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Mirage crash: HAL should be accountable

Mirage crash: HAL should be accountable
Highlights

The tragic death of two young and highly trained specialist pilots of the Indian Air Force in the Mirage aircraft crash raises disturbing questions about the ability of HAL in maintaining our aircraft If there is criticism today of HAL from the veterans and decorated officers of the Indian Air Force, it is fully justified in every sense

The tragic death of two young and highly trained specialist pilots of the Indian Air Force in the Mirage aircraft crash raises disturbing questions about the ability of HAL in maintaining our aircraft. If there is criticism today of HAL from the veterans and decorated officers of the Indian Air Force, it is fully justified in every sense.

In this said instance, the pilots were on an acceptance mission of the upgraded and upkept Mirage. In fact, it was the second round of acceptance that was to start when a tyre of the deadly bird came off and veered off the course from the runway leading to the aircraft crashing and turning into a fireball, eyewitness accounts state. Even though the pilots tried to eject, they could not survive as their chutes got burnt down by the fire.

Let us not drag the ongoing Rafael tussle into this and try to tarnish the image of the HAL further. The question is one of the premium facility's ability to upkeep the vital Defence aircraft. We have already a depleted strength to guard our skies and with the neighbouring enemies going in for ultra-modernisation and joining their forces against us, it is time to take stock of the situation afresh.

Even the HAL should be accountable to the country and more to the Defence forces which rely solely on it and trust it with their lives. There seems to be no evaluation of the persons at the helm in any manner. It is not just those in charge of the HAL, but also those ruling us who must be made accountable.

Did any Defence Minister ever turn his attention to the HAL apart from routine visits and appraisals? Is there any coordination among the Air Force, Army and Navy and the HAL authorities? Veterans recall the neglect of HAL thus: “In all 35 Defence Ministers have overseen this giant DPSU since 1947. While pampering its union, none demanded quality, productivity & aeronautical innovation of HAL or hand-picked a dynamic CEO.”

And it is not an observation to be dismissed of as a silly one and not worthy of answering as it comes from Defence veterans. Unfortunately, in our country, it is not just the politicians who oppose everything and every demand with political considerations and for petty political gains. Be it the ruling parties or those in the Opposition, this deadly game of blame trading is costing the country's defence preparedness dearly.

There is no time for us to sit pretty and keep our banter going on without revisiting our destructive politics. China is not only squeezing us in all possible ways in the borders but also equipping Pakistan with deadly and modern gadgets including aircraft carriers and aircraft. It seems as if it is producing its mean machines only keeping India in mind and to strengthen the hands of its all-weather friend Pakistan to stifle India from all sides. And here we are doing our best to compliment those two with our own inefficiency and dirty politics. Shall we blame ourselves for electing such self-serving and greedy politicians?

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