Slumping Modi needs thermonuclear tests

Image result for pics of modi in repose

Modi’s political stock is falling. From being hailed as invincible just a few months back to now being considered vulnerable to a straggly unified opposition front in the 2019 general elections is a reflection of his rapid decline and his government’s failure marked by big talk and small achievement.  Over-confidence in Karnataka followed by a series of BJP Lok Sabha by-election defeats in UP following the earlier trouncings in Phulpur and Gorakhpur — under the disastrous RSS selection as chief minister, Yogi Adityanath, that he endorsed, has had no little role in oiling Modi’s slide.

The appointment of RSS pracharak Manohar Lal Khattar in Haryana and the ‘Yogi’ in Lucknow marked the beginning of the downward spiral for the PM. His calculation that some level of communal polarization is electorally helpful in the 2014 general elections and since didn’t reckon with the mayhem precipitated by the dark forces unleashed by the Hindu fringe that feasted on tertiary political issues — beef slaughter ban, “love jihad”, related anti-Muslim issues, that led to the strangulation of the leather and bovine meat export industry (annually generating some $5 billion in revenue for the country) dominated by the Muslim community. Combined with the farmer and caste agitations it has stirred an embittered reaction against the ruling party in the cow belt and elsewhere that may end up reducing BJP’s national footprint and Modi’s credibility as leader and modernizer. Had Modi’s political instincts been better a scenario minus such excesses combined with the outreach to Muslim womenfolk (‘triple talaq’ and Ujjwala type programmes of free LPG canisters and his focus on economic development for all,  he’d have formalised a pan-India, non-communal, political support base for the BJP, and  permanently pushed Congress and SP surviving on minority grievance to the sidelines.

His loss of appeal as modernizer is a particularly serious matter that’s been aided by the PM’s jaw-dropping anti-science statements equating Indian myth with scientific accomplishment, such as his claims before an AIIMS audience that in the godly pantheon the elephant-headed Lord Ganesha proved plastic surgery was rife in ancient India, or that the great Kaurava warrior Karna’s being born outside of his mother’s womb suggested expertise in genetics — the sort of nonsense that is in sync with Adityanath’s more recent claim that Lord Ram’s wife Sita was a test tube baby!

For the hundreds of millions of aspiring youth and for the upwardly mobile middle classes in the country this tilt towards an idiotic, lumpen, brand of nativism, has come as a betrayal and shock. Combine this with his election promise of creating crores of jobs proving hollow — 400 million unemployed and under-employed youth in the job market versus 12 million jobs actually created during his tenure (Nitin Gadkari’s figures), and one can see why there’s  a steady drop in Modi’s popularity.

There’s some 11 months to the elections — too short a time for Modi to turn around his government or its performance. Whatever new schemes he will announce hereafter with 2019 in mind will be undermined by the popular perception of failure to do anything much with the kind of sweeping mandate the people had given him to reorder the system and revolutionize the government’s way of working.

So what can Modi do to revive his prospects in the short time available to him? New and catchy, alliterative, slogan-promises — yawn! — of radical big bang reforms won’t cut the mustard. Political leaders who have found themselves in Modi’s dilemma have done the obvious thing — started a small war — not rinky-dink “surgical strikes”. A war with China is not practicable. A small war with Pakistan — six months before election date —  is an attractive proposition to restore his reputation and get the people behind him. Except the Indian Army and the other two armed services are in no fit state — given the “voids” — to prosecute one that can last more than a week or two. In a conflict of one week or two week duration — which is the most the country can afford and  the Indian military can manage, zilch will be achieved against the ready Pakistani forces. In other words, no meaningful objectives can be attained  by this option.

There’s another more doable option that will fetch Modi the political results he wants. He can order a genuine big bang — the Big Bang that comes from a resumption of underground testing of big yield thermonuclear weapons that, besides obtaining a proven, reliable, and respect-inducing hydrogen weapons inventory for the country, will mobilize the people (voters) behind him in the face of the expected adverse reaction by the US and the West. If this includes economic sanctions so much the better because then Modi can reasonably make the case for the country coming together to thwart foreign adversaries of India. The more Washington and Western governments threaten and act up the more Modi can stoke the fear of the country under siege, and to paint the opposition parties into a corner as providing aid and comfort to the enemy.

