enough reason to induce discipline.

Revisiting 1962, with ifs and buts

Many years ago, Air Marshal B.D.

School of hard knocks

George Tanham’s scathing 1995 RAND report on the Indian Air Force excoriated the service leadership for much of the service’s ills — doctrinal incoherence, multiplicity of combat aircraft types in the inventory that has produced logistics, servicing and training nightmares, the emphasis on platforms and, despite the evidence of the First Gulf War in 1992, rather than on high-technology suites (avionics, ground-based electronic support) and force multipliers.

Nuclear correctness

National security adviser (NSA) Shiv Shankar Menon was at an Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) meet on August 27 to launch a revived Rajiv Gandhi Action Plan for nuclear disarmament. In his speech, he teased the audience with his claim that pre-1998, India faced “explicit or implicit” nuclear coercion on three occasions “to try and change India’s behaviour”.

Delhi is in a China daze, again. Beware!

Gen. Bikram Singh, Chief of the Army Staff, is bringing in as his Principal Staff Officers (PSOs) colleagues from his time at the Eastern Command in Kolkata, and others who have served with and under him. This is normal and reasonable practice because a COAS is ultimately judged by what he accomplishes, and who best to advise him and implement his agenda than the people he has confidence in.

INS: Indian Nuclear Service

The Task Force on National Security, chaired by Naresh Chandra, the all-purpose bureaucrat, had an open-ended brief. The one area, however, the Task Force was expressly told to keep off by the National Security Adviser related to the country’s nuclear deterrent in all its aspects.

Streamlining defence

When talking to uniformed officers in higher military training institutions and forums, I try to emphasise the perils of an industrial age military. The country has far to go to get anywhere near the technologically-efficient, cyber-savvy, 21st-century modern armed forces of the world.

Fork in the road to defence ties

In the past several years India has dashed headlong into military acquisitions without thinking through their implications. This is par for the course for the Indian government wedded to ad hoc policies and decisions concerning the most serious aspects of national life and security. But there are costs and consequences of what amounts to a casual approach to foreign and military policies.

Cyber Neanderthals

The news story about the Chinese hacker corps getting into the computer systems of the Eastern Naval Command (ENC) and stealing information related to the Arihant nuclear submarine came as no surprise. Like everything else they do, the Chinese are thorough in casing out likely adversaries as part of their military preparedness regime.

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