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Reactor-less Arihant, engineless Tejas, gleeful Hawks
Vice Admiral (retd) DSP Verma says, "The air, oil and water are the fluids running in a submarine and the nuclear reactor is the heart. We have fitted everything and now we have to get the fluids to flow and the heart tick!" Just that simple!
VICE ADMIRAL (retd) DSP Verma says, “The air, oil and water are the fluids running in a submarine and the nuclear reactor is the heart. We have fitted everything and now we have to get the fluids to flow and the heart tick!” Just that simple! Reactor-less Arihant, engineless Tejas, gleeful Hawks! The 'Terminator' is all set to conquer the oceans of the world. Yes, that is the meaning of Arihant, the 6000-tonne, 110x11, 11-metre nuke attack submarine 'launched' on July 26. Lakhs of educated Indians are brimming with joy at India completing the crucial 'third leg of the nuke triad', joining the select band of advanced nations. The elation is comparable to that of thousands of euphoric North Koreans, currently celebrating the tough time their leaders are giving to powerful nations of the civilized world. Like North Koreans indoctrinated with a perverted world view, most Indians too are brain-bleached from childhood days in its chaotic 'democratic' setting. Both are afflicted with obsessive megalomania despite pathetically lagging far behind others in human development, not even aware of the rapid advances elsewhere that they are missing out on. The top secret project had been kicked off in the late 1970s during the reign of Indira Gandhi who usurped power after declaring Emergency.

The hull of the sophisticated N-sub was laid several years before the project's existence was officially acknowledged to be under construction in 1998. Cronies of the dictator wanted the Arihant-wielding Durga (Hindu goddess of power) to be the supreme power in the whole region! A miniature 80MW enriched uranium nuclear reactor is said to have been fabricated at Chennai. It is yet to be fitted into the shell which would reliably let it float in water. The commissioning is unlikely to happen even during the regime of Indira's grandson. According to officials, it may take 'more than 1 year' before the reactor goes critical and 'more than 2 years' of sea trials will be needed for it to be commissioned in the Navy. How many years more 'than 1+2 years? And how many billions before sinking Rs30,000 crores over 11 years is anyone's guess.

Incidentally, Admiral Gorshkov, the wrecked mini-cruiser of USSR, which the Russians are 'refitting' into the INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, had a devastating engine room fire and was abandoned during sea trials. It was rather naive of Manmohan Singh to profusely acknowledge the 'help' of Russia, who are charging US$2.2 billion for the hulk, at the ceremony of the 'first self-developed, indigenously built' nuclear submarine. The PMO, under fire from the hawks for agreeing under global pressure to pursue peace with Pakistan, apparently organised the media event to buy peace from insider hawks.

Manmohan Singh, known for questioning the specious Kargil victory participated in the Kargil celebrations for the first time. He specially flew down for the launch the same day with his wife. The current defense boss AK Antony said that the present situation in our neighborhood demanded greater acquisition of strategic assets. The PM declared: “We do not have any aggressive designs nor do we seek to threaten anyone. We seek an external environment in our region and beyond that one that is conducive to our peaceful development and the protection of our value systems!” One wonders whether he referred to the value systems involved in siphoning off an estimated US$2.9 billion for the Russian 'help'. In a nutshell, Arihant is the navy version of Tejas, the light combat aircraft developed by defence science bureaucrats for the Air Force. The LCA too is all set, much like the N-Sub, to conquer the skies for India. The indigenous engine of the technology demonstrator inevitably blew into pieces while at the test bed. A hunt is still on to secure Russian help in making it a reality after another prototype crashed in Russia. Vajpayee had triumphantly jumped into the cockpit of an engine-less LCA in 2003, twenty years after its launch. He named it Tejas in the photo-op to announce the country's capability to build “self-developed indigenously built” fighter planes!

When last heard, the GE-engined Tejas was yet to receive Initial Operating Clearance. The Russian help that can be got in the N portion of the sub is borne out by the Kudankulam atomic power station, consisting of two VVER-1000 reactors. The deal was wrapped up during Rajiv Gandhi's regime for a whopping US$3.5 billion. When last heard, the nuke bureaucracy claimed, “More than 95 per cent of the works in the first unit had been completed and generation of electricity would most likely start from December 2009!” No nuclear expertise is needed to understand that 95 per cent complete reactors cannot generate even 0.5 per cent power! According to the International Atomic Energy Authority regulations binding Russia, the fate of the remaining work is uncertain. Yet, extremely satisfied with the project's progress, the government has gone ahead with plans to siphon off more funds for another six reactors.

Looking at the technology scams repeatedly indulged in by successive regimes, the N-sub project will be just another ploy to siphon off more public money. The poverty of the unfortunate masses of India has already been aggravated by grossly unequal distribution. Their income is not enough to even provide for food and basic sanitation. This penury will only be aggravated by trying to match countries, that have enormous surpluses after providing for luxurious living, in flaunting expensive weapons. Moreover, delusions of grandeur will accentuate the mistrust India evokes in the external environment in our region and beyond. The protection that rulers talk of is only for those whose luxury is based on such splurging of scarce funds on VVERs, Gorshkovs, Tejases, and now Arihant.

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