Holidaying from blogging for the month of December, except three things steamed me up, enough any way for me to write this.
1) A knowledgeable friend called to say China had bought off the entire production line of the Tu-22M3M — the latest variant of of the ‘Backfire’ strategic bomber from Russia for $1.5 billion, just $500 million more, as he reminded me, than what India will be paying to acquire the Pilatus propeller-driven trainer aircraft from Switzerland. This little snippet for anybody who doubts that India is getting things strategically so horribly wrong!!
2) One can’t but admire CNS, Admiral DK Joshi, for standing his ground and not backing down when NSA Shivshankar Menon called him out on his forthright statement to the press that the navy had practised actions to thwart the Chinese Navy acting as if South China Sea was China’s sea and boarding Indian warships plying those waters on duty protecting Indian energy assets owned jointly with PetroVietnam, and that the navy would carry out those actions if bothered in any way. This when NSA was playing the usual Indian sap talking of how such statements hurt “Chinese sensibilities”. Boo-hoo!! No doubt the Admiral was pressured to retract his statement or at least to say what he had said was distorted by the media — which he didn’t do but which was Menon’s position in Beijing that the Press had “misled” the Naval chief, as if Joshi is some babe-in-the-woods. MEA, followed up by wagging a school-marmish finger urging the military to show more restraint! And the NSA and MEA are tasked to protect Indian national interest?!!!
3) In contrast to the CNS there was the army chied, General Bikram Singh, around the same time exulting about India-China relations being “absolutely perfect”. OH!!! May be the rest of us are missing out on a crazily unobvious development! It seems he was trying to compensate for Joshi’s straight talk with the normal mealy-mouthedness expected of military-men. What’s with Bikram Singh? Was he punch-drunk when he said it? Or, distanced from reality? Or, most likely embellishing an MEA script given him to read? In the event, one wonders if Bikram Singh remains the Public Relations colonel at heart that he was during the Kargil border conflict?