Surya,I did speak about the reluctance of the IA/IAF in accepting desi products,based upon long experience of "tall talk and short achievements",the LCA/Kaveri for example,is well documented.Unlike the IN,which realised thanks to the wisdom of its chiefs decades ago,that with such a paltry slice of the budget it would have to build its own navy, has its own naval design bureau and has produced designs based upon its own requirements.Even here it has had to seek some ships,missiles,and subs from abroad due to the inefficiency of the PSU shipyards which the "saint" pulled up just a few days ago. The naval ALH just failed to deliver and we now have a huge "75" strong acquisition for shipboard multi-role medium sized helos.The Scorpene delay is mainly because MDL cannot absorb the high-tech of the sub says the last report! Even the IN is still buying subs and warships from Russia and abroad-tankers from Italy,minesweepers from SoKo.
The same significant development of weapon systems has not happened with the IA and IAF and the reasons for that should be the subject of a white paper.It is sometimes as if a war exists between HAL and the IAF and the same with the IA and PSUs. It is why Arjun took so long to be accepted,no dispute here at all.The lack of faith in desi products,barring our strategic missiles,has taken along time to soften and has yet to be fully dispelled with. However, if the T-90 is so bad,then surely,at least one honest chief in recent times must've put in on record like Gen.VKS about the Tatras? Secondly,the IA just cannot dump its old tanks,just as the IAF cannot number-plate sqds of legacy aircraft,hence the T-72 upgrades as well.
A few years ago I mentioned that what the IA needed to do was to design/obtain designs for a "family" of armoured vehicles and IFVs for the future,which would incorporate,keep options,to fit in new tech being developed.I do not know why the DRDO and the end user in this case,the IA have not thought in visionary manner in a combined attempt.One needs to ask a number of past chiefs about this for their views.
IMO, there has been a lack of national vision and synergy in the past. When you look at American, European, and Russian military industrial complex and the history of its activities in R&D of tanks, artillery, ships, submarines, missiles, and combat aircrafts, it is obvious why India is lagging behind in indigenization. These countries have had a long head start (70 years to 100+ years) and have sustained R&D efforts through government and armed forces support, and fighting many major wars to help them refine their technologies. It has taken them many decades to get to where they are now.
In India's case, real investment in indigenous R&D did not take place until the late 1970s. Some of these efforts were started and then stopped, such as the nuclear bomb, HF-24 Marut, etc. Then there were others stopped due to scandals: Type-1500 submarines and Bofors 155mm howitzers. From the mid 1980s, sustained national efforts got under way. These have finally bore fruit after 30 years of sustained effort, and in the process have created a national infrastructure for further advancements. Here are some of the major initiatives of the 1980s:
- Integrated Guided Missile Development Program -> Agni BM (I/II/IIA/III/V), Prithvi SSM (I/II/III/Dhanush), Akash MR SAM (Mk.1), Nag ATGM (Mk.1/HELINA)
- Helicopter -> Dhruv ALH (Mk.1/2/3/Rudra), LCH
- Combat Aircraft -> Tejas LCA (Mk.1/2/NLCA), Kaveri engine, MMR radar
- Main Battle Tank -> Arjun MBT (Mk.1/2), Karna MBT (Arjun turret/T-72 chasis)
- Combat Ship -> P-15 class (P-15/A/B), ATV
- Small Arms -> INSAS
Yes, it took around 30 years for these to succeed, but the next enhancements, i.e. Mk.2/3, have been delivered relatively quickly--within 3 to 5 years. Then, new programs, such as the IJT, Astra AAM, AMCA, etc., have subsequently benefited from the capacity that was built. It has also allowed for Joint Ventures, such as Brahmos SSM, Barak-8 SAM, FGFA and MTA, with foreign companies to take place.
However, in order to sustain the continual growth of indigenous efforts there has to be a long-term national vision together with the synergy between GoI, Armed Forces, DRDO, PSU, Private industry, and Universities. Key technologies and know-hows need to be identified, acquired and capacity developed. It cannot be achieved with half-hearted support, or by stifling growth potential. There must be patience--an understanding that indigenization takes many decades to be fully realized.