How can Artillery Numbers today relate to Universal Education yesterday?
Analysis on the Guns versus Butter impact over time.
Analysis on the Guns versus Butter impact over time.
100 (Vajra SPH) is too less if you compare the eastern and western front , they should go for higher numbers with more TOT which L&T can easily absorb
Well they ordering 40 more soon is what I heard.
I think this decade it will be the platform they will basically keep ordering from for SPH.
It is a good modular platform to take forward too with Koreans into the future beyond that.
That's the problem when you need such weapon in numbers , they are ordering numbers like 40
Artillery (including its self-propelled version) is something that often comes up in the discussion of any armed force today given its critical nature as a basic force multiplier (notably since the impact and lessons of the Napoleonic wars).
If there is a matter of deep scarcity (any combination of past, current and projected) regarding it, one must dig to get to the root causes of why it is so, given the critical nature of such to the security and defense paradigm at large.
The deepest of all root causes generally are those regarding "Guns versus Butter" arguments in the realm of opportunity costs, the development of political forces and institutions designed to serve this and their sovereign control by the local populace to serve their immediate and longer term interests.
In the context of India (the 2nd largest human population on planet Earth for all of the 20th century and will be the largest for most of the 21st century), there are crucial lessons to learn from and have in mind when approaching almost any subject of discourse relevant to it in a "root cause" context.
Opportunity Cost and the Production Possibility Frontier (as it relates to Education)
It is the author's contention (after much study, debate and analysis) that the largest singular root cause (explaining a huge proportion of both basic and advanced provision for a society) is that of education.
Education is the fundamental raw bridge to the raw productivity (in any manner of ways) of the "average" individual human that makes the larger society.
Education is likely the greatest single correlation to a society's wealth and success (and thus the genuine ability to fund and provide security for itself).
The quality and quantity you invested in education as a society is seen when the young cohort matures to become the workforce later, impacting very much how many SPH artillery pieces you can produce and buy, though the juxtaposition is not always made readily and regularly as it ought to be.
This can be seen by the (simplified) theory of opportunity costs (reducing the economy to an argument of two choices and costs involved in choosing one over the other):
"Guns heavy" Choice 1 (on the 1950 PPF) is driven by non-education priority (especially capital intensive sinks for perceived immediate "heavy" statist industrialisation).
"Butter heavy" Choice 2 is having education priority (mass saturation of education supply to primary and secondary levels in quantitative terms and as much quality as possible at the time).
The production possibility frontier itself reflects (conceptually) the maximum (production) threshold of the current society's snapshot. It may be further read into by the interested reader but for sake of this article's more direct purpose will not be explored deeper.
It is this author's belief that the overall choices made in the 1950s in the Indian context approximated closely to choice 1 in this model and the production frontier in the current era is far smaller than it could have potentially been (if choice 2 was picked and implemented).
The skew in choice 1 (relative to choice 2) has thus diminished the entire curve's (and thus entire economic) realisation and scope as a whole today (50+ years later).
This readily impacts on anything the decision maker, economy and society wants to do (especially in collective taxpayer terms above and beyond what it otherwise would do).
Things like artillery production availability are reflective of this given the military is a taxpayer funded exercise and the raw tax buffer on offer for the government is closely bound to the raw size (in both quantitative and qualitative terms) of the economy.
The Indian Context (as it relates to Education, Economy, Consequences and Choices)
Detailed aspects regarding this overall process (globally and historically) may be covered by the author (time pending) in a later article.
It is however the author's view that if the education revolution in India was "in numbers" during the crucial years of the second half of the 20th century (given India's full investiture of sovereignty locally i.e independence), India would be in far superior and established terms for its citizens welfare (be it livelihood or collective defense).
If it were the case, today's India would have a far stronger capacity to allocate resources effectively and produce across the board (including tier A+ military goodies like SPH artillery) and also have actual meaningful debate on " X amount of artillery is worth Y amount of aircraft" in the relevant power level allocations to begin with.
Instead the concept of a total education revolution was relegated to a few states in South and a few other areas, but grossly leaving the larger nation's largest population bulk in the Ganges valley and large parts of India's interior stuck in close proximity to the pre-independence levels for the most part and for far too long.
As a result India is now still confronted with clear deep scarcity across the board in nearly every sector (including the military domain and its particular details so often discussed on defence fora as seen in this article's prelude).