The resumption of thermonuclear testing as a means of strengthening his chances of regaining power in 2019 cannot, however, be too much on the eve of the elections, because then not enough time will be available for the popular feelings to stand by the government in a crisis to naturally congeal into mass support for Modi in elections, because the N-tests will be seen as too obvious an electoral ploy to win votes. So if the elections are called on due date in May 2019, the tests will have to be conducted by December 2018-January 2019 at the latest, with instructions issued immediately to BARC and DRDO to begin preparations. There is, moreover, no dearth of reasons for the tests — China’s assistance to North Korea to secure proven thermonuclear prowess and to Pakistan to build a formidable arsenal of short range tactical nukes, and China’s own nuclear build-up.

And this time the thermonuclear tests have to be full bore, full yield, to leave no doubt in anyone’s mind as to their attributes. DRDO head Christopher Raj has said that tests can be undertaken at a short notice, implying there are spare L-shaped tunnels in Pokhran to set off these test explosions. (See        and  .)

The question as always is can Modi, will Modi, do the right thing by the country and reassert India’s stature as an independent would-be great power and risk upsetting the US and the West — relations with whom he puts much store by — by taking such a course of action, and one which guarantees him an extended stay in office?


About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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49 Responses to Slumping Modi needs thermonuclear tests

  1. Koushik paul says:

    Airstrikes at muridkote
    with rafale best option

    • Why not a much cleaner long range sharpshooter sniper rifle? Or, for more collateral damage, an RPG?
      Further, why Rafale — Su-30’d be better, but that’d mean a Pakistani retaliatory air strike on Indian city target — a tripwire for drag out fight which India will win, of course, but the country will be able, quite literally, to afford even less.

    • But the question is where India can conduct Mt yielding TN tests?? Pokhran is not the right place for this huge bangs as also shakti 1 yield was reduced to 45kt from 200kt to minimize the seismic damage to the nearby village!

  2. Vivek says:

    Not DRDO It’s BARC which is right authority to comment on nuclear test.

  3. AD says:

    The single biggest problem that Modi, and almost every senior Indian politician, has in this particular context is as follows:

    Regardless of what they claim, many older Indians without extensive exposure to the west, have a serious inferiority complex when dealing with them. In contrast to that, most Indians below a certain age who have dealt with the west do not suffer from that complex, and correctly see themselves as equals. Senior Indian politicians, being the gerontocrats they are, tend to make decisions which look “right” in their very limited world view. It also helps that they are often supremely corrupt people without any confidence in the abilities of their own people. To make a long story short, they will invariably adopt a servile posture when dealing with the west.

    There is, of course, much more to this problem. For example, the leadership cadre of many countries which have prospered in the post-WW2 era attained their position by participating in real conflict and armed struggle against colonial powers. Indian leadership, in contrast, was always full of lawyers and local leaders who were well spoken but lacked courage or leadership qualities under conditions of conflict. Oh.. and they were also willing to sell out their supporters for the right reward or title. IMHO- we are unlikely to see a real change in this behavioral pattern until people born in the 1970s, and after, start assuming the reigns of power.

    Only then will there be a generation on Indian leaders who have no illusions about the real abilities of capabilities of the west. Only then will they have the mindset to deal with the west as equals.

  4. Sir there are reports that an 8000 Km range AGNI missile was tested in odisha on 2nd june, Sir pls provide authenticity for this

  5. Rupam says:

    Bharat ji is it not possible for the armed forces to retake POK? This can also act as a good election wining move. Is it even realistically possible to achieve?

  6. Doable, but as a full scale operation, not as an election stunt.

  7. andy says:

    Reports out of Washington suggest that there’s not going to be any waiver for India from US sanctions under CATSAA if the proposed S400 deal from Russia goes ahead,so we may get a taste of sanctions sooner rather than later.Also the FM recently said, regarding the US sanctions on Iran ,that India follows only UN sanctions suggesting that there won’t be any pull back by India on its Iranian commitments like oil imports,Chabahar port development etc under pressure from the US.Here too India could be sanctioned and here probably lies the excuse an ostensibly miffed Modi could opt for conducting thermonuclear tests, since the US by imposing sanctions (once again)on India would have proved its unreliability as a security partner for India.

    Hydrogen bombs will surely enable India to make effective use of its relatively limited fissile material stockpile. Thermonuclear warheads are light weight, meaning they use less fissile material than other nuclear warheads that use fission or fusion boosted fission technology.India has very limited stock of fissile material ie. weapons-grade plutonium and highly enriched uranium, these lightweight but high yield thermonuclear warheads would afford more bang for the buck than other nuclear warheads.Also since MIRV capable missiles are on the card for India in the future its important that high yeild/low weight thermonuclear devices are tested without any delays.

