That is so convenient when hankering for a new import. Just re-classify the homemade ones! When we got into the MKI screwdriver giri it was proclaimed as one of the TOP 4th gen aircraft in the world. Now that it is 70% Indian-made, it is 3.5 gen. The ploy is so cynical that it is laughable.
But it is ultimately very sad to me that the IAF is like one of those white-washed NRI boys who will always be on the lookout for the gori girl while ignoring the desi one.
All armed forces all over the world downplay their capabilities and assets to improve their chances of getting more funding for newer and more weapons. Have you forgotten about the constant barrage of "missile gap" "space race gap" by the USAF during the Cold War? That was so that they got additional funding. The difference is that all the additional funding they got was for procurement from their domestic industry. Whereas for India the purchases will be a combination of local production and imports. Don't blame the IAF. They are just likel all airforces all over the world. Somebody has to make a judgment call on whether the LCA and SU-30MKI are really 3.5G and what that designation translates into in terms of actual capability.
Also, what say does the IAF have in how HAL is organized or how HAL run's it's business? The IAF's primary responsibility is the defence of India. It is not the development of a domestic industry. So the focus has to be on those in power/authority whose job is to balance these two objectives.
generally the definition of generation accepted internationally is:
5 Gen: some stealth characteristic, internal weapons bay, super cruise, AESA radar,360 MAWS+ networked
4.5 Gen: AESA radar, 360 MAWS, comprehensive EW suite + self protection suite( SPJ+Towed decoy), highly networked
4 Gen: powerful PESA radar, RWS, Basic self protection suite+ multirole+ some level of networking+ BVR capable+ IRST
by these standards SU-30 MKI is a solid 4th gen aircraft. only the upgraded super SU-30 MKI can be termed as a 4.5 gen. Rafale is 4.5 gen too, where as tejas mk1 because of lack of IRST can be termed as 3.5 gen. even tejas MK1A without IRST , 360 MAWS and towed decoy will not be a true 4.5 gen in a way. only Tejas MWF due to fly in 2025 will be a 4.5 gen aircraft