This immense scarcity is nearly omnipresent and is especially crystallised on any matter that introduces a necessary and vital qualitative aspect at large. It bears immense impact on any issue past the raw population intrinsically providing the quantitative grunts and takes on new particular metastasized dimensions and paradigms in the context of the "quantity has quality of its own" narrative that seems to have embedded in the psyche of India (in the author's opinion) at large.
It really cannot be stressed enough.
If there was for example, a genuine "revolution" and "flood" in the education system (i.e after political independence and invested local sovereignty after so much colonial extraction) to deeply fundamentally recognise and commensurately saturate the whole entity of India with schools and teachers (with introduction of quality and critical feedback over time as the scope improved for it), India would be in far better shape in all dimensions today.
India is not a stranger to these strategies and application intensities given the namesakes of "revolution" and "flood" have been deliberately chosen by the author along the lines of the Green Revolution  and Operation Flood . Both of which played an immense role in proving wrong the various harbingers and fear-mongerers of doom.
If such were applied in independent India's education strategy as a whole (especially where its population bulks are) we would not be having "40 added to 100" situation to begin with in some relative far removed nook and cranny downstream percolation that is SPH artillery in the Indian army today.
It is really that simple (yet sometimes the simplest things are the hardest to achieve).
It essentially boils down to if the bulk population states of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and rest of the "Hindi belt/BIMARU" had folks (and larger apparatus) like Kamaraj  running the place (at the fundamental local and universal education approach) for 10, 20, 30 years or however long as possible.
The author writes this article very much because of the impact the administration of Kamaraj directly had on both his parents ability to receive valuable education (given the number of siblings) and break the bonds of relative poverty furthermore as it rested in the family at that point in time. Without him running the state in its crucial early years, the author would not be here writing this article.
Yet this was denied to the bulk of North India (during the same time) and it agonizes the author to think on terms of purpose, effect and especially harvested consequence.
(Clockwise from Top Left: K9 Vajra in Ladakh, Indian Children at School, Kamaraj applying his midday meal scheme for a TN school, Kamaraj statue in Chennai, K9 production line)
The case now is that India simply doesn't have the capacity to pay and produce for much of what it desires at scale.
It is simply forced to work with what it has, often engaging in make believe (bordering on delusion at times) to retain some level of self-esteem and optimism (in this author's opinion). But it does not seem to seriously and quietly take on the root cause issue lingering at the urgency it requires (to at least make the future far better for itself).
This has sadly in itself been entrenched and hamstrung by the raw scale and duration of the root cause (Education) issue at the basic level that affects every tier above it....be it raw pressures of supply and demands on productive industry, management and the bureaucracy. All increasingly vital to be on the same page about the foundations for this increasingly competitive world.
This has been furthermore exacerbated by the limited piecemeal sluice gates that have been opened (on the cushy status quo bureaucrats and corporatist cabal terms) to parched desert. For example, India has witnessed easy IT money skimming off the crucial management pool for blue collar stuff at critical span of time during its (1990s onwards) "liberalisation" era:
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I have enough contempt against Indian MNC even though they were rich enough in 90' and early 2000, they did not take a damn worthwhile effort towards electronics manufacturing or chip manufacturing. Companies which started in the last 10 years have raised twice or thrice the valuation of the 100 history old companies. Just proves my point that Indian MNC are purely after consumer profits and did not think of overall vision which could have been beneficial to the company and the nation in large.
Looking back its combination of issues.
A huge part in itself originates from why India could not attract bulk electronics manufacture to begin with (that provides lot of the demand locally for MC and PCB etc):
- A sheer lack of raw amount of blue collar workforce and the effect on proper labour availability/ease (given the overall education quantity and quality imparted to the cohorts since 1947).
- Critical lack of blue collar "control + mgmt" labour....i.e folks monitoring and process managing the line on factory. What little of this was there, was soaked up into IT boom (which provided more quick returns) at cost of harnessing larger labour pool for productive work (for them).
- Lack of govt incentive (either direct subsidy for 10+ year gestation or full can-do attitude to onshore factories as far as possible) to make use and work with what was there anyway
- No deep reform in rural areas (to push surplus labour there to cities to train into blue collar assembly).
That is all what then gestates time period for corporates to invest into capital for electronics components...and move up the tiers with time) from their end given the raw local demand (for electronic sector at large).