    Just like conventional weapons become obsolete when rival militaries induct newer and more capable versions,nuclear weapons also need to be upgraded,hence the need for testing newer more capable nuclear warheads.India can’t afford to sit around wringing its hands in impotent outrage while China merrily inducts mega ton bombs,and helps Pakistan do the same.With a 20 to 25 kt proven effective yield the Indian nuclear bombs are fire crackers compared to the Chinese bombs.

  8. &^%$#@! says:

    Do you really believe that a third-rate coolie Nation like India could sum of the guts to have a H-bomb(s) test? They even run to the US to seek “permission”: to buy the S-400:

  9. Kiran Kumar A V says:


    ON the previous article ( I would like to differ with you on your view that we should just purchase the designs and other things independently, but I feel instead we should get Amur Class SSK because Rubin Design Bureau has offered to JOINTLY DEVELOP advanced conventional submarine AND EXPORT and also jointly develop AIP system with DRDO.

    “We have been telling them that we can jointly build submarines and export them to other countries,” says Baranov, adding that. “I have visited even Indian private sector shipyards. While Pipavav is impressive, it has very few engineers or design facilities. L&T, on the other hand, has qualified design and engineering team.”

    We have a partnership agreement with Larsen and Toubro Defence. They’re a really strong company — especially for the shipbuilding. And in our view there is no alternative among private industry in India – especially for submarines,” said Baranov

    “I doubt if anyone can help India as much as we can to build its own AIP” he said.

    The Russian AIP will be starkly different from the Mesma of DCNS and the German system. Molchanov insists that Rubin’s system comprising electric-chemical generator uses naval fuel (diesel) to produce hydrogen on-board and generate power . “This is much advanced and lighter than Mesma, which not only cannot control the noise level, but also has less power generation capacity,” says Molchanov. “Even with the German system, you need to produce hydrogen on shore,” he says.

    “Russia has an alternative proposal for the Indian partners. It is not another project for the production of military technologies under license, but joint design and development of the submarine and its subsequent construction at Indian shipyards in accordance with the initiative Make in India,” he explained.


    • Rubin has been progressively sweetening the deal and Russia best understands L&T’s capability. But while the co-development deal is fine, what’s the logic in not building on the indigenous capability at L&T, et al, already created at great cost to the country, and just buying whatever design — even Amur — and select other technologies the country is deficient in, and proceeding with the 75i? Where’s the need to co-develop a sub — with the Russians — from the start which will sideline the existing in-country capacity? And as far as AIP system is concerned, let me inform you that the DRDO design that was tested proved to be the best, performance-wise. Its problem? Excess weight. This can be whittled down, perhaps, with Rubin Bureau’s help.

      • Kiran Kumar A V says:

        i agree with you, but my feeling was that the Russians are developing 5th generation Submarine which we may struggle to build. (as you yourself have stated that they are the only country to part with latest technology)

      • Vishnugupt says:

        The Russians know once L&T get sufficient exposure on basic know hows and know whys, then L&T will build upon it and emerge as a potent challenger for them in the future.
        And given the fact that Russians are scared of anything “privately owned”, i don’t think they will let L&T get hold of every tech required.
        They will surely hold a lot of things back. Just like they fooled HAL all these years.

  10. Kiran Kumar A V says:

    Secondly Bharat Ji,

    Do you think that with Mr. Jaishankar (Fmr. FS) as the global strategy president in TATA group (which has collaborated with Lockheed Martin), the govt. will approve the f-16 which has vintage and old aerodynamics and designs even though Doval has asked IAF to cancel RFI for 110 aircraft and go for Tejas MK 2 and AMCA.

    To make it impressive and attractive, the head of Lockheed martin has said that they are going to include certain technology of f-22 and f-35 (which according to my opinion they will NOT add)

    (you are also featured in this video)

    Don’t you think TATAs may use Jaishankar as a weapon for their business and other dealing with Govt. (to convince) and perhaps get almost all deals for TATAs and sidelining other companies.
    My view (which may be wrong) is that this was their main strategy to hire Jaishankar and not the reason which they have stated in public.

    What’s your view on it?

    And Thirdly, do you think Tejas Mk1 (lower version of MK1a) is an good aircraft which can be inducted into IAF.

    • Read my forthcoming book — Staggering Forward: Narendra Modi and India’s Global Ambition (for a lot of info and analysis about specifically this issue, and lots others)!

