Some time ago, i wrote that if we do not do farm sector reform urgently, food prices will spiral out of control. At that time, the thought was hilarious. Today, starvation will soon be a reality for quite a few poor people. Food has, quite simply, gone out of reach.
Which is why, one is forced to write this post today. India has been actively ignoring 2 vital sectors - Agriculture and Defence. These sectors are not just any 2 sectors for a country. They are the deal breakers for the very existence of a country. Armies have laid seige to ensure that the other side runs out of food, and is therefore forced to surrender, and the importance of a strong defence mechanism to preserve the sovereignty of the country cannot be overrated . Even more than a strong foreign minister, we need a strong defence minister.
Here is what is not right:
1. Salaries and Emoluments - Parliamentarians and bureucrats get raises for doing no work at all. Defence raises (and lack thereof) deserve a separate article.
2. Working conditions: Sometime, whenever you have the time, please go to a field location and see the working conditions there - of the jawans and the officers. Enough said.
3. Equipment: Our equipment is dated and not as well maintained as it needs to be. Don't trust me. File an RTI to check:
A. What was the equipment delivered and ordered in 2010?
B. What is the budget outlay for defence upgrades ?
C. What is our procurement process and criteria?
4. RnD: How much indigenous stuff have we developed? If we can develop our space program internally, why cant we do defence equipment in India?
But to me, the biggest and the strongest threat to India's defence mechanism, after the official apathy, is this:
5. Corruption in the ranks. No matter what we do, no matter how much we build, unless every single instance of corruption gets exemplary punishment, and unless integrity is paramount again, we cannot hope to have a defence force that is impenetrable. Or even, capable. Sirajuddin's defeat is only one of the many, many instances when a country was let down by pure greed and corrpution. Of course, the low salaries and poor lifestyle does not make things easier.
China has been encroaching on indian territory in Arunachal and Ladakh. Bangladesh sends more illegal immigrants to India than we can count. And there is no large scale hue and cry in this country? If we want sovereignty, we must keep watching out. Or pay the price.