Are we prepared? Letters to BS on Mohan Bhagwat's remark against Army

This is with reference to “Mohan Bhagwat is right” (February 13). The state of India’s preparedness for taking necessary war-like action at short notice is indeed worrisome. This has emboldened the Pakistani army’s leadership to increase their support and training to Islamic militant groups. What would other countries like the USA, Russia, China, Israel or UK have done in our place? We need to have decisive air superiority, strong army operational mobile groups, and sufficient naval carrier task forces that can impose maritime blockade. These vital capabilities that can achieve our national aim without going on an all-out war have sadly been neglected in the past 15 years. To add to our woes, the Army has been severely handicapped by poor standards of management support from the senior civilian bureaucrats in the Ministry of Defence and Ministry of Finance, which are responsible for giving the approvals to various proposals.

The other valid point raised by Ajai Shukla is the high proportion of “personnel costs” head of our defence Budget, caused by pensions that take up nearly 33 per cent of the allotment. The time has now come to carry out systemic correction to transfer the amount saved into the capital head of the defence Budget, by making five years good grading Defence service compulsory for all newly selected Central and state government employees, before being absorbed and granted confirmation of their appointment.

J K Achuthan  Thiruvananthapuram
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