I have written previously on India’s external affairs and how poorly it is handled – but this is something else – this shows a complete lack of vision. A bit of background – the arms treaty was envisaged by the United Nations to stop illegal trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use by terrorists and other unauthorized/non-state actors.
Indian Delegation At The Arms Trade Treaty Conference
The head of the Indian delegation to the Arms Trade Treaty Conference said the following during the closing arguments of this conference in Geneva ,
“At the commencement of this conference, India had made clear that the ATT should make a real impact on illicit trafficking in conventional arms and their illicit use especially by terrorists and other un-authorised and unlawful non-state actors. The provisions in the final draft on terrorism and non-state actors are weak and diffused and find no mention in the specific prohibitions of the Treaty. … India, she said, has stressed consistently that the treaty should ensure a balance of obligations between exporting and importing states. … India cannot accept that the treaty be used as an instrument in the hands of exporting states to take unilateral force majeure measures against importing states parties without consequences”
United States And India’s Security Interests
The response of the delegation head from United States is as follows: ““While I appreciate the concerns that has been expressed very clearly by India’s representative in the United Nations, my own view is that this treaty will not be harmful to India’s security and certainly not in any way harm the very strong bilateral relationship between India and the US,”
Great – that’s all very good – then what is my point – Why am I wasting my time and yours in this blog post.
Lets Ignore the Obvious – We Are The Largest Arms Importer In The World
We have always blamed high Oil prices and our passion for Gold for our current account deficit and for many of the ailments seen in our economy. What about the defence equipment that we import. India has the dubious distinction of being the largest arms importer in the world. The foreign defence lobbyists would be quick to add that India needs this as it is surrounded by enemies. They don’t lose any options in taking the level of Jingoism to one notch higher – all to serve their own very interests – arms imports into India. And are you aware what “bilateral relationship” is being referred to by the US delegation ? – its one where we pay billions and where they sell us arms – hardly a bilateral relationship. In fact it should be one where we have the upper hand – since we are paying the moolahs – but the UN arms treaty and our babus in the defence ministry have managed to achieve the opposite.
The Land Of The IIT’s Cannot Produce A Rifle
The scale of this is mind-blowing – recently it was discovered that possibly in a one-billion dollar rifle purchase , a hundred million dollars was given as bribe. Let me walk you through the economics of this – if the final retail price is a billion dollars of which one hundred million dollars is a bribe , then I can bet you the cost of manufacture of these rifles (it’s a rifle not a rocket) cannot be more than a hundred million giving a cool eight hundred million profit to the manufacturer. A hundred million bribe looks less – this should have been more – we got gypped But I have again digressed from the obvious – in the land of the IIT can we not even produce a rifle ???
Rot In Our Defence Manufacturing Establishments – Tatra Trucks
Or is it that systematically or otherwise , rot has been made to set in our defence manufacturing establishments – my favorite example – BEML tatra trucks – taking fourteen years to backward engineer a truck ? There is no end to it – the LCA that got produced a few decades late, the ALH which no-one uses, aircraft carriers that will be produced a few decades less and with costs over multiple times what was originally envisaged – the list goes on.
Advertorials and our “Free Press”
Unfortunately our press has been fed the happy pill. Recently there was an article that an under-water missile was fired but that there are no submarines capable of carrying them – thereby leading to a requirement to make some – giving ample future opportunities to the arms importers and the corrupt. If we don’t have an underwater submarine capable of carrying such missiles – why test such a missile ? Call me a conspiracy theorist , but the intent of the test was probably to hasten further purchases from foreign sources ? No wonder then that lobbying firms and other such establishments are making a beeline to set up offices in India.
Privatization of Defence Manufacturing Establishments
Have you seen that whenever this is mentioned a few standard excuses are given, notably
- this is against our strategic interest
This is my read on the above – this is against the interest of global arms dealers and the largest of arms exporters notably the western world (the movie Lord of War is a must watch). And also against the interests of all those in the defence ministry taking multi-million dollar bribes. But don’t call this against the interest of India. It is time we take a re-look at this defence entire sector. The pied pipers have been playing us for fools – it is not that the United Nations treaty is against India – but the point that everyone is missing , is that India can produce its own weapons , but it is not being allowed to do so due to a combination of bad policies and poor public sector manufacturing establishments – how about we focus on this ?
Image Source : Wikipedia Public Domain