Wednesday, November 15, 2006

We Are Stepping On Someone's Toes. But Whose Toes?

I am sure you are all following the recent stream of anti-DRDO articles written by Shiv Aroor in the Indian Express. You also probably know that there have been a number of other articles which have been written by retired military types in recent times. The articles on their own have no merit, and while the Shiv Aroor's write up is obviously a "lifafa" piece, the articles by retired military types are a little unusual. Something is out of place, as my friend who reads newspapers would say.

A reasonable person might correctly be led to conclude that something big is moving in the world that cannot be seen.

A surge of anti-DRDO articles appears in the media everytime around a major foreign arms supplier in India changes its agent in India. The new middleman tries to prove his/her worth by paying off a journalist to write something nasty about DRDO. The Western arms supplier is apparently easily convinced that this kind of blatant psyops is sufficient to shake the MOD's confidence in itself and is more likely to push the MOD towards a purchase from that particular supplier. Though the Bofors deal led to a ban on middlemen, the practice continues, as the Tehelka scam demonstrated a few years ago.

From the journalist's perspective, this is easy money. Its not like anyone is going to audit the journalist, and even if they do, the newspaper which recieved a cut will raise a hue and cry about how its people are being hounded and freedom of the press is being curtailed etc... its all a well oiled scam. Many people swallowed up the Tehelka hidden camera footage, and no one asked the question who paid Tehelka to do this. If people are stupid, then the press can't be blamed for exploiting them. There is no law against what the press is doing, you can't make laws against things like that. Journalists unlike so many others, know they are only a single level above the CSWs on Lamington Road so there are no qualms about doing things like this and while someone may seem like an objective and reasonable voice on these matters otherwise, there is nothing to say that person is not simply putting on a show to get the credibility necessary to do a lifafa piece.

The Arms supplier knows he has to pay bribes to get the deal through. That's the way the machine works - everywhere. All the supplier hopes to achieve is to lower the bribe he has to pay and increase the bribe that his competitor has to pay. This helps choose the agent. The agent chooses the journalist. The journalist chooses the story and the story chooses the audience. That's how this racket works.

Okay now that I have said is a racket, I feel we still have to ask ourselves who exactly is behind it. The current burst is too well coordinated to be a mere accident. This has been in the works for a while.

Some of you probably feel that Indian Express is close to the Pakistanis. After Stinky Dupatta's performance at Agra, you might very well think that. But would Pakistan really gain from printing anti-DRDO articles in the media? That is an open question.

Others would probably say given his Cohenist adulations, the IE is an American mouthpiece. Okay I am willing to consider the theory, but this needs to looked at in greater detail. Firstly the Aroor article has the following gripe embedded deep in it,

Instead of a pragmatic strategy to enhance national capabilities in research and development through international collaboration, the DRDO has tried to reinvent the wheel in the name of self-reliance. At the same time, it has packaged licensed production of foreign systems and domestic manufacture of primitive missiles like the Prithvi as great national achievements. Worse still, an ossified DRDO and obsolescent public sector defence production units are in no position to take advantage of the huge new opportunities that await them amidst the unfolding globalisation of the world’s defence industry.

So is that what the Americans are trying to get us to do? "Collaborate" with them? That makes no sense to me. The Americans were the ones who shut off the collaboration valve the day they kicked out folks out of Los Alamos. Let them back in, and the valves will open automatically. This means that the Americans haven't realised that the valves are closed on their side? Could be... but then it wouldn't be a first.

Alternatively one might be inclined to think that the Israelis, the good friends of the Americans, and supposedly our great friends are upset with something and they paid for this. Okay lets say I buy that too, but what on earth do they want from us? they already have access to far better facilities than anything we have. What could we have they couldn't get access to themselves? lord knows we have more collaborations with them than anyone else.

