Thursday, May 7, 2009

Is it a bird? Is it a brick? Is it a Sukhoi?

The question which is haunting many of our esteemed defence correspondents in Delhi is whether the Sukhoi-30MKI is grounded or not. Several of them are vexed over the question, many have taken various postures over the issue, some have gone ahead and done stories saying the fleet is indeed sitting on ground, others have gone ahead and printed/published vehement denials from 'sources' in the IAF denying any 'grounding'. Well the fact of the matter is that the SU-30MKI squadrons are not flying as of now. Till the fault which led to the unfortunate crash and the loss of life is identified these flying machines will have to wait on the tarmac. It is nobody's case that these jets have been grounded for an indefinite period. But the basic point remains that as a precautionary measure these aircraft have not been taking to the skies immediately after the accident in Rajasthan. Now, even if in a knee jerk reaction some 'sources' in IAF choose to let it dawn on some correspondents that the aircraft is not grounded, even then the discretion to question this assertion lies with the journalists. Carrying the official version need not be done in a servile manner which is akin to kow-towing. There is indeed something known as informed dissent. And the official version can always be questioned. But the nice part of it all is that there is no official version. The IAF will not comment officially on the crash till a preliminary report on the cause of the crash is revealed. So till then, there will be a battle fought in the defence correspondents community on the semantics of 'grounding'.