The ball does not rest only in their court....they need to be steered and managed by proper govt policy (before, during and after) w.r.t what the input they have at hand is in the country at scale.
This has again impacted immensely on its blue collar industry expansion (even with what it has inherited by the lack of education in the era preceding it). Blue collar industry that could provide employment for far larger swathes of the population than tier-A services and piecemeal manufacturing ever could.
The Grim Outlook and the need for Deep Reform
India must realise the grim outlook and focus itself with regards to:
A) Raw reality of what it has now and why it has come about in largest degree
B) This needing to change drastically so the next generations can have a better scale of capacity in all matters, be it collective defense or average livelihood on offer
C) Those engaged in relative positions of power and influence needing recognition of A and B for concrete broad reform to take place
But I wouldn't count on this realisation and reform happening given most Indian's potent psyche issues that seem to pull in all different directions away from the root need of society to liberate and develop itself.
This has been compounded by the protracted era of drawn out failure (given the potential it heralded after new dawn and the nature of the enlightened that heralded it).
This has made it easy for nefarious agents today to politically herald and seed more base identity conflict among the larger populace to cultivate collective easy blame whichever way it can be directed.
Any larger principles and rationality of the earlier era are conveniently discarded in the binary of perceived and asserted blame and blameless. Might makes right is something quite appealing to the human psyche, it is almost a matter of time in each society when easy answers and solutions are demanded (because of the failure's consequences) rather than debated. The easiest identities, historical narratives and scapegoats become ever larger part of the political and psychological playground.
Thus we see such things rise and crystallise to all levels of political, media and social group discourse even, ignoring the 99% basics in typical "chalta hai" + "someone else's problem" + "its India" or whatever other rotten excuse driven almost invariably by prejudiced angst or irrational selfishness they have inculcated within them.
This author has sadly lost count of the number of times he has tried to explain (to those near to him and those far away), that if you cant get the heart pumping enough basic blood pressure in aorta and arteries, it is maybe futile to focus too much on whichever capillaries aren't doing well. Especially given what the mind and body has already squandered and is stuck with now. All things it must learn from, or perish eventually in dull ignominy at greatest final cost. But will it ever learn? Will it ever shape up? Or would it prefer to fight itself for easy blame and easy promises on the way out.
I approach every issue of note regarding India with this in mind (as first principle in explaining huge amount of the "why"?), and I suggest everyone does as well too.
The current scale and impact of this failure is one thing, but not learning from it (and eventually correcting it) is even worse.
The largest singular security threat this century (and maybe beyond) for India will be that of its northern neighbour. This somewhat non-ironically reflects itself in the prelude's context of Ladakh and SPH artillery raw availability there (and other places along the Himalayan frontier). This northern neighbour's power level realisation from its own addressing of "the" root cause is thus of great import as a conclusion for this article.
The average education imparted in India to each successive wave of young cohorts in the last 70 years by far explains the majority in the discrepancy in the GDP of India and China as just one realised example today. It reflects at scale at the sustained (especially integrated, autarkic, onshore) power level totals (quantity and quality wise) in nearly every discipline involving it.
While the tragic excesses of the great leap forward and cultural revolution (both wiping out large populations of millions in one fell stroke relatively speaking) were never seen by India (due to its commitment to more rational system of govt), the Chinese did commit to basic public education (and basic healthcare and nutrition) at especially the rural scales it required (and crucially in all its population concentrations).
This has played the single largest part in the visible differential today between the basic economic situation of the two nations.
The hubris, ego and immorality present in a system intersects with its practical and rational objectives in varying ways. Assuming them to be complete pristine correlations is a great folly in itself.
Having a gilded chariot (secular constitutional democracy) is worthy, but what use is it if you dont have enough horses and horsemanship? Or don't even see the merit in having those at scale?
We ignore and skip all of that too frequently to occupy our minds with some nuanced matter of archery as though we are Arjuna or Karna.
Then something specific inevitably snaps us out of daydreaming and we wonder why or complain that whatever is so bad, too little or snail-paced.
That then occupies us only momentarily and we are back to daydreaming in short order. That must change.
The Author is an Aerospace Engineer with credentials and interest in defence, history and economics (among other fields).
Opinions and views are the author's alone.
The author apologises in advance for any spelling mistakes and other such errors.
Images used were open source or were created by the author.
References (recommended reading):