manjgu wrote:Karan M... a) the chinese have not stopped at clones ..parallel R&D has continued... clones are good at making the numbers and being prepared. Chinese have invested heavily in R&D supplemented by industrial spying.
True, but then it boils down to two things.
A) PRC genuinely believes rule of law is a joke, and might makes right and does everything in its power to get things its way. Part of it has been aided by west's wink nod nudge and PRCs (as a result) growing economy, but as we can see now, it also means growing pushback. The era of easy TOT disguised as commercial assistance is IMHO over as west has woken up to see how its technology was procured for a song and dance, legally and illegally.
B ) China is much bigger than India economically so can afford such approaches. India is getting there but we still can't afford such wasteful approaches like making multiple fighter programs (some of which are thoroughly obsolete), having PSU old style multiple factories in different parts of the country churning out items en masse, also engaging in massive R&D expenditure (blank cheque approach) plus buying from abroad and at the same time cloning the partners stuff and buying them off with more purchases.
We have to prioritize and be more efficient, we are by no means perfect but things are definitely better now. For instance, improving Su-30 serviceability than bankrupting AF Capex budget buying another European super fighter en masse to make up for fewer flying Su-30s. Asking private sector to step up for IA eqpt maintenance rather than just dumping money into OFB unions. Stuff like this is happening, albeit much later than it should have, but if the tempo keeps up, we will be in a better place.
b) your list of things which have been indigenised is impressive but as a % of our total budget still miniscule.
I don't think this is accurate, because if we had not indigenized, then our budget would have ballooned many times over. For instance, how many millions of $ would have 7 Akash squadron equivalents (say NASAMs) cost, plus the 100 odd radars IAF is inducting of Indian origin, let alone all the other gizmos.
This is the cost really saved by buying Indian.
What it also means is more money is saved for truly necessary silver bullet imports. For instance, instead of spending all its scarce capex on buying everything from boots for Garuds to laser designators to ground based radars, IAF can now spend its money on really scarce technology not available locally, stuff like Meteor missiles or some fancy recce pods with multi-spectral imaging.
But it also means the % import by value will remain high for many years to come, since we really can't (and shouldn't) build everything inhouse from day 1, and what we should actually see is % import by items. That will give us a more meaningful benchmark for indigenization.
c) yes ofc its about funds but also the kickbacks in foreign buying which stops local R&D
True, but I think under current GOI this has reduced by leaps and bounds. But corruption in India is like water, it finds a way, and it has already damaged our institutions and delayed programs greatly.