Thursday, March 20

Priorities over war games

I received this email on an email, notice the heading.

-----Original Message-----
From: ......

Sent: 14 March 2008 02:58

Subject: [india-unity] Screwed up priorities of India?

64 countries invited for war game

Fri, Mar 14 03:13 AM

India will show off its military prowess to observers from 64 countries at a joint war game being conducted by the Army and Air Force in Rajasthan next week. As many as 94 military attaches and observers, including personnel from China, Israel, the US and the UK will witness "Exercise Brazen Chariots" that will showcase the latest equipment and tactics used by the Indian forces.

India will field its frontline fighters, including Su 30 MKIs, attack helicopters, the T-90 Main Battle Tank, advanced UAVs and SMERCH Multi Barrel Rocket Launchers, at the exercise that will be conducted in the Pokharan firing ranges.

"The aim of the exercise is to give an opportunity to observers from foreign countries to see our military assets and witness the capabilities of our forces in a joint operations environment," said Major General V K Narula, Additional Director General of Public Information, during a briefing at the Army Headquarters.

However, there will be no representative from Pakistan at the exercise as the country has not been invited. Army officials said India currently did not have a bilateral agreement with Pakistan to witness each other's military exercises. While Israel has confirmed its participation, Iran will not be present at the exercise.

This is what I responded with:

Priorities as in they should have done the war games on counter terrorism rather than army/air force?

Actually, these war games are part of the elaborate game that nations play, it is preferable to actually fighting a war as it shows off the equipment and tactics in a staged environment. It is like the very highly visible home security alarm system unit attached on the front of the house, it tells would be thieves that the house is protected.

So from that perspective, these kinds of war games are useful. But not only that, it is very useful for making more allies, and helping to get better arms deal conditions (after all, you are showcasing their equipment...., think of it as an industrial fair...) and finally, it allows our soldiers and airmen to actually get to practice with their weapons in as near battle conditions as possible.

But xxxxx, we also constantly do counter-intelligence war games, but they do not hit the press for obvious reasons. From what I understand, almost every week, there is a war game in Delhi and in the other paramilitary training colleges.

Or did you mean priorities about something else?

Generally, our system of national resource allocation works on the basis of compromise done in parliament which is based upon democratic credentials. People obviously try to keep on trying to get money for their own pet clauses and reasons and again as it should be, but one should remember one aspect. Resource allocation is not binary. You cannot say something like, why spend 100 quid on the military when you could have used the 100 quid on 2 hospitals. It is a great soundbite, but effectively tells anybody in the know that that argument is stupid. Taken to the logical end, you will end up with no military and only hospitals. Great for the country, no?

But welcome to human decision making.... :)

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