Thursday, February 27, 2014

INS Sindhuratna Accident: Deeper Questions

The mishap of INS Sinduratna yesterday  and  Sindhurakshak in august last year are just two of the ten accidents that took place  in past seven months in Indian Navy alone . An episode of an army soldier killing his five colleagues before committing suicide is another tragic incident that made into headlines of all papers and TV channels yesterday. Court of inquiry has been ordered in both the cases and reports will tell us the technical reasons  of mishaps.These two apparently uncorrelated incidents call for deeper understanding and pacifying  increasing level of depression and frustration in men and officer in uniform.
Chief of Naval staff Admiral Joshi resigned yesterday taking moral responsibility of incident and a lot has already been said and written about how our armed forces have lived to high standard of morality. There is no doubt that our Armed forces have always risen to occasion in crisis and have done exemplary work in peace and war, despite visible divergence between  our politico- bureaucratic set up and  men in uniform.
While it can be argued that aging fleet of submarines in Navy and aircraft in Air force are the major cause of incidents, Yet, corrective measures must also be taken within the armed forces regarding morale and training of men who maintain these machines. Isn't it a matter of concern that no engineer from top IITs and NITs takes the engineering career with armed forces? A look at the promotion policy for different branches within defense will tell you the reasons for that. A comparison between civil counterparts and defense officers adds salt to injury.
The technical staff in ranks who maintain these sophisticated machines are well trained but the question that needs an honest answer is , are they  and their families well looked after ? A rational unbiased study done will easily show that functioning in military organizations still has deep shades of British Raj where lesser mortal sahabs have a different standard of life compared to subordinate in ranks. Closed autonomous decision making and improper grievance redress system are not at all compliant to positive flourishing  and thinking mind. It is high time that an answer is found to why so many trained technical people in uniform decide to quit their career in middle age for an uncertain future while in civil fraternity no one ever quits a government job after 20 years of service.
Hopefully good sense will prevail  and we will see  better coordination  not only between bureaucracy of defense ministry and armed forces but also among people in uniform . It is high time that those in position of power formulate policies and develop work culture that  is sensitive towards self esteem of men placed below them.


  1. Never really thought of regarding this matter. Your post ignited my thoughts. Nonetheless, I hope for a better morning. Now is the election time in India and I am hoping for good......let's see. Tremendous changes are the need of the day!!

    1. Thanks Chirasree , Indeed there is a great deal of shake up needed within and from outside in functioning of Armed forces .Let us hope that our elected representatives and their good offices will learn to respect vertical people and just not wait for them to become horizontal ....


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