Advertisement
Saturday, Nov 27, 2021
Outlook.com
Opinion

No Generalisations Please

Despite the army chief’s bombshell, not every middleman is a crook

No Generalisations Please
No Generalisations Please
outlookindia.com
-0001-11-30T00:00:00+05:53

In the mid-1980s, as a young army officer, I had occasion to ride in the Kolos Tatra vehicles in the dusty deserts of Rajasthan. Compared to the locally manufactured Shaktiman, the army’s 3-tonne workhorse, the ride in the Tatra was an absolute delight. Lost in the romantic world of soldiering, I had no idea that three decades later, this vehicle would be in the eye of a storm—the “bribery bombshell” dropped by army chief Gen V.K. Singh. Given our huge defence budget, a range of operational commitments and the absence an effective military-industrial complex, India remains a magnet for suppliers of defence equipment. Our psus—the private sector has been kept out—have failed to come up with state-of-the-art technologies. Instead, they import systems to stay afloat, like the Kolos Tatra.

The army chief was apparently offered a bribe of Rs 14 crore to renew the monopoly of the Tatra vehicles in the Indian army. This has raised a storm, and all ex-military men working with companies that have a stake in the defence industry are now being viewed with suspicion. However, they are at best proxies for the big boys, who use serving and retired military officers to further their business. One reason for military officers taking this route—mostly after retirement—is that they have the domain expertise to do so. These officers know what is required and some of them can work the system to their employers’ advantage, having served in a branch of the service headquarters dealing with weapon systems and acquisitions.

Advertisement

Outlook Newsletters

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement

Read More from Outlook

Roses Among Thorns: The Many Solidarities Of Diverse Protests

Roses Among Thorns: The Many Solidarities Of Diverse Protests

Every act of dissent is an art. Of pain and pathos. Of hope and new dawn. It’s their story. It’s everyone’s story.

Jai Kisan: Success Of Farmers' Protest Proves The Strength Of Their Convictions

Jai Kisan: Success Of Farmers' Protest Proves The Strength Of Their Convictions

Farmers’ movement reaffirms that peasants are makers of their own rebellion.

Pragmatic Shreyas Iyer Wants To 'Stay In The Moment,' Not Thinking Of Kohli’s Return

Pragmatic Shreyas Iyer Wants To 'Stay In The Moment,' Not Thinking Of Kohli’s Return

Shreyas Iyer scored a century on debut in the first IND vs NZ Test in Kanpur. It remains to be seen whether Iyer will play when Virat Kohli returns for the Mumbai Test.

Machimar Nagar: The Fishermen’s Colony;  An Entry Gate For 26/11 Terrorists

Machimar Nagar: The Fishermen’s Colony; An Entry Gate For 26/11 Terrorists

13 years ago on this day, eight terrorists from Pakistan arrived by sea on the shores of this fishermen colony-Machchimar Nagar, to launch an attack in India’s financial capital.

Advertisement