      • Kiran Kumar A V says:

        Sir when is the book going to be launched? if you can give some date and which publisher?

      • Kiran Kumar A V says:

        Bharat ji, for your information (may be to add to your new book): may be we can related this to why our airforce wishes to vilify Tejas but in america f-35 is not vilified even when it had some of the most difficult problems. Read it – it was nearly 100 degree temp inside f-35 cockpit when the canopy did not open during first flight;

        an account by a former employee of Lockheed Martin on

        text below: pasted as it is:

        I am writing as anonymous because I was a Lockheed Martin employee and executive for over 30-years and I was also intimately involved with the F-22 and the F-35 program. My anonymity is because I’ve witnessed other former Lockheed employees who have criticized the company and the program experience certain “issues”. I don’t need to suddenly have my pension stop, or get audited for multiple years by the IRS. I am writing a book on the financial and criminal misconduct of the Military-Industrial- Congressional complex and I am doing so under a pen name. This is a short sample of some of the information in that book.

        First, the Joint Strike Fighter(F-35) requirements came from 11 different countries and 3 US military services. It was advertised as a clean sheet of paper design for a true fifth gen fighter. The old adage about using a committee to design a horse and you wind up with a camel is true. Only this time it’s a turd, not a camel. The pilots who fly it call it the Turd. It is more than a turd – it is an accident waiting to happen and one day it will take the life of a brave American pilot just like the F-22 has. For example, I was there the day they had to use a chain saw to cut open the canopy of the first test jet to get the pilot out because it wouldn’t open. He was sitting there in the Ft Worth 100+ degree sun literally baking alive. They towed the jet into a hangar but he was still cooking. He had to be lifted out through the hole and rushed to the medical center to be re hydrated using IV. Never saw that on the evening news, did you? The AC system on the jet quit working during the test flight because of a faulty part from one of the way too many subcontractors who sold crappy parts to Lockheed so, with cockpit temps soaring above 100 degrees, he aborted the test flight and RTB’d only to find that the canopy wouldn’t open. Not an easy day. Why did Lockheed buy crappy parts you ask? Another old adage applies here: Follow the money. Congressional pressure/influence coupled with poor processes and procedures and a cost cutting mentality because of a Firm, Fixed Price contract well over $200B for an unproven aircraft using high risk immature technologies. Gee, what could possibly go wrong?

        Let’s follow the money: You see; the program is one of the largest political pork programs in the history of the US. That’s why it will never be cancelled. It has lined the pockets of Republicans and Democrats, ensured their re-elections and made $MM’s for their contractor cronies and is probably the best example of bipartisan politics in recent history. Boondoggle is a kind term. This has to be considered criminal. People are afraid that if Donald Trump becomes president, he’ll start investigating things like this because he’s not an insider and he will make them pay – a novel concept.

        The 11 countries were there just for show and as potential buyers for the trumped up business cases. We (the US government and Lockheed) gave them the illusion of importance. The early meetings I was involved in never ever took the clean sheet of paper approach – NFW. Everyone was overwhelmed by the steaming pile of requirements and so basically just ignored them and used the 3 US military services. We were at the Paris Airshow one year and I remember one exec saying something like “those assholes (foreign countries) will buy anything we make and if they don’t like it, then they can go buy some piece of shit MIG or Dassault”. The US Air Force and Lockheed already had the design. Remember that Boeing was in the competition with their version – called Miss Piggy by some and Monica by others because of the gaping air intake and big nose (yes, it was around that time when Ole Bill and Monica got caught exchanging DNA samples in the Oval Orifice). The program was being run by the USAF, who has dictated fighter design for years. The 11 countries and Navy and USMC? Well, the USAF was just being nice and inclusive but at the end of the day, GEN Jumper and the fly boys went with what they knew, and that was the F-22 heritage. Lockheed execs did a masterful job of convincing them that they could re-use much of the F-22 design. Look at a picture of a Raptor and a Turd flying together. Tell the difference? Subtle details but most obviously the Raptor has 2 engines and the Turd has one.

