Thursday, January 30, 2014

Being Fair to India's Navy

Molten Eagle's last post, Ominous Portents for "Infant" India with Nuclear Subs, sought to place India's male literacy rate in a proper context with its advanced nuclear submarine (naval) ambitions. It was pointed out, for example, that India's male literacy rate was below Swaziland's (82.6%).

As rightfully pointed out by an Australian reader, however, Ominous Portents might offend Indian people, particularly in comparison with naval accidents and deaths of other major navies.  "For example if one looked at submarine accidents worldwide since 2000 you would see highly literate Chinese and Russian subs being lost with all hands." 

Fairness and accuracy are always important objectives of Molten Eagle.  The U.S. Navy's own checkered submarine accident record could be a prime example for comparisons if not for the thoroughness of boards of inquiry and some highly sophisticated investigations like this one.

Readers may find the following postscript interesting and more to the point of India's inadequate literacy.

Opening remarks about Indian professionals in 'Ominous Portents' should salve India's national pride. Having worked with high-performance Indian people myself I can also attest they are among the world's most industrious people.

I do not think I am wrong in pointing out what I see as a looming shortcoming in their national defense ambitions for which many of us continue to hold great hopes.

It is the quality of their "get well" plans that matters most. Russia's major problem has not been know-how; until recently it has been $$$$. China's problem has been neither discipline nor $$$$, it has been inexperience.

Mistakes with nuclear vessels (propulsion and armaments) can be compounded ten-fold. India's navy is still learning to crawl, finding "heavy siltation", "unskilled labourers", and the "tide suddenly receded" at the root of  some of its recent naval accidents.

Readers here may find actual opinions of Indian naval officers helpful, too. What ails the Indian Navy's blue water aspirations?  Annotated excerpts follow [color emphasis mine]:

Consider this incident, not so much for its obvious humor, but for the absence of discilpine it evidences:
"Last week of December, 2013: A shell from the Coast Guard ship Sangram landed inside the premises of the Indian Navy in Mumbai when the ship was clearing its gun upon its return into the harbour."
Finally, quoting from the same link, there is an indigenous suggestion to underscore the importance of Indian literacy:
"It is high time that people realise the need to adhere to laid down procedures." - Vice Admiral (retd) RP Suthan, former Vice Chief of the Naval Staff

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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At 26 February, 2014 22:11, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

Your identification of Indian sub safety problems looks increasingly accurate.

Here's more bad news for the Indian sub safety record .

Recent mishaps have been so frequent that the head of India's Navy has resigned -




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