What applies to the Israelis applies doubly well to the Russians. We have more codevelopment contracts with them than anyone else. Many people have a hard time telling where the Russian system ends and ours begins. So althought the communication channel is wrong, if the communication is of Russian origin, we may be doing something else that is upsetting them. The BR thread has my humshakal, identifying a possible cause for friction with Russian interests. The Karan (Tank Ex) could become a severe problem for the Russians. We have the ability to mass produce T-72s. The Arjun FCS (Fire Control System) contrary to rumors is far superior to anything you might get with a T-72 otherwise, so mate the two and you have a winner. Okay so even if we don't market it internationally, we restrict it to an upgrade of our T72s only, even then the T-90 deal is in trouble. Remeber the incessant whining about the Arjun has focussed on the chassis, the airconditioning and the FCS. If the FCS has been fixed, shifting to the T-72 chassis takes out 90% of the objections at source. The Army can't whine about the chassis being a problem if its been using the T-72 for ages! This means that anyone who wants to object to Tank Ex/Karan has to cast aspersions on DRDO's ability to deliver. If the person who wants to block the Karan makes a fuss about the FCS, then the DRDO guys will simply prove the FCS in again in any number of trials. Bottom line, if Arjun becomes any more accepted, say outside the Gandiv's boys, then Karan will ride alongside him, that means curtains for the T-90. Seems very plausible, but the channel completely wrong. Incidently I am sure you all noticed recent Pakistani Arms purchases from the Russians? or perhaps you noticed the accelerated Al-Khalid inductions? the Russians know how to talk, not via the IE, they wouldn't waste their time with the Aroors of the world.

That leaves the French, we aren't going to buy anything from them unless they give us lic. production rights. That means collaboration. They know "Veronique" must have told them that and we know it. They are satisfied with the Scorpene sale. So I am not very convinced that they have anything to be upset over. Correct me if I am wrong.

The only thing off the top that we don't do as a practice is share stuff we have been told not to share. For example, if we were do something with the Russians, then we wouldn't "collaborate" on the same thing with the Americans. That is asking for a bullet in the head.

Also if we have said we won't clone things, then we won't clone things. That assurance stands, and we know that changing that will bring sorrow.

So I am more than a bit baffled by the spurt. We are stepping on someones' toes, but I don't know who we are doing this to. Shiv Aroor/Amit Ranjan could clear this up by just coming out and saying it, but I don't think they are going to do it.

We are left therefore with a terrible guessing game, which I fear does not serve the interests of national security. That my friends is a cause for concern.

12 Comments:

At 11:22 PM, Blogger s c r a p s s t u f f s said...

Yep this spate of articles also set me thinking. My usual line of thought is that every time DRDO comes up with some breakthrough that threatens someone (either a particular nations arms industry or a particular "enemy" nation), that someone pays off Indian journalists to write anti-DRDO articles which the gullible Indian public promptly laps up. Are we sure that this isn't the furry pied animal up north who feels threatened by some recent DRDO breakthrough that threatens to nullify their superiority in a particular field?

The second thing that always strikes me is that there are never articles in the press to the effect that Russia has paid bribes. Its always the French (Scorpene), or the Swedes (Bofors), or the SAs (Denel) or the Germans (HDW) who are paying bribes, never Russia. Even Israel hasn't been spared but Russia always has. Strange.

 
At 7:20 AM, Blogger maverick said...

scrapsstuffs,

The russians are very good friends, we don't talk shit about good friends, that is a Pakistani phenomenon. The Russians stood by us in our times of need when someone cut off the rice supply to our country remember? we stood by the russians when the rouble fell. So there is nothing strange.

Please look at my post carefully, like my humshakal on the disreputable forum, I too now worry what Karan will do to our friends, and yes damn it, despite all the software jobs and the BPO orders, they are still our friends, we don't betray our good friends.

Someone needs to go down there and not one of those people who think they know everything, and see if our friends are happy with the Karan. This may be essential to preserving the stability of Asia.

The Aroor article merits investigation.

It is said that when a fellow called Asif Nawaz refused to install a certain engine in a tank that everyone loved very much. The engine maker was pissed and Asif Nawaz died under mysterious circumstances shortly afterwards.

 
At 8:41 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

hi maverick,
1)i am not following news lately, but what is pakistan importing from russia.
2) very strange the world has turned upside down. Russians cooperating with pakistan, India cooperatign with USA, finally India & Pakistan cooperating with each other. On a lighter note , someone said on a difference forum: UPA:- stood for Ulta-Pulta alliance.
3) Hope Indo-Russian cooperation does not get affected due to Indo-US coop.
with best wishes,
mukunda

 
At 11:55 PM, Blogger s c r a p s s t u f f s said...

Hmm interesting. So the bear is pissed off about Karan upstaging their T-72 upgrades and hence they have told the Indian media to write anti-DRDO articles so that IA will go with the bear for T-72 upgrades and ditch DRDOs Karan?

Or am I reading you wrong?

