I remember, in 1991, seeing a cartoon about the future, in a magazine of a person on a computer reading 'you are being hit by an earthquake right now'. That future is here today.
Anyone on the front foot will get only 15 mins worth of element of surprise at the max, (before the news channel break it) and the maxim that the battle plan lasts only the first15 mins of the war is even more true today.
Moreover, any large troop concentration will be in the knowledge of at least 4 countries, even if it is within 96 hours. This would lead to intense backroom diplomacy and pressure even before the outbreak of hostilities. The engagement will go hot, only if the PM of the day has made a decision in advance and not as the situation builds up, or else there will be just a poached frog.
At the onset, the only thing that matters are CAPABILITIES alone. During Kargil conflict, there was an overwhelming response at the recruitment centres to sign up. (By the time the movie on it was released things were back to normal though) The sentiment is fine, by that time it is a bit too late. Last time I checked, there is a shortage of 15000 Officers, that is a not brawn but brains. Shortage of 15,000 in a country of 1 billion!
As someone said, 'there is only one rule of the game - SPEED'. Speed in acquisitions, Speed in decision making, Speed in action.
In 1965, had the Indian Defence Minister Chavan waited for the Cabinet to figure out how to respond everything might have been lost. He, asked IA to get a move on right away, informing the PM later. Cabinet met the next day. That is just not possible today, in case, an enemy takes the initiative.
Between 1962 and 1965 a lot of changes were done, enough to change the outcome. (I do think, India kicked Pakistan's butt and that not that it was not an == affair). The one lesson GoI should learn from it, is to bring back Emergency Commissions to be that its required officer strength. This not an increase, but a correction of an existing deficiency. I would like to remind, that PC was deeply concerned (a year back) about the shortage of 200 IPS Officers that it impacts his capacity to deal with the naxal problem. Hence, this should be an obvious step. No DRDO, tender business involved. Just GoI notifications will do.
I want to put an idea out there about how folks on BR can possibly impact the acquisitions. It might be a bit OT here but I am little pressed for time. Please bear with me.
There can be a 4 step process.
Step 1: Create a spreadsheet, for lack of a better term, Just call it the BR Overt Capabilities Indicator.
This should cover Strategic, Army, Navy, Air Force. (CPOs to be added later)
1. It should list all the acquisitions that the forces are trying or are in the process of acquiring? (from Gruskhov to RT guns to LCA)
2. It should include the critical level of the equipment (that is it is needed NOW, 2 years from now, 5 years from now, etc). This should be color coded Red and Green. Red indicating anything less than induction.
3. When it was originated.
4. It should include it is indigenous or foreign in origin.
5. What is the original target for delivery.
6. At what stage it is, in terms of induction. i.e. RFI, RFP, Tender, Trials, delivery, partial delivery, induction, development of tactics, staffing, effectiveness.
7. If it has not been acquired, with which department the file is, Forces, MoD, Finance Ministry, DRDO, MEA, Foreign party/ country?
8. For how long was the file with a particular department.
9. Reason for delay.
10. On which date did the date change or finally inducted?
Step 2: Create a 'babu wall of shame' on BR.
Create the a babu wall of shame that will list all the item in red, and the Ministry, Department or the Arm responsible for the delay with the top Secretary for that ministry (no politicians, only to make them irrelevant) getting the 'honors' for the delay.
This can be a monthly vote by the BR members or can be by the time of the delay.
Step 3: Garland them.
At the end of the year, declare annual awards to them as the 'babu of the year'.
Step 4: Invite the press.
Notify the babu and the media of the annual rankings and awards (What the heck everyone is doing it for stars, leaders, cars, bikes, etc, these days). Facilitate the babu by sending them virtual 'donkeys' or 'slippers' or 'rotten tomatoes' and a Certificate on behalf of BR.
If there can be a system by which the delays are tracked and made available to public to make their own opinion, they will and BR can have a positive impact.
back to lurking... Thanks