Sunday, April 26, 2015

How did it come to this?

After all the fanfare and tough negotiations, the much-needed MMRCA contract - lately known as the Rafale deal - fell through. Prime Minister Narendra Modi officially put the negotiations on two tracks, but it seems unlikely that the negotiations will go on, because there is no incentive for Dassault to manufacture anything in India anymore. It is then worth wondering what went wrong in what was touted as a game-changing deal.

Much has been said about the pros and cons of resorting to an outright G2G sale instead of waiting for the negotiations. However, those analysts who fault the government for doing so have no reply to the IAF's desperate need for more squadrons. The mortal need to ensure that our armed forces remain well-equipped in the face of hostile neighbors takes precedence over all other considerations. Merely using this opportunity to score brownie points against the BJP is akin to treason!

More importantly, we must consider just how spectacularly our public sector companies - in this case, HAL and DRDO - have failed so miserably in their mission. At the same time, successive Defense Ministers have ignored the need to develop private-sector capabilities. These twin failures are the root cause of this sorry state of affairs. At this time, there is no point is paying a blame game - we are in a mess, that is for sure. The only way out is to swallow our pride and accept this G2G purchase and overhaul our military development.

If we don't, another 1962 will soon be on our cards. 

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