New Delhi,Apr 1 (): Indian Navy has left its warships including Vikramaditya defenceless and open to attacks from enemy. Ironically the Indian defence ministry for the first time saw a minister in the saddle for two terms. Indian Navy went without a Chief for more than one month. Now, it turns out that neighbours Pakistan and China’s growing fleet of submarines can easily destroy the Indian fleets.
Indian Navy had been asking the defence ministry to upgrade the ageing Russian helicopter Kamov 28 used for anti-submarine operations. Way back in mid 80s, Indian Navy bought ten choppers and now in 2014, six have been grounded, reason being the spares are not available.
Five class destroyers and an aircraft carrier have to be given protection with four obsolete choppers. Indian Navy invited bids for upgrade and the proposal was that the Russian manufacturer and a western company collaborate to set up sensors. The bids were opened and Finmeccanica was selected to make Ka28s to be the first aircraft to have this technology and the bid was over Rs.2000 crore.
The files got clearance from Cabinet Committee of Security and the ministry and Indian Navy finished the contract. At this juncture, the purchase of Finmeccanica’s AgustaWestland 101 helicopters for VVIP travel hit a block after middlemen were known to have taken money. This put Finmeccanica under CBI lens.
Finally, CBI cleared the anti-submarine deal. After this, the elections were looming and defence ministry got cold feet. After the defence minister’s clearance, it has to be tabled before cabinet committee.
Indian Navy has warships that can detect threats from submarines but anti-submarine copters can neutralize subs. Sea King is yet another chopper that is in use with the Indian Navy.
Opposition has already dubbed the UPA 2 of having left India’s preparedness for war at the lowest and discontent within the ranks. Fearing scams, A K Antony has gone slow on purchases and those where the deals have been cleared are now under CBI probe. All of these factors are mounting up the tension for the Indian Navy.