Although nowhere near as high profile or politically dramatic as the 2008 Indo-U.S. nuclear deal, India’s proposed $10 billion procurement of 126 Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) may have a much more profound impact on India’s strategic relations, particularly if a U.S. Platform – either Lockheed’s F-16 E/F or Boeing’s F/A-18 E/F – is selected as the winning bid.
Science & Technology
In the Medium-range Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) sweepstakes, the Indian Air Force (IAF) is confronted with many choices, all of them bad. Whatever the IAF’s reasons for wanting a new aircraft, the Indian government means to use the deal to make international political capital, gain leverage in bilateral relations, and cement a strategic partnership. The Air Staff Quality Requirements – insofar as these can be deduced – are opaque.
Since 1947, when independence was achieved, India has been one of the few developing countries to invest extensively in both Science and Technical education. The results, though impressive in terms of quantity, have a mixed track record in terms of quality. As a result, specific initiatives to close this gap between India and the developed world in terms of quality are now needed.
Much has been said about the fallacies in India’s energy policy-a lack of coherent planning, endemic ills of cross-subsidies, inefficiencies of state-owned companies, and so on-to argue the impossibility of India’s ability to meet the energy demands of a growing economy. Although true in past, this argument is weakening. Amidst excessive criticism of every single government action, the real, but subtle, face of Indian energy policy has not attracted mass attention yet. And understandably so:
On September 7, 2001, India’s then Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee announced a national policy with the vision of “shaping biotechnology into a premier precision tool of the future for creation of wealth and ensuring social justice – especially for the welfare of the poor.” Biotechnology, in the aims of the policy, was to combat obdurate diseases and nutritional deficiencies, increase agricultural production, and protect the environment. Scientifically, these are all plausible – though distal and aspirational – claims.