Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Another mishap in the Indian Navy.

INS Sindhuratna, an EKM submarine acquired from Russia in 1988, was about 40 nautical miles from Bombay when disaster had struck. A fire had developed in the battery charging compartment and as per the standard operating procedure, the compartment was isolated so that the fire could be put out with the fire fighting system available in the boat.

Two personnel seem to have got trapped within the battery pit and have minimal chances of survival. It's further reported that five more personnel have been seriously injured who have since been evacuated to the hospital ashore for management.

A situation that appears almost similar to that of INS Sindhurakshak, to a layman - another submarine of the same class - that had exploded and sunk alongside, in Bombay, in Aug '13.

Admiral DK Joshi, the naval chief, has resigned owning moral responsibility for the string of accidents that have rocked the IN over the last six months. While appreciating that his action conforms to the highest of traditions, a lot many questions need to be answered at this juncture as to why the IN has reached such a sorry state. Someone needs to answer and here are the slew of questions that come to my mind off the cuff:-

 (a) Why has the navy not put across its requirements forcefully and cut through bureaucratic apathy towards
       its needs?
 (b) If the submarine acquisition programme - painstakingly scripted by the IN and thereby, a factor of great
       importance to national security - has been stalled, it called for drastic action like:-
       (i) Who has been the cause? Is it an individual, a group of individuals or a caucus? Shouldn't the cause
            have been identified, exposed and effectively, neutralised for good by now?
       (ii) Shouldn't mid-course action have been applied as quickly as possible to bring the submarine
            acquisition programme back on track? The bottlenecks of the 'Scorpene project' should have been
            removed and the production given an impetus, for starters!
       (iii) And if there's a bureaucratic stonewalling that's slowing the acquisition process in general, why
             hasn't a remedy got worked out at the highest levels?
   (c) Or have the fifth columnists within the system taken over?

Coming back to the field. My salutes and prayers for all the brave men on board the Sindhuratna. Take care!


I feel angry when the media clubs these mishaps in the same breath - the submarine accident due to material failure, a grounding that's purely due to an error of judgement or even a collision that's a combination of an error in judgement and the vagaries of the weather. They don't seem to understand what the navy is all about!  

No comments:

Post a Comment