Acquisition of Sov. aircraft and weaponry from the '60s onwards were entirely due to two factors.
Firstly,the refusal of western nations to give India what it wanted.
The US even refused modest A-4 Skyhawks for the Vikrant.Pakistan,a CENTO member was its favourite and in the '65 war, the west were rooting for Pak, and pushed for a ceasefire only when we were on the point of taking Lahore.Lowly little Gnats
ccame from Britain,no subs which we asked for so Mrs. G,Tthe second factor turned to Moscow.
Mrs.G's excellent feel for diplomacy saw her reach out to Moscow and the Soviets responded in full.MIG-21s,SU-7s,T-54/55s and PT-76 tanks, Foxtrot subs,Osa missile boats,etc., all came at friendship prices and licence manufacture too. That eqpt. enabled us to dismember Pak in '71.
Today Pak has learnt its lessons well and is using China as we did
Moscow earlier,as its main source of milware. At low cost,Pak is rapidly building up all arms of its forces especially its navy.New DDGs,FFGs,8+8 new subs,plus a range of naval missiles, will make the PN a formidable foe especially its sub force.
The GOI is being very myopic in not giving a higher share of the def. budget to the IN which is rapidly being outnumbered by the growth of both the PLAN and PN.
In the air,thanks to grand theft,the Chins have acquired the very latest western tech. for the PLAAF.Stealth fighters and 4+ gen aircraft ,clones of the SU-27/30 are being churned out in large number,to the extent that China feels confident that it can defeat the US in the S.China Sea/ Indo-China Sea.
The MMRCA 2.0 was started primarily to offest the excruciating delay of Tejas,both in performance and production. But typically,our great babus screwed up the initial plan to acquire only a light SE fighter.By now had it not been interfered with,thanks to alleged Yanqui pressure, we would've had in service at least 2 sqds. of the Gripen .Gripen radars ,engines and other key components could've also been used in Tejas,shortening development and production time.Once again the mixing up of light,med. and heavy fighters has begun another pointless exercise which will end in total disaster.Aircraft like the F-15SE,SU-35 which weren't in the running last time are in the race with the nags who were " also-rans" in the last race!
Fortunately CV has saved us."Pockets are empty, the cupboard is bare and the GOI has no money to spare",pardon the rhyme, but this acute financial depression may enlighten the princes of babudom and their political masters of the way forward.
I was reading recently a review of the Series 2.0 of this comedy.Some interesting facts,plus other historical input. .It was Mrs.G. who wanted the M2K not the IAF initially,as she saw the lessons of the Falkland War and western eqpt. success. Both M2Ks and MIG-29s were acquired to counter Paki F-16s.The IAF again didn't want the SU-30, but thanks to the foresight of the ACM of the day,was pushed through. The delay in acquiring the Rafale by the Modi govt. ,should've been done when they first took over, is attributed by some to the heavy lobbying by Yankee-Doodle,wanting to scupper the Rafale choice. Babus and politicos also fondly imagine that if they haggle and haggle over prices,they would fall,instead ended up paying more for less as we did with the Rafale.Just 36 birds for around $8B+, when the original costs were for around 120 for about $10B.Furthermore,no TOT has come with it. We have still not developed and put into production the Kaveri engine,a debacle that still sucks out funds into its sinking bank.
HAL have for decades been very patchy absorbing fiirang tech.The IAF for decades have been p*ssed off with HAL's production rate and quality.Old-timers recall how no two MIG-21s were alike on delivery! LCA production as HAL jogs along, will mean 8 years to build around 120 Tejas birds. A 4th-gen bird flying in the skies filled with 5th-gen aircraft and drones.Another comparison is the way China builds,using the " dumpling" method.Building as many as possible fast,then upgrading with the next batch as is being done with Paki JF-17s.making the latest avatars decent bumchums with their F-16s. We want our bird to fly with everything including the kitchen sink in current tech. So Tejas is obese and slow on the draw waiting for a more powerful engine,the HF-24 redux! We lost the plot long ago as it was intended to be a straightforward MIG-21 replacement not a pocket M2K.
Balakot has brought out certain truths. Modern air battles between matching foes begins at the BVR phase.Larger aircraft carrying more powerful radars and EW/ ECM eqpt. get first bite at the cherry. Once the BVR phase has ended,its the WVR AAMs and dogfighting pilot and aircraft ability.Here smaller aircraft without matching BVR capability will lose out to larger birds with more powerful radar/detecting ability plus their larger payloads. The IAF would be better served by acquiring extra numbers of frontline aircraft already in service,heavy,med. and light,all types upgraded, pursuing Tejas' success to the max at relentless speed,than acquiring yet another type for the IAF's aviary.
As they say,the first time in history an event ends in tragedy,the second time it repeats itself as farce!