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December 16, 2017
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Citing Fidayeen Attacks to Doklam Crisis, Military Officers Highlight Today’s ‘Dynamic Environment’

Military Circles are Hoping that India would have a Full-Time Defense Minister after Sunday’s Reconstitution of the Union Cabinet.

“We have been Paying for the Absence of a Full-Time Defense Minister,” said a Senior Military Officer, Emphasizing that the Daily Complex Operations of a Ministry as big as the Defense Required a Full-Time Minister.

Ever since the Narendra Modi Government came to Power in May 2014, there have been 2 Stints during which Finance Minister Arun Jaitley Held the Additional Charge of Defense. Between November 2014 & March 2017, Manohar Parrikar was the Full-Time Defense Minister & “It Made A Lot Of Difference,” the Officer said.

Multiple Worries

“Given the Dynamic Environment we have Today, we Cannot Afford Not To Have a Full-Time Defense Minister. From Fidayeen Attacks to the Doklam Crisis, all of it is Happening Simultaneously. This is 1 Ministry you Cannot Leave to a Part-Time Minister,” another Senior Officer said.Yet another Officer, who is Involved in Acquisitions, said a Full-Time Defense Minister would Help have “Some Frank Discussions” around Acquisition Priorities. “A lot of it Needs to be Discussed & Fine-Tuned without any Delay,” he said.He Pointed Out the Way the Acquisition of Fighters for the Indian Air Force has Progressed under the Modi Regime is a Telling Tale of why there was Requirement for a Full-Time Minister who they can Engage in Frank Discussions.

Without any Detailed Consultation with the Air Headquarters, the Government Announced a Government-to-Government Deal in Paris for Acquiring 36 Rafale Fighters in April 2015. Many in the Forces Point Out that the Move Actually took away India’s Strategic Advantage Offered by the Original Plan to Buy 126 Fighters.“Left to the Air Force it would like to Buy More Rafales. However, that is Not the Direction in which it is Progressing now,” he said.

The Comments come Amidst a New Move for Possible Acquisition of a Single-Engine Fighter for the IAF, the Tata Group has Signed up with American Giant Lockheed Martin to Make F-16’s in India, while on Friday Adani Group Signed Up with Saab Group of Sweden to Make Gripen Fighters.

“The recent Decisions have only Complicated the Future for us,” the Officer Pointed Out, about the Fighter Program.