Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Ouch! Admiral's Candid Quote & Critique Decries Faults in India's Military Culture

"Consequently, the MoD faces huge, accumulated, problems and challenges which could take decades to resolve." -Adm. Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

A year since the tragic loss of 18 lives with India's Russian-made Kilo-class submarine INS Sindhurakshak, one of India's most decorated naval officers identifies contributing failures and surprising lessons learned.   Admiral Arun Prakash (Retd), former Chief of Naval staff (31 Jul 2004 - 31 Oct 2006) is an aviation combat veteran. Although he began his naval service in naval aviation and qualified as a pilot, he later commanded ships and was Commandant, National Defence Academy (1997-99) and Chief of Personnel at Naval Headquarters (1999-2001).  The admiral's full commentary makes worthwile and recommended reading 
"A year after submarine disaster: Have any lessons been learnt?"

Revealing Excerpts

Admiral Prakask draws striking contrasts between U.S. and Singaporean military cultures and India's...

"...I feel personally responsible for each and every one of you, as if you were my own sons and daughters. And so my only prayer is that you serve with honour and return home safely" - Former US Secretary of Defence Robert Gates addressing West Point's class of 2008.

versus this...
 "...it is notable that no functionary in our politico-bureaucratic establishment has ever felt or conveyed the kind of angst and concern for servicemen, expressed so publicly by Robert Gates. India's 100 percent civilian MoD has acquired a reputation for its lethargic and inept management of national security, but let me dwell on the Sindhurakshak tragedy to highlight a few examples of the indifference, bordering on callousness, it displays towards India's fighting men and women." - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

and this...
"Forty-seven years after acquiring its first submarine in 1967, the IN still lacks a submarine rescue vessel (SRV) which can enable the crew to escape from an incapacitated submarine without suffering the severe effects of decompression.  ...During the 2006 Fleet Review in Visakhapatnam, when president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam spent six hours underwater (coincidentally, on the Sindhurakshak), we had to ask the US Navy to provide rescue cover in case of an accident. In stark contrast, tiny Singapore, built its own SRV within a few years of acquiring its first submarine. Our MoD is either ignorant of the gravity of this lacuna or simply does not care."  - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)
Admiral Prakash berates India's MoD as follows...

"In a Kafkaesque demonstration of languid functioning, the MoD took a full six months to float international tenders and to select a company to salvage the submarine. It was another four months before the hulk of the submarine could be raised. During this ten-month interregnum, no signs of concern, anguish or urgency were visible in South Block."    - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

Admiral Prakash questions continues reliance on equiment of Russian origin...

The service will thereafter implement remedial measures to eliminate the possibility of recurrence. 

"However, an aspect that bears the closest scrutiny and review is the continued reliance of all three services on equipment of Soviet/Russian origin. In an August 2000 mishap, which bore uncanny resemblance to the Sindhurakshak accident, the Russian nuclear submarine Kursk suffered an explosion and sank with the loss of all hands. The final report on the disaster concluded that the explosion was due to the failure of one of Kursk's hydrogen peroxide-fuelled torpedoes. The collapse of the Soviet Union dealt a severe blow to its military-industrial complex from which it has not yet recovered. The steep decline in quality control as well as poor product-support of Russian systems is being acutely felt by India's armed forces - on land, at sea and in the air." - Adm Arun Prakash (Ret'd)

Submarines are always silent and strange.

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At 15 August, 2014 02:46, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

I wish to say that India has excellent ASW forces that have sunk more submarines* than any nation this century.


* Indian subs unfortunately.

At 17 August, 2014 22:08, Blogger Vigilis said...

Pete, i am NOT a detractor of India. I like the people (from close experience). the nation (from its history), and please do not confuse my publication of the opinions of India's the most highly decorated retired admiral with my either his nor mine well wishes for India's INS get-well future.

In my humble opinion. India's naval prowess (like Australia's) are vital to the U.S.

The fact you have sited (India has excellent ASW forces that have sunk more submarines* than any nation this century) is unknown to myself and most of my readers. Will you be so good as to furnish your reliable source?


At 18 August, 2014 12:11, Blogger Contrary in Texas said...

I've always wondered about India's commitment to anything but resignation. Life is hard, they reason, why make it worse? They need to start eating those cows that wander around and stop worrying about killing insects that they inadvertently step on.

At 20 August, 2014 10:43, Blogger Pete said...

Hi Vigilis

With "The fact you have sited (India has excellent ASW forces that have sunk more submarines* than any nation this century) is unknown to myself and most of my readers. Will you be so good as to furnish your reliable source?"

I was making a joke at India's expense - saying its navy was good at sinking subs - but that unfortunately those submarines were Indian.




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