        Background: In 2006, congress and the DOD, in a rare moment of intelligent clarity and bipartisanship concern for the tax payer, cancelled the F-22,whose costs were spiraling out of control. The Raptor also had known problems and issues; most notably the pilot oxygen system, which has never been totally fixed and cost at least one pilot his life. I was in the company of some Raptor pilots about a year ago and they still have the infamous “Raptor cough”, a dry hacking sound. Ask yourself why the Raptor has never been used in combat. The real answer is that it takes so much time, effort and money to keep the jets flying and so it can’t sustain the sortie rates required for major combat ops.Back then Lockheed and the USAF were deeply invested in the F-22; financially and emotionally. We knew that it was on the chopping block, so the USAF and Lockheed did a full court press. Lockheed wanted to sell more jets and the USAF wanted to buy more jets. It was a classic example of the self-licking ice cream cone. We jointly performed huge multi million dollar warfare modeling and simulation studies using worst case scenarios of what would happen if a peer competitor country that may start with the letter C were to launch a major all-out attack against the US. We needed to build the case for more F-22’s and so we started with the answer and backed into the analysis results to say “See, we need 200 more jets or we’re all gonna f#*king die!” Congress and the DOD amazingly saw through the ruse and so it got cancelled. That may have been that last intelligent thing congress and the DOD ever did before the liberal crazies took over and now spend more time worrying about legislating transgender bathrooms, having women in Special Forces and registering our guns instead of enforcing the laws that are already in place.

        So Lockheed had a huge amount of sunk costs in jigs, tooling and components for the F-22. Reusing the F-22 design would leverage those sunk costs, saving millions in startup and production costs – or so went the line of reasoning. Good idea, bad assumption, very poorly executed. Remember: Firm, fixed price.Which translates to: save money every which way you can and be the low bidder.Use less people and short cut processes was where it hit the fan. Who needs to pay a group of engineers to create a test plans? We don’t need no stinking test plans! Processes and documentation take a hit and quality goes down the toilet. A huge rift developed between Lockheed and the USAF/government and continues to this day. Budgets and schedules ran amok. People were fired or quit when they complained. Technical debt piled up on the I&T side of the V model. Agile processes were introduced on top of an already abbreviated the V model. The leaner we tried to run, the slower we got. Confusion and paranoia settled in at Ft Worth. Then corporate wide layoffs started due to Sequestration. Key technical people were laid off and replaced with new hires. The top execs were so out of touch with what was happening in the trenches it was pathetic. Mismanagement at all levels. They brought in some new execs during a major house cleaning back in 2012 but it still hasn’t helped much. Too little, too late. The F-35 is still a Turd and always will be. It has not nor ever will perform as claimed. Most likely it will suffer even more from maintenance issues than the F-22. And I fear that someday soon, that piss poor excuse for a fighter jet will cost the life of another brave American pilot. During this time, that peer competitor country that starts with C(hina) and Russia have developed their 5th gen fighters and some analysts say they perform better than the F-35 ever will in many aspects. I sort of chuckle when I see the Chinese fighter obviously patterned after the F-22 but with forward canards. Asian countries love to pattern their stuff after the West but with their own twists. Ok, China, go ahead and steal our technology – the jokes on you this time. Canards? So cold war.

        But that’s just one program and there is more and it keeps getting worse but wait for the book. It’ll really piss you off.


        On Friday, January 13, 2017, Marilyn Hewson (CEO Lockheed Martin) met with President-elect Trump. She said: “I also had the opportunity to give him some ideas on things we think we can do to continue to drive the cost down on the F-35 program, so it was a great meeting,”. She also touted that they were bringing 1800 new jobs to the Ft. Worth area and were “close” to a new contract. Oh really? As my Ft. Worth compadres would say: qué chingaos? Time to throw some BS flags.

        BS Flag #1: “Close” to a new contract? Negotiations broke down back in November. A Nov 2 article says that Lockheed was awarded a $6.1 billion contract for 57 more Turds. That’s about $107M per jet. Lockheed’s response to the award of the 9th and largest F-35 production contract to-date? “We are disappointed with the decision by the government to issue a unilateral contract action.” The article goes on to say that the government had broken off 18-months of contract negotiations and just went ahead and issued the contract. The “close” Hewson talks about is for a 10th production contract which is probably what CEO Hewson referred to when she met with President-elect Trump. Lockheed is supposed to build 2,443 Turds and the current value of all those is a staggering $379B! That’s a little over $155M per jet. According to the Bloomberg article, “Bruce Tanner, Lockheed’s chief financial officer, said on an Oct. 25 earnings call that the company’s differences with the Defense Department concerned the cost to perform the contract, terms and conditions and “the profit level for the contractor.” Follow the money.