 
At 8:24 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Mukunda,

Russian Pakistani arms trade has picked up in recent years. This in my opinion a very rational move in the post Cold War world. Also post Sept-11 Musharraf has been able to convince the Russians that given Pakistan's implicit support to the Al Qaida, Pakistan isn't exactly an American colony.

The Russians also have problems in Chechnya and with the IMU. The Pakistanis are offering Chechen and Uzbek blood in exchange for cheap arms from the Russians, particularly their helicopters which are very very reliable. Also although you will never get a pakistani to admit it. The Chinese are ripping the Pakistanis off when it comes to aerospace. The Pakistanis need to give the Chinese some competition otherwise they will become a Chinese colony. When it comes to arms suppliers to Pakistan, the more the merrier.

I would have been concerned about the leakage of sensitive defence data to the Pakistanis via Russian channels, but you see most of the equipment that we buy from Russia has already been penetrated by American intelligence groups. The chances that the Americans leak to the Pakistanis are equally high.

So there is no immediate harm in the Russians trading with the Pakistanis. I wish our Russian friends the very best of luck. There is lots of competetion in Pakistan, and I hope that the Russians win!

Scrapsstuffs,

I don't think they are speaking via Aroor. That is not their communication channel. The IE is an American/Israeli/French channel. The IE has gone way to far in its will-sell-editorial-line-for-cash approach. Mr. Dupatta is setting a bad example.

I don't know if the bear is pissed or not. I would not be surprised if they are pissed, they would certainly be within their rights. The Karan would violate the agreement we had with them. We need to determine how exactly they feel about the Karan.

 
At 10:32 PM, Blogger s c r a p s s t u f f s said...

maverick,

IE is not the only one who will sell their mothers for the right amount. The entire english language Indian media is guilty of that in one way or the other. That is a matter of concern.

 
At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would like to present an alternative viewpoint. The way eveybody sees is, Dupatta is big time buddies with Congress(I) much much more than with any middleman. A middleman can only offer you whisky once, but Dupatta needs to look after his post-retirement career after all. It serves congress ' agenda to malign DRDO and shove some sticks up since they want a justification not to re-elect Kalam. Remember presidents tenure is about to end. Making CBI running after ex-CNS and ex-RM, throwing mud over Kalam in the process and now this lifafa job. It is another matter that Kalam has said he dont want to be re-elected.

 
At 10:33 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'd like to point out an alternative theory. That the Indian media are a bunch of clueless retards, who would sell their mothers when it came to making their newspapers sell. And that the Indian services, are too busy playing their DRDO bashing game to really care either. Especially when as far as they are concerned, they just want first world weapons at third world prices, and that too, yesterday. Aroor and Shukla are the symptoms of the problem. The DRDO or anything local is just a bakra. These retards have no education in engineering (the media) and probably struggled with integration and differentiation at school. They want to be fashionable journalists, blog about french literature, and wine tasting and be fearless dick tracys. Are they going to understand the difference between a Prithvi or a Brahmos? Or at what price India has achieved what it has? Or the interrelationship between funding and technology? We are ascribing intelligence, to a bunch of jackasses. And Shukla and co are egotistic pricks who get off on telling civilians ki "tum madarchod humse orders lo", and when those civilian scientists show a middle finger to the army waalah, ego battles result. NOt all army people are like this, but some definitely are.

 
At 7:14 PM, Anonymous Nitin said...

I suppose you saw the op-ed in the Indian Express yesterday, written by an MP and a member of the parliamentary committee on defence.

 
At 7:05 AM, Blogger maverick said...

Hi Nitin,

Which one?

Anonymous,

If this was UPA the criticism would have come from another newspaper. The channel is wrong, Stinker Dupatta is an american channel. Who can forget the greatest image of the GT Complex that he smuggled out after Bluestar.

Anonymous,

Journalists suffer from well documented psychological problems, but the entire attack seems too coordinated to me.

The other odd thing is that it is not simply an attack on DRDO it is a simultaneous attack on civilian leadership. It could be someone in the armed forces is unhappy about something else and this is their way of making their displeasure known.

All of which begets my earlier question, whose toes are we stepping on?

 
At 1:28 AM, Anonymous Nitin said...

Maverick,

This one

 
At 5:22 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

What ultimately makes me wonder about how clueless our leadership is, when they are debating funding to DRDO when the chinese are spending $80 Billion/yr and counting. But pay DRDO peanuts, all our scientists similarly, I read on the unmentionable forum that India has spent 400million on IGMDP, what a pitiful joke!

 

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