Shyamsunder Panchavati

Shyamsunder Panchavati
Linkedin now a follower of Shyam on twitter

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Tata Board has decided, Now its Cyrus Mistry turn, an insight into the situation. 10-27

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After four days, what I find is the entire episode is getting less and dignified. The narrations are dipping in quality from both he sides. High end dignified mudslinging has already started from both the sides. What is getting hurt maximum is the Tata culture and the reputation..

It is time some good Samaritan having influence with both the parties mediates and tries to workout a compromise acceptable to both. India cannot see and tolerate Tata culture and reputation being injured.   

I pray to god that the value, reputation, and the culture, so laboriously built over centuries by Jamshedji, Ratan Tata Sr, Dorabji Tata, JRD, Naval Tata and others are protected by the scions. Shapoorji Palloonji are the largest minority share holders of the Tata group. they have been associated with the group even before Ratan Tata joined the Tatas.

At least they should convince their heir Cyrus Mistry to keep it dignified. I hope that happens.

I hope this happens.....

The sudden and unprecedented decision of Tata Board to sack its Chairman Cyrus Mistry has
surprised many and raised questions among the people. Cyrus Mistry on his part is determined to fight the decision. His letter to the trustees, which is now public, gives a totally new angle to the whole incident.

I have gone through various articles and opinions on this subject. I am presenting my take on the whole issue. I will be happy to have your opinion on this post and subject itself.

I feel the decision has more to do with mindsets and thinking, a choice between pragmatism and retaining the conservative culture. Some of the Tata companies have existed for long more because of their values contribution to Tata culture than profitability.

Even during JRD's regime, out and out profitability was never the intent or the procedure of Tata Business Culture. Many business decisions are made more with Tata pride in mind.

Even during the nationalisation of the Airlines industry in 60s. While Birla closed down his airline as a prudent business decision, Tata allowed his airline to be nationalised. Patriotism more than business priorities dictated his decision.

The unmistakable Tata culture was associated more with national pride than the business expediency. The second example is the Singur Nano project, where the Tatas preferred to lose Rs. 1,400 crores than comprising on principles.

I am citing these reasons just to make the point that, business inefficiency or incompetency couldn’t possibly have been the reason for the ouster of Cyrus Mistry.

Was he too pragmatic to suit the conservative Tata culture???

Was his decision to value add to the stockholders’ investment by disposing off non performing or low performing assets considered a negative reflection on Ratan Tata’s performance???

Did the board think that this would hurt Ratan Tata’s reputation or ego???

Ego clash seems to be the reason or at least one of the most important reason for the decision.

Fact of the matter is that, the transition itself was not as complete as between JRD and Ratan Tata. After handing over responsibility JRD retired totally from business, whereas Ratan Tata was still active after the transition as Chairman emeritus. Cyrus Mistry insists that there was huge interference from Ratan Tata in his work and the airlines deal was forced on him against his will.

This being the situation, I don’t think aspirants like Indira Nooyi, Chandrasekharan, or Arun Sarin could win favour from the selection committee or comfortably work unless they are assured freedom and independence in decision making, which given the present culture in Tata group may not be possible to the extent required. Noel Tata as of now being a Tata family member would be considered more in line with or more inclined towards Tata Culture.

Next four months would tell us the criteria the Tatas consider most important for the job.

Fingers crossed, and waiting inquisitively….

Best wishes,


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Indian Army's surgical Strike 10-05

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The dust seems have settled after the absurdities thrown by various political parties including the BJP. The Prime Minister’s advice to his party members to not to indulge in chest thumping comes very late and after damaging has already been done by the politicians.

As for people, some consider him to be a god, some others think he is a villain with all negative traits. No one considers him to be a normal human being with normal positive and negative human traits. This being the situation, the political neutral human beings like me have to be careful while writing on sensitive issues like the “surgical strikes”. At the risk of bombarded from both the sides, I am writing this article, which, I repeat has nothing to do with politics in India. It is just an analysis and evaluation of the strike in relation to India military structure and development. It is an amateur analysis, based on my knowledge and experience in the defence field. I have deliberately delayed the article to allow the passions to come down. I have carefully studied international and defence analysts opinion before venturing out to write this article.

A surgical strike operation by Indian forces begs the question of the military’s capability to launch such an attack.

The concept of a surgical strike in international parlance is a strike which is carried through air or through remote missiles or rockets  from a distance or by para dropping the forces for the purpose at the site, by avoiding the air surveillance system. The purpose of this action is to avoid collateral damage to the civilian lives and property and more importantly to avoid risk to our own soldiers. This is generally done by the US, Russia, France and other big powers in Iraq, Syria and other places.

The Indian action does not fall in this category as the troops were sent to the site of action and the risk to their lives was involved. They were Para dropped near the LoC and had to wade their way to the site of action. At the most it can be described as Sophisticated Commando Raid on Specific Targets. This is the view that is coming from Global Defence Analysts. 

India is developing the capacity for surgical strikes in the form of  unmanned Arial vehicles Rustom I and Rustom II are still in different stages of  development and testing.

Pakistan has one of the best Air surveillance system, which is constantly monitored by China. Pakistan is also the world's highest spender of its GDP on defence. India knows all this and is strategically preparing itself for to meet the challenge. It is just a matter of time before India acquires the capability to conduct precision surgical strikes like the big powers.

When you look back, it seems to be a well planned strategy by the National Security Advisor Ajit Doval. The army seems to have been coaxed to use the phrase 'Surgical Strike' probably to increase the value of the action. The denial of the strike by Pakistan seems to have come as a shock to Mr. Doval , because Pakistan usually cries as victim and garners support and sympathy from the world. International community has slowly come to realize that India has overvalued its action.

It is neither the government fault or that of the Indian Army. the fault lies with the overenthusiastic advisor Mr. Ajit doval. A more experienced strategist like Brijesh Mishra and Brahma Chellany(Advisors to Shri. Vajpayee) would have handled it in a very matured way.

But not all is so gloomy for India. We are fast acquiring and developing technology to  do what the advanced countries in the world are doing. Next time, it will not only be a high precision surgical strike, it will also bea decisive one.

Since this is an Indian article for the global audiences, I will not dwell into the accusations and counter accusations being leveled by the politicians in India.

Your insights please,


An interesting update.....
Former DGMO says that there were no "Surgical Strikes" during UPA government rule. The present DGMO Lt. Gen. Ranbir Singh will also make similar statement about the Sept.29 2016 "Surgical Strike" when he retires. Just and see..