        My inside sources tell me that the government and Lockheed were “billions” apart in the total contract value for this recent contract. Billions!! They weren’t haggling over hundreds of millions, but billions. Unilaterally awarding Lockheed the 9th production contract for $107M per jet essentially sent the message: You signed up for this and told us you could deliver – now eat the difference. Remember, Firm, Fixed Price puts the risk on the contractor, and the risk has materialized.

        Oh, fogot to mention the piddling little $530M Lockheed needs to finish the actual development contract. It’s to be used to complete flight tests and cover “unforeseen delays”, which leads me to:

        BS Flag #2: Over 15-years into the program and Lockheed is just now “thinking” about ways to lower cost? I remember one of my last trips to Ft Worth back in 2012. I saw the numbers they had planned for the next round of layoffs later that year and into 2013 – over 1200. And that was on top of the layoffs they already had. Why? Because the only “costs” Lockheed Martin (and all the other contractors) care about driving down are those that impact their profit margin and executive bonuses. Getting rid of people is the fastest way to do that. But JSF had been in trouble for years even then, and here they were laying off more people. One of the meetings I attended described how the software was out of control. The technical debt between Dev and Integration and Test was months, not weeks. Not enough people to do the work and huge gaps in processes because processes take time and cost money. As of May 2016, did it get better?… Onto the next BS flag.

        BS Flag #3: Hewson also told President-elect Trump that Lockheed would be adding 1,800 new jobs. Now you decide to add jobs? Again, qué chingaos?

        Lets do the math. Let’s say average hourly wage is $60. To keep it simple we’ll add a fully burdened G&A, taxes, benefits, etc., and puts it at around $100/Hr. Times 40 Hrs per week = $4K. Times 52 weeks per year = $208K/Yr per employee. Times 1800 employees = $374.4MM/Yr.

        Part of this mix is the unions that Lockheed has had to deal with. The unions are pricing themselves out of the very jobs they want to preserve but have no interest in changing that policy. We’ve seen that in other industries and but that’s another form of greed we need to discuss in another post.

        The production contracts are still the old Firm, Fixed Price (FFP) that created the whole mess in the first place. Lockheed is betting that Trump and his people aren’t very bright and they can conduct business as usual. Like other firms have, they appear to be kowtowing to the incoming administration and talking big, throwing them a bone but not taking them seriously. A lot of people didn’t take them seriously and look what happened. I’m willing to bet they are in for a huge surprise. I hope that the rules to the old games are going to change with a new El Jefe in town, and corporate giants like Lockheed and Boeing are going to start having their feet held to the fire by the new Sec Def: GEN James “Mad Dog” Mattis. Stay tuned. This is gonna get really good!!

      • Thanks, but my book has gone to press. The Tejas LCA project is dealt with in considerable detail in the book.

      • Kiran Kumar A V says:

        Bharat ji, i have just copy pasted the article from ; the information in it need to be confirmed.

      • &^$#@! says:

        @Kiran Kumar A V: Thanks for the post/article.

  11. Vishnugupt says:

    Prof. Karnad.
    This is regarding your piece on.”Wages of getting close to US”
    On which you have said that….“It is another matter that India did not use this access to technology to build up an innovation-centered defence industrial base of the kind China managed to do”

    China copied the best way to run a “sarkari” establishment from the Russian. They knew complacency will set in so they made departments in the same sector compete with each other to get contracts for the military.

    Like for example the Chinese asked their Shenyang Aircraft Corp. and Chengdu Aircraft group. to develop their own version of 5th gen fighter aircrafts separately. Just like the Russians do with by making Mikhoyan and Sukhoi compete for orders, which is a very effective practice.

    And back home our socialist leaders rejected the tried and tested model of their “Comrades” and made HAL the alpha and omega of aircraft development. Is it any surprising that it is yet to deliver a good jet engine?
    Curiously the story of Naval development is arguably a little less worse. Perhaps their mediocre success is justified by the fact that Indian ship building PSUs have some level of competition amongst them.

    I have noticed that you have tried to paint Nehru as some sort of a visionary on strategic matters if this is not a “product differentiation” strategy to differentiate your work from other conservative experts who are now days into vocal Nehru bashing.

    Could you please tell us why exactly he failed to institutionalize his version of the “Operation Paper Clip” in a systematic manner which would have been a very logical thing to do? and Why it remained as a one off attempt with Kurt Tank being the only one to be poached? Why did he failed to poach other such experts in other strategic fields relevant for military like the Americans and the Russians(Operation Osoaviakhim) did at the end of the second world war?

