Two points need to be made with reference to Ajai Shukla’s article on Battlefield Management Systems (December 5) and “Risk it like Rajiv” by Shekhar Gupta (November 25). Richard Simpkin, in “Race to the Swift” (1985), postulated that commanders on the 21st century battlefields should aim to “get inside the decision loop of the enemy”. In essence, this required plans to be executed in such a manner that the enemy was presented with a new set of circumstances even as he was reacting to the first scenario presented — upsetting his decision-making and reactions. The emphasis was on speed — in collection of real-time information, in decision-making and plans dissemination and execution — on a continuous basis over time. This remains one of the cardinal rules of combat. It is clear that without an integrated battlefield management system, our forces will be severely handicapped. The government must therefore review this as suggested by Ajai Shukla.
Shekhar Gupta’s brilliant article brought home the other point. We need to ask ourselves who benefits from the continual delays/cancellations/scams in the modernisation plans for our armed forces. The prime beneficiaries are China, Pakistan and the forces (internal and external) that benefit from a reduced capability of the Indian state. Nothing more needs to be said. The government must put in place a system to differentiate between a) punishment for corruption in a defence acquisition deal and b) the benefit of the equipment ordered. It is little short of ridiculous that no one goes to jail and excellent equipment is refused to the armed forces.
Colonel A K Ram Singh (Retd) Indore
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