By now, pundits around the country have done a fairly thorough analysis (given available information) of the mishap that struck INS Sindhuratna and resulted in the death of two brave young Navy officers in Mumbai.
However, the bigger question is of the underlying causes that resulted in the Navy being forced to operate the submarine beyond its original decommissioning date, 2013. This appears to have been because of delays in procuring replacements to the Fleet of Kilo-class submarines.
Does this story sound familiar? To me it definitely does. Many young fighter pilots have lost their lives because of delays in procuring parts and upgrades to our MiG 21 fleet. They have also suffered because we took long to procure an advanced jet trainer that could replace the Kiran Mk II and ease a pilot's transition from a piston trainer to the Mach-2 performance of the MiG 21. Delays continue to plague our procurement of the MMRCA, which is supposed to be the backbone of our Air Force for the next few decades.
Lastly, DRDO has to take a large share of the blame. By making big and bold promises to ill informed politicians and bureaucrats in Delhi, and playing both the political game and the nationalist card to the hilt, they have delayed or deferred the procurement of foreign matériel but at the same time failed to deliver. The Air Force has stopped waiting for it's squadrons of LCA aircraft, and the grand project is likely to go the way of the HF24 Marut, which never made much of an impact on our force levels or capabilities.
George Fernandes, when he was Defence Minister, famously posted a few Babus to Siachen to show them the effects of their delays in procuring winter equipment for the soldiers fighting under those challenging conditions. Will AK Antony do the same? A stint in the battery room of a submarine for a few months will surely be an eye opener for the paper pushers in the MoD.
Executive, entrepreneur, investor and mentor to social entrepreneurs, golf and squash addict, author of thrillers... In short, an amateur dabbler in new experiences, and provoker of thoughts.