The article says:
Since the last Aero India two years ago, the torturous development of the Tejas fighter for the Indian air force (IAF) and Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) for the navy has continued. But while the outlook for the future Tejas Mk2 remains uncertain, the navy’s pragmatic approach towards the LCA programme could see India’s future carrier fleet operating a capable light fighter.
The Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO) has been bullish about the LCA while the air force has treated the programme with benign neglect, understanding that it will have to look abroad for war-winning capability. Meanwhile there has been a studious "we have to make this work" approach from the navy team.
Say it all really.
The uncertainty has been in large part due to attempts to cancel the light fighter requirement, while pushing for more and more expensive platforms. At some time, the reality has to sink in for AM Matheswaran & co. What percentage of funds does India currently spend on defence as versus its other spending heads? Where is India's infrastructure, its healthcare? How much can it afford to sink on these gold plated aircraft (literally) while the vast bulk of our troops continue to be without basic BPJs, helmets, NVGs, and personal aids? How many Su-30 MKIs, upgrades, spares stockpile improvements, LCAs likewise could India procure for even $10Bn, half of the proposed $20Bn for the Rafale as versus spending it all on one platform?
Unfortunately, the attitude has been import, import, import for "war winning capability" whereas that aforesaid capability will last as long as Dassault deigns to give us spares & the French Govt can call the Indian ambassador to badger him about not allowing conversions in India. Our then PM mumbled something as a response. Why would he have to but for our over reliance on such items from France, because some items continue to regard imports as the only solution and are egged on by babus/politicos who want to feather their nests.
This sort of complete lack of strategic vision is what doomed the Marut, and thankfully the Navy is not letting the LCA head down the same rabbit hole
Judging by the reaction of several TPs and the fact that Mk2 got cleared (and AF is funding part of it), its also clear that not all in the establishment believe as AM Matheswaran rtd does. The program got cleared as well. So there is clear indication the program will go ahead. One only wishes that the new folks in IAF who are coming up understand the larger issues at play and support the program to the hilt as versus looking abroad for every short term fix. That will never give us what we really need.