No argument there.
[b]But all those aircraft were done deals for whatever reason. We have/had no options but to operate the said aircraft. That the IAF has lumped it in the above cases is no argument for them lumping it again. They have a choice now. All arguments with respect to the arms import lobby and greedy b@stards in the forces and MOD and politicians is very true and more but the aam jantha/aam jawan in the forces needs the best we can give them. The lives of families of martyred soldiers is mostly a very grim nightmare. A few articulate city dwelling widows do come on TV and are very aggressive but the vast, vast majority of the widows and families are doomed to a grey and hope less life, drained of all dignity and on extremely tight budgets with nary a hope of any systemic support. They are the actual folks who are lumping it, without choice, without hope and without a future.
Chetak, therein lies the rub of the matter. The IAF AHQ is fully ok with operating obsolete platforms which are are increasingly a problem since logistics is becoming more and more an issue. Yet, they insist they will not operate something that is more advanced, because its not the best there is. This logic is no logic at all, because the LCA is anyday better than the earlier platforms which the IAF is flogging away. One could understand if they say the LCA is not sufficient to (say) be operated in the hundreds since the Mk2 is required. However, when the Mk1 will bring more to the table than the MiG-21 and 27 or even a Jaguar, then instead of working the kinks out, the IAF is busy trying to FUD the program and holding out for more expensive aircraft, which thanks to the price, will become hanger queens if procured in equivalent numbers.
The jawans fight without effective BPJs which other armies consider as common and as essential as langots. I recently stopped and chatted with an ordinary young jawan on airport security in a small regional airport. I was so very happy to see him carrying a MP5 which he so proudly showed me. Not many are so privileged to carry such weapons. I often spend time like this and ask about their service conditions. Not pleasant to hear.
And here is the rub. Why exactly is this dysfunctional state of affairs in an Army which has the funds to order 1657 T-90s (most of them imported), has funds enough to bypass usual procurement and order excess thermal imagers since the tank ones didn't work.. yet its soldiers lack BPJs and there are scandals over rations?
The fact is that for a long time, some in services themselves have gone for big ticket procurement whilst ignoring the long term aspects of sustainment and let it remain as something that is the domain of "other people".
The DGArty supported the Dhanush (what were his predecessors doing or who stopped them?) and he faced resistance from the IA bureaucracy itself.
Sad to say but there are many people feeding off of the import spigot, and the everyday Colonel, Major, sowar or the odd Brigadier has no clue of the depth of the rot that is there in Delhi and elsewhere.
is this how we treat our guys who often without choice, wind up dead, whilst protecting some (actually expendable!!) ungrateful and privileged Indians ?? I don't think so.
I agree with you that we need to do our bit supporting the everyday man, but again, that's exactly the issue here.
Its of procurement choices which end up being suboptimal time and again, whilst being taken (ostensibly) for the right reasons. We all want our soldiers to be well equipped. But its galling to see the manner in which the most bull headed decisions are made citing national defense being non negotiable, yet we negotiate our very sovereignty away while paying through the nose, AND at the end of the day, we don't even get what we paid for.
Time and again, the IAF's voluble clique has made national aerospace endeavours their target. Using selective leaks to outright FUD, they did everything they could to scuttle, delay programs like the LCA. Which other country's AF had its own CAS advised not to attend the first flight of its aircraft, lest it be seen as IAF supporting the Tejas? Such stuff is beyond the pale. Whether it be holding HAL to fix things or IAF to hold their end of the bargain up, both need to be done.
We simply can't be importing fighters at prices which even their manufacturing nations balk at. Meanwhile, they have state of the art infrastructure, medical facilities and what not. India in the meanwhile is barely able to fund the most basic of things, yet we import the most fancy gear and later on complain funds are insufficient for long term support, so more are required. Meanwhile, the same worthies who advocate such expensive imports, come out on talk shows and loudly decry even a Rs spent on local R&D and programs. This is just beyond bizarre and needs to be changed.