All right Cain... i will take your bait...
1. LCA size for NLCA... there is no way that ADA could have designed a new airframe (larger size) for the NLCA.. there just was'nt enough design manpower to design a new a/c and test it in the time frame available. as you can see even the LCA has slipped schedule for so many years, who would have supported a new a/c design just for a small navy requirement.
2. The double engine requirement was essential earlier due to the low operational reliability of the jet engines of the day, the new engines like the current gen F404/414 are orders of magnitude more reliable than the older ones. as far as engine reliability goes, i am not sure if you are aware, the IN or the RN has never lost a sea harrier due to an engine failure over the sea till now. Yes losses were sustained due to other reasons, but not due to engine failures. The famous one on the beach was due to the pilots failure to adjust the nozzle position.
As far as the question of Rafale goes (not raised by you CM), this seems to repeat every now and then, the Rafale needs a catapult, which we don't have nor does France or Russia, the only country that has the catapult tech is the USA and they are not willing to share it. this was the biggest reason why we went with the Mig and the ski jump carriers. And yes, i know that the Vikrant had a Cat originally, this was used for much lighter a/c like the sea hawks and we never had the design for this in any case. Even the UK which originally pioneered the CAT tech has to buy one from the US now for the use with their carriers as they moved away from the F35B.
Not trying to bait anyone Sekhar. But I beg to differ:
1) Yes design from scratch will take longer - but then NLCA itself is not happening anytime super quickly. Actually this is precisely the point - the NLCA required/requires tremendous redesign, the sort of work that has been terribly underestimated if we are to go by previous reports. And I will be really surprised if they get anything before 2018. If you have to do so much work any way, the time frame becomes meaningless, might as well start afresh. Second, the IN lost the opportunity to be the prime movers on AMCA imho - in fact PS had stated that it would've been a lot better had they started out with the naval variant first instead of the AF variant for the LCA. Since $$s will be reqd. for both NLCA and AMCA, why not start with IN variant first here?
2) Irrespective of the solitary example of the SHAR, which is a STOVL bird anyway, the norm for fighters on board carriers is twin engine. Nobody is talking about reliability of engines perse; by itself this issue might have been largely mitigated, but in the context of naval ops it would always help to have two engines. Still further, there is a crucial need for high TWR on STOBAR carriers - and I don't see a single engined bird doing this unless you want to use WW II vintage a/c. Btw, many Shars have been lost to engine failure, if not during IN service, definitely with the RN. There is also the issue of bird strikes, where twin engines provide greater safety. I think NLCA problems are still to begin. Let us hope the F414 does the trick and that they can keep the weight down to manageable levels after reinforcing the frame.
3) Even though the last point was not directed at me, I'd like to point out that the Rafale was evaluated for STOBAR ops by the IN, and was not found wanting on technical reasons. Just too expensive iirc.