    (for the viewers )

    Don’t you think we lost a golden chance again in 1991 when the USSR collapsed? What stopped us from poaching disgruntled ex-soviet scientist from Ukraine and other such former soviet countries?

    • These are all solutions — competition between like defence-industrial complexes carved out of DPSUs headed by Tata and L&T, recruitment of foreign armament designers, scientists and engineers (in the mid-1990s) wich program was nixed by Narasimha Rao coz’ the cabsec at the time complained that the proposed meagre pay packets for these Russian experts would exceed what he made! — all this and more — you’ll find was first disclosed, detailed and analysed in my book ‘Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security’ (2002, 2005). So read it. And elaborated some more in ‘Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)’ (2015). Read that too.

      As to why no follow-up on the Kurt Tank initiative? The scarce monies available to GOI were spent on the dual-use N-program and the Marut HF-24 project. Nehru saw Marut fly but prevented India from crossing the weapon threshold in Spring 1964, for reasons discussed in the book (chiefly reliance on US development aid), when Pu-reprocessing went on stream. Nehru died in May 1964 and most of these forward-looking defence industrial programs he had initiated were suddenly orphaned when Shastri, w/o Nehru’s learning and strategic instincts, took over and the babus came into their own, and the mil brass and civilians in the defence procurement loop discovered with hardware imports ways of obtaining foreign condiments for their rough bread!

      This book was the first revisionist tome on Nehru’s foreign and mil policies. I started out when researching this book by being dismissive of Nehru until I went into the official archives and recently declassified material in the UK and the US, and interviewed the stalwarts of the N-program, etc. This was a book based on such original research — not on opinion-mongering. Which is to say that one’s views have to be tempered by history and facts, not biases and historical perceptions not grounded in anything except unmerited prejudice. Where’s the differentiation strategy here? Everyone really should read more, know more of the real history before rushing to judgements.

      • Vishnugupt says:

        I am afraid i see some grave inconsistencies in your claims about Mr.Nehru.

        To paraphrase you from your book( why India is not a great power yet),
        “A poor Britain’s Queen sanctioned the proposal to built a powerful navy with all the precious little she had to be able to conquer the world”.

        I totally agree, but why do you pooh-pooh the fact that Nehru “squandered” the scarce monies available to GOI on Idiotic ventures like “The Mahalnobis plan” to industrialize a dirt poor country by building massive state owned industries with abysmal IRR(Internal rate of return) and tying down the scare capital forever and thereby leaving no room for military development.

        While you call the Queen a visionary for building a world wide empire with modest resources, don’t you think we are justified in criticizing Mr. Nehru for squandering the precious little monies that India had to realise his “socialist utopia”?

        I for one would refer to someone as strategic Visionary only if he/she possessed qualities like, the ability to look into the eyes of his adversary or counterpart and knowing exactly if he could be trusted or needs to be obliterated, knowing exactly if he is surrounded by sycophants or true advisors, knowing very well that it is better for a leader to be feared than loved,knows the importance for taking timely and decisive decisions, knows very well that global leadership is not served on a platter to the morally upright but is snatched away and enjoyed by the cold blooded morally bankrupt hypocrites with a stick bigger than the others.And lastly but no the least, knowing very well that “knowing how to do” something is just as important as “knowing what to do”.

        I am sure you would agree with me that MR. Nehru possessed non of these qualities.
        Common sense and intellectual acumen are foundational qualities which a visionary possess, it is not turned “ON” on some occasions(like starting a nuclear programme,setting up IITs) and turned “OFF” during others occasions( while attending college at Cambridge where he earned a “gentleman’s” pass degree at Cambridge instead of a regular degree and everything else,from China, to UNSC, to Kashmir).

        You have spoken at length about his vision to start NAM as India’s own Monroe doctrine,but do intentions count for anything at all in geo-politics?

        If you are correct in judging Doval’s intellectual acumen trough his speeches, i suggest you should do the same and listen to his 1962 speeches during the war and speech after the humiliating defeat to gauge Nehru’s acumen.

        How could an analyst of your stature call a man as a visionary who once said “In those barren land and mountains of Ladakh and Arunachal, not even a blade of grass grows, why Parliament is wasting time,”.

        He didn’t even have the common sense as a leader to “act” strong when his countrymen were looking upto him at a time of crisis.And if he had half a brain he would have known that showing weakness is the ultimate mistake one could make.

        On the other hand true visionaries speak like this even on the face of insurmountable odds .

