The Bold Voice of J&K

Shifting balance

0 1

The induction of indigenously developed and manufactured Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas into squadron service has sent a strong message to the world that India believes and lives on its powers. Though induction has not been completed it is a long and slow process and India is still looking for a main strike aircraft which would be augmented by the indigenously developed LCA Tejas and in this direction Lockheed Martin of USA, a major defence contractor and manufacturer of F-16 fighter aircraft for military purposes, is coming out with a proposal to further Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘ Make in India’ programme. There is no element of surprise in this offer the US major is eyeing the large orders and the market which lies ahead. India can turn into a profitable platform keeping in view its stable and politically strong economy and the success of American major automotive companies for the defence major. It has offered aircrafts from its Texas manufacturing facilities at the earliest provided India chose the world’s largest sold fighter aircraft for its fleet. The Americans want to encash from India deal and use it as a springboard to boost its sagging figures in sales. India today is the biggest arms purchaser with around 80 per cent of it procured from outside and only 20 per cent locally made and at stake is over 100 aircraft and its long tenure of production schedule. If the deal comes through it would surely help recharge the Indian Air Force sagging squadron strength. Today the IAF has 32 operational squadrons against the required strength of 44 and if the American offer to make the aircraft here as part of ‘Make in India’ programme comes through then it will be a quantum jump in technology for the air force and the related industry to maintain the cost advantage. On the other hand it will revive the sinking fortunes of the American companies directly or indirectly linked with the project keeping the slowdown in the world market. India should not wait further and grab American hand to go ahead. This can help in maintaining balance of power with China and Pakistan, the two potential threats and to safe guard its growing economic interests in the neighbourhood and far-east.

Leave a comment