Rakesh wrote:Do that and what is left of Strategic Partnership?
Was the strategic partnership affected when Boeing supplied a rusting wind tunnel or when Indian diplomat was cavity searched in Washington?
I know this is going to sound clichéd, but there is a line from an old Bollywood movie (my Hindi is more rusty than the rusty wind tunnel from Boeing, so I will say it in English onlee) ---> -"First he took away my job, then he destroyed my home....but now he has hit my stomach. And that I cannot bear."
If the Americans sabotage the SEF deal, there will be no more partnership to speak off. But I do not believe the consequences will reach that stage. If they go down that path, the loss will be greater for America. My honest opinion, if they lose, they will whine & complain. But that is it. Look at the end game.
- America is $20.5+ Trillion in debt and China owns a good chunk of that debt. True?
- America cannot take on China unilaterally (economic disaster/meltdown for the US) and thus they need India, Japan and other countries in the region to tackle the dragon. And China is not Iraq or Afghanistan.
- America will win either way, with F-Solah or Gripen E. They are both American planes. Anything of value on the Gripen E is American origin.
All this talk about exporting F-16s, global supply chain, revitalizing India's aviation industry, etc is all fluff. Nothing really changes for India - we will be beholden to the US with either platform. With Gripen E, General Electric (and a few other American defence firms will earn money and LOTS of it). With the F-16, every American defence firm - involved with the F-16 - will make even more money. But that is not the issue. Let them make money. That's capitalism for you.
But buying F-16 (and other American wares i.e. F-18, EMALS, etc) makes interoperability easy for America. But from a platform perspective, nothing really changes for India. For all the capabilities that the F-16 brings to a fight (and it is a serious capability), there is an ecosystem to support the success of the plane. From satellites to tankers to AWACS to JSTARS to whatever else…when the USAF comes to a fight, the USAF prevails EVERY TIME. However remove the support system and the capabilities on the F-16 cannot be fully exploited. The IAF does not yet have anything CLOSE to what the USAF has. Very easy to talk about how much the F-16 can carry a heavier payload, the F-16 is a more mature platform, the F-16 has a greater array of proven weaponry available to it, but at the end of the day - to the IAF - the F-16 is just a platform (minus the support system) like the Su-30MKI, the Rafale or whatever else.
But from an American perspective, having India buy into the ecosystem with US weapons and US platforms makes for ease - for the Americans, not for India - in future military conflicts against China. The platforms all speak the same language, the platforms all operate the same weaponry, etc. That is the true definition of interoperability, from America's stand point. Thus the US diplomatic pressure on India to adopt US weaponry. You must take the F-16, otherwise we will find it hard to partner with you. You must take the F-18, otherwise we will have to rethink our relationship. See below...‘Full transfer of tech in defence aviation is non-negotiable’http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/new ... 968794.ece
Q. How concerned is the US with the single-engine fighter jet deal not taking off yet? There are even reports now that India may not place the order at all
A. The US government has invested an incredible amount of time partnering with Lockheed Martin for F-16 and Boeing for F-18s. If one or both do not happen that will be a very big splash of cold water on our industries because of the amount of seriousness we gave into this matter and because of government time invested across multiple agencies
. And this has happened across both the Obama and Trump administrations. There had been no review of decisions, no conflict between ‘Make in India’ and ‘Make in America’. We have reconciled all of that.
So America has reconciled and thus India must just blindly follow?
Speaking about the Queen Elizabeth Class aircraft carriers, Admiral Sir Alan West, former CNS of the Royal Navy, says:
I have talked with the CNO (Chief of Naval Operations) in America. He is very keen for us to get these because he sees us slotting in with his carrier groups. For example, in Afghanistan last year they had to call on the French to bail them out with their carrier. He really wants us to have these, but he wants us to have same sort of clout as one of their carriers, which is this figure at 36. He would find that very useful, and really we would mix and match with that.
The ability to slot carrier groups - with American wares on board - makes it easier for America to wield the sword against an adversary. Signing CISMOA (now COMCASA I believe) makes it even easier for American forces to take on the dragon with the partnership of nations like India and Japan. The pushback that America is facing from India - unlike poodle nations like the UK and Japan - is that there is a justifiable caution among Indian policy makers with regards to the acquisition of American weaponry. India cannot rush into something like this, without thinking of all the possible ramifications.
Buy American weaponry or platforms, if it makes sense to do so. A few examples;
- The C-17 is hands down the best strategic transport out there. Barring the marketing spin that Philip mentions about the IL-476, nothing comes close to the C-17. Same is true for the Chinook, the C-130 and arguably even the Longbow Apache.
- I am a strong proponent of the Boeing KC-46 tanker and would love to see that bird in the IAF. Brings way more capability vs the A330 MRTT, the IAF's earlier choice.
As a sovereign country, India has the right to pick and choose whatever it feels is required for her armed forces. If that means F-16 Block 70, then by all means go for it. If it means another platform, then go for that. The last time I checked, these aircraft were for India's
Air Force, no? That country that juts out in the Indian Ocean and has a population of over a billion people.
But from purely a numbers perspective, the SEF is now a moot point. 126 fighters were needed. 76 out of the 126 is already confirmed (36 Rafales + 40 Su-30MKIs). Only 50 are left. With the exception of Philip, everyone on BRF is aware that a follow on order of 36 Rafales will be infinitely cheaper and quicker than a SEF acquisition. The IAF will be short of just 14 birds then, from the original 126 order. This is an easily solvable issue, not the headache that the media puts it out to be.
Please get the fantasy out of your head (not you Kashi), that buying F-16 and F-18 will result in America coming to India's aid in a conflict against China. With or without those platforms, India is on her own against the Dragon. She better be prepared.