The chiefs of 3 armed forces (Army, Airforce, Navy) in India have a “consultative” say in procurement of defence equipment. Decision making authority lies with the Defence Minister and the Bureaucrats in the ministry.
Shocking, isn’t it?
NDTV on the 9pm show invited a debate reacting to comments by the former Navy Chief, Admiral Joshi citing his resignation and calling out the problems in the civilian-defence relationship in India. Abhishek Singhvi, spokesperson of the Congress, during the debate articulated the cause of this disempowerment of the armed forces and their chiefs quite well — “The Indian constitution necessitates complete civilian control over the armed forces. And we’ve come to implement this as complete ‘Civil Servant’ control over the armed forces“.
Ofcourse, even as he personally believes (and he said so) that this is a badly needed structural change required in the functioning of the armed forces and defence ministry relationship, he and his government for 10 years did nothing to change it. Just excuses of the bureaucracy being an “import of the British system“. Sigh!
Over to Narendra Modi to bring this change.