September 11, 2009missilesnuclear deterrencescienceSecuritystrategic affairs

Kalam’s failings

The dangers of elevating humans to superhuman status

This is an archived blog post from The Acorn.

Over on his blog, Manoj Joshi posts his Mail Today article on how the legend of APJ Abdul Kalam resulted in poor technological choices and ultimately, as sub-standard missile arsenal. Excerpts:

Whatever may have been his successes as SLV-3 project manager, his tenure as DRDO chief has been something of a disaster.

Because of (diversions caused by Kalam’s dogmatic insistence), India’s long-range missile deterrent has been delayed by about a decade and even today it depends on aircraft dropped weapons, not missile borne, for its credible minimum deterrent

Kalam’s very prestige became his, and his country’s, worst enemy. He had attained oracular status by 1998, and the result was that the governments of the day blindly accepted what he had to say. He was not willfully dishonest, but his fixations and whims led to diversions and delays for which the country has paid a huge price. Perhaps his greatest, and in a sense forgivable, weakness was his obsession on indigenous” development.

But the argument that India’s missiles are indigenous” and Pakistan’s are based on Chinese, American, North Korean or someone else’s technology is a meaningless one. Military acquisitions are not about the purity” of solutions, but time-urgent answers to a problem. And who will deny that Pakistan has got more than enough solutions” in the nuclear weapon delivery area, to any threat India can offer. [Mail Today/Manoj Joshi’s blog]



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