        “We shall go on to the end. We shall fight in France, we shall fight on the seas and oceans, we shall fight with growing confidence and growing strength in the air, we shall defend our island, whatever the cost may be. We shall fight on the beaches, we shall fight on the landing grounds, we shall fight in the fields and in the streets, we shall fight in the hills; we shall never surrender”…..Churchill 1940.

        People identify a visionary leader from his words first and actions next.

        I am pretty sure when Churchill said
        “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.” he had men like Nehru,V.K Krishnamenon etc on his mind.

        And boy was he right.

        I want to end by saying, it is the deeds which counts not the intentions. And Mr. Nehru was a just a needy, egoistic, emotional and intellectually mediocre politician who was lucky to be born at the right time to the right man at the right place.

        And India deserved someone better than him.

      • &^%$#@! says:

        Very good post @VishnuguptL Churchill was a genocidal criminal and a liar, But boy was he correct when he stated’: “Power will go to the hands of rascals, rogues, freebooters; all Indian leaders will be of low caliber & men of straw. They will have sweet tongues and silly hearts. They will fight amongst themselves for power and India will be lost in political squabbles.”.

  12. Veeru says:

    Kockums and Navantia are the best options for India to develop Submarines.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      Kockums is (26,…) is mostly tailored for the Barents Sea which differs vastly from the Indian Ocean, in terms of salinity, depth, temperature, etc….

      • &^%$#@! says:

        Kockums (A 26,…) is mostly tailored for the Barents.Baltic Sea which differs vastly from the Indian Ocean, in terms of salinity, depth, temperature, etc….

  13. Sir, I may subscribe to a vastly different viewpoint when it comes to politics, with you, but I certainly think the present government would do good much in heeding to your expert suggestions. Having said that how would you evaluate Modi government’s performance in the field of national security in comparison to Sonia-Manmohan govt(UPA 1, first four years)?

    • &^%$#@! says:

      In general, NDA=UPA – the wretched Family. However, the current dispensation seems intent on exploring even lower depths.

    • No better and, in many ways, a lot worse (as detailed in my next book to be released in August/September, especially with regard to surrendering the country’s residual strategic autonomy with Modi’s policy with the US-tilt.

  14. &^%$#@! says:

    This is the limit:

    It could seem to be a gimmick to pressure India to buy more Rafales. Modi’s appeasement policy has dangerously backfired,

    • the question is with Polls approaching real fast, why he will do that ? he will not do that to give opposition a chance to attack him, i think he will sweep this deal under the carpet & start a fresh with Moscow which he has done recently & the MEA Sushma Swaraj’s statement regarding trump , i think she is on the right track to pally upto Moscow Once Again

  15. &^%$#@! says:

    The Meteor AAM was an important part of the Rafale deal (see my above posted link on June 6).By placing severe restrictions without cause and reason on the use of the Meteor the French nave already breached the spirit of the contact, whose very purpose ostensibly was to insulate India from unreasonable and motivated sanctions.
    Now, it is learned that sale of the overrated Scalp subsonic LACM (already part of the Indian deal) has been blocked for sale to Egypt (a “strategic ally of the US”)
    The Scalp was an important segment of that countries Rafale deal.
    Both the Scalp and the Meteor are manufactured by MBDA, There is absolutely nothing that stops further sanctions and restrictions being placed on important segments of the Rafale deal. I believe that these superficially disconnected events provide sufficient cause to temporarily cancel/put on hold the Rafale deal till a thorough investigation was made on the effect of the restriction (and any further ones) on the spirit of the Terms & Conditions of the contract, and of their potential dangers of restrictions to the IAF is made.
    One may recall that the GoI foolishly waived a sovereign guarantee in place of a Letter from the French President, which isn’t worth the paper it is written on. Meanwhile, the Kaveri should be developed on a war footing and further developments on the SU 30 MKI, such as the Super 30, be vigorously pursued.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      As an Addendum should the above prescriptions be challenged by French, evidence of French undependability as a supplier should be raised and NO monies be parted with. The French behavior should not be used as an excuse by the vastly compromised GoI to run and buy some US junk. One should bear in mind that apart from India’s own experiences with the US, the museums in the US are replete with examples of treaties between the USG and the Native Americans broken by the USG citing fictitious reasons.

  16. Sir you must write letter to PMO on need to conduct more TN tests

  17. namantailor says:

    Do users and AEC want more tests? I don’t think that they have told PMO to think about this topic. What is your opinion and have you talked about this with any official or regarding person??

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