Earlier, Samajwadi Party (SP) chief Mulayam Singh Yadav attacked the UPA government, calling it an useless government and asked it to protect its borders first. Is Mulayam apprehensive that the Chinese could gobble up UP and he ends up being a 'chief minister' of a Chinese province instead of the prime minister of India, a dream he has been nurturing for long?
Calling the UPA government useless for the Chinese aggression doesn't convey anything constructive. In 1997, when Singh himself was the defence minister of the United Front government led by late I K Gujral, he had said that no funds crunch would ever hinder India's defence requirements and that the PM and the then Union finance minister, P Chidambaram, had assured that funds would never be an issue when it comes to modernising the country's military power.
A former army chief said how funds crunch was affecting it despite tall claims
But former army chief General Shankar Rouchowdhury had later said that modernisation of the Indian armed forces was suffering owing to funds crunch and the then central government had reportedly asked defence ministry officials not to go ahead with defence deals because of the resource crunch.
So, the argument goes back to square one. If successive governments failed to treat the national security issue on a priority basis, then there is no wonder that the nation will always fall short of the expectations when facing strong adversaries. Sixty-six years since independence, we are yet to become a self-dependent military power with a modern army.
Each time a crisis surfaces at the borders, the defence minister of the day reiterates 'Hamara Bharat Mahaan' sort of consolation. On the ground, there is no long-term planning to build up a coherent approach to the border issues. The Chinese nation was founded after us but yet they have scaled great heights. We have left bickering among ourselves. In 1997, when asked whether there was any difference between the prime minister and himself on important defence projects, Mulayam had made the sacrosanct statement that under no circumstances will the country's integrity and unity be compromised. Today, it is Antony's term to repeat it.
Who will speak for India?