Our security in murky waters

 As reported, it is indeed very shocking and disturbing that after several MiG accidents

and mishaps, now it’s the turn of our ships and submarines. This is indeed a reflection of

the laxity on the part of the defence ministry. Most of the accidents and mishaps that occur are due to very old equipment, in use well beyond its prime.  How is that our defence ministry ignored the needs of the Navy?  Isn’t it a question of our security? It is creditable that the naval chief took moral responsibility and resigned. But never would our politicians, ministers in general and the defence minister, in particular, have accepted responsibility for such incidents.  It is still scary to imagine what would have we done had we been in the midst of war at this time?  We would have been totally unprepared.

S P Sharma

Our safety caught in tug-of-war

Admiral D K Joshi has paid the price for the government’s callous attitude towards the defence safety in general and the importance of navy in particular(February 27). A man with 38 years’ experience and with 15 months still to go for  superannuation, has been made a scapegoat by the political administration. Whatever be the nature of the tug-of-war between the defence minister and the navy chief, an institution as important as the navy has been left in disarray. INS Sindhuratna was involved in a minor fire mishap in 2010, and had received a facelift after its quality was said to have been upgraded. However, considering the fact that Sindhuratna had to be phased out earlier, the moot question is whether the submarine was compelled to operate beyond its shelf-life? It goes without saying that poor infrastructure is plaguing our navy. Due to the scarcity of submarines, the older ones are being used more and more, with no adequate regard to safety and security of the submarines and of human lives. One of the reasons attributed to the August 2013 tragedy of INS Sindhurakshak was the leakage of the hydrogen battery, and the same is also mentioned now. Moreover, 10 navy warships have been involved in accident of one or another in the last 10 months. So all these point to the defence ministry’s inability to learn from past experiences and its unwillingness to keep pace with the modern times. AK Antony has a lot to explain.

Ganapathi Bhat

Paperwork costs us CERN spot

At  the time of the inauguration of the ‘Large Hadron Collider’ experiment by CERN in a place straddling between France and Switzerland, many Indian scientists participated, including quite a few from the Saha Institute Nuclear Physics and Variable Cyclotron Centre, both of Salt Lake, Kolkata amongst other renowned scientific research establishments in India. The scientific community of Europe was all praise for their valuable contribution. This year, India is on the verge of losing its status as an associate member of CERN, as the PMO, of which the presiding officer is the PM himself, could or did not finish the necessary paperwork for being qualified. Pakistan meanwhile is qualifying. The government of India was otherwise busy finding ways to gag the media, to ban opinion polls.

N K Das Gupta

Mother of all pleas

Whenever the SC raps Subrata Roy of Sahara, readers can anticipate full page advertisements in all the newspapers across the nation. The print media benefits, or earns. The man and the company are unable to convince the court, but tries to prevail upon the general public with these declarations of his innocence and honesty. And then this time, 12 lac workers seem to have shelled out of their pockets, their hard-earned money for the super boss, with these full page ads.  It is indeed a superman-hit to get away each time from the rap of the SC.  And the news items this time report the apprehension of the 12 lac workers regarding their future, if Subrata is arrested. Can India afford to have 12 lac workers out of jobs? Isn’t it evident that his lawyers’ plea before the court regarding his non-appearance was unconvincing? Another Sanjay Dutt in the making!

Kedarnath Rajah Aiyar

Analyse this

The use of the epithet ‘impotent’ by Union External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid, to describe Narendra Modi for his failure to stop the 2002 Gujarat riots underscores four points. One, there is no low to which the political discourse in India will descend.  Two, a high education in India and abroad is no guarantee for learning polished speech. Three, if one looks at the difference between the connotations of impotent and incompetent, the former is more sympathetic of the person targeted than the latter. Impotence is lack of power to do something even when the Individual wanted to do it while incompetence means incapacity to do it. Did Khurshid imply that Modi was keen to check the riots but he did not have the resources to accomplish it?

 Lastly, BJP need not take offence at the use of the word.  What should we then say about Rajiv Gandhi, because he too failed to control 1984 riots?

Y G Chouksey

With friends like these…

The Congress doesn’t require any opposition to discredit it, its own members, like Khurshid and Mani Shankar Iyer to do the job. Already, the poll forecast predicts that the Congress will get less than 100 seats in the forthcoming general elections. With these comments by senior leaders of the party, its chances are further jeopardised.

Wouldn’t this adjective apply to his party’s own chief ministers, like in Assam, Andhra Pradesh and in his party ally’s state, UP?  So many innocents killed and public property vandalised. For once, Rahul Gandhi rose to the occasion and condemned Khurshid’s remark.

S K Venkateshan

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