Monday, July 27, 2009

Enemy Killer or Suicide pills ?

Last week was full of news about Arihant class submarine. Media was flashing with comments and views about our "achievements" and "advancements" in military and nuclear weaponry. Lots were said about the engineering marvel and indigenous skills in the area of science and technology.

Actually not just the submarine, rather everything from the timing(10th anniversary of Kargil war) to the name("Enemy killer" in sanskrit) were carefully chosen to fit the propaganda machine.

But there was some thing related yet not fitting the overall mood. GAG, The Indian Government's financial audit watchdog, pointed out the massive corruption in Gorshkov contracts. This is yet another major one in a series of such scams associated with defence procurement in the last one year alone.The Arihant was developed as part of a clandestine project called Advanced Technology Vessel(ATV) costing a mind boggling sum of $2.9 billion. Military and other defence entities like RAW have huge funding for their surreptitious projects and operations like this without much accountability or any discussion in parliament. Recently there were reports about RAW, which is riddled with the worst form of corruption and nepotism. Of course, no actions were taken against any of these officers or not even an enquiry was known to have conducted. Anything under the name of national security is given a blank cheque and outright immunity. And its going up and up all the time. In this year's union budget BE, allocation for defence is increased by a margin of 24%. while there is a 23.3 % decline in Agriculture and Allied Activities and 14 % decline on major subsidies.

Its said that with this, India has joined an exclusive club of 6 nations who posses this capability.

But where do we stand when it comes to the issues affecting the ordinary people of this country ? India stands at an abysmal 128 in UNDP ranking. Much behind war torn Sri Lanka(99) and many of the "poor" African countries like Namibia. 42% of Indians cannot read or write. According to world bank, 42% of the Indians live under poverty. In fact 25% of the people earn less than 12 Rs per day. India has a higher rate of malnutrition among the children under the age of 3 than any other country in the world. Income inequality is one of the highest in the world. Now can we think that the situation is actually improving ? sure not ! Contrary to the official claims, the poverty in India has actually been rising for past many years

Why is that even after 60 years of independence, we stand at the rock bottom in these rankings while stand "top" in nuclear weaponry ?

Actually, nuclear weaponry is a colossal wastage of money and effort for countries like India and Pakistan. The only beneficiaries in entire Nuclear business is countries like US who sell this to third world countries like India and Pakistan.

The myth of greatness and deterrence achieved by Nuclear weaponry as put forward by media and governments are totally false.If the spectacular collapse of USSR has shown us anything, its the inanity in greatness of military power. Soviet Union was member of virtually every "club" out there in weaponry and nuclear "advancements". Still, none of these helped them from being shattered in to pieces. Actually they were trapped in to arms race and ruined by the effects of the same.

Deterrence (or hoping the enemy would not attack us because of fear of retaliation) is another myth propagated by Nuclear pundits and right wing media. Nothing could be farther from truth. By its very nature, Nuclear weapons cannot be a deterrence. The time and space confronted with nuclear attacks are minutes or even seconds. It eliminates any chance of retaliation or secondary attack. As former chief of Navy admiral Ramdas had put it, When a missile is coming towards you, the chief Executive or whoever is in charge, will have 50 or 60 seconds to determine whether the missiles carrying flowers, bouquets or greeting from Pakistan or a nuclear warhead. So he will press the button as nobody can take a chance. So such a scenario could rapidly spiral in to a nuclear holocaust. By its very nature, nuclear technology is a dangerous beast which nobody can harness. And worst part is that nuclear weapons cost a lot more than what is being said by the governments and media. The associated safe mechanisms, command and control system, waste management and whole paraphernalia costs an order of magnitude more than what is said.

By any measure, US is the biggest nuclear and military power in the world. Despite being the beter noire, Cuba is not pursuing any nuclear ambition and yet successfully protects its borders and interests from US imperialist agenda.

All these thoughts make more sense now as we are marching towards being a nuclear power house and military partner of US/Israel. Hit by the worst form of recession, US is in need of our cheques in the form of defence bills. Raytheon and Lock Heed Marten are just conduits for this reverse flow of money.

1 comment:

  1. A moot point to be discussed indeed. The appaling danger hidden behind the propaganda is very well un ravelled. Actually the whole project of nuclear submarine from the beginning itself is wrapped up in the secret. Even the fund allocation was not published in the budget notification. Nobody was allowed to see Arihant so far, and the commissioning was held in a secret dock near Vishakhapattanam. You have raised a pertinent question and congrats, you have put it in a clear and streight forward way.
    Umarul Farooque