Shiv, for the record the rant wasn't directed at you. Something which you said, and which we both agree on BTW, just triggered it. (IOW, Don't ban me bro
As you well know you cannot build up technologies like defense or semiconductor in a garage even if you have the intellect of an Einstein and the business acumen of a Gates as well as money to burn for a good cause like a Tata. Immense resources beyond the scale of individuals/mega-corporations have to be invested into a given sector and you have to wait patiently for 20-25 years for the fruits to start bearing. Individual talent will not translate into national excellence by itself. If a talented individual is transplanted into an ecosystem which has already "arrived" he will naturally thrive and be fruitful.
There are a few problems in India, first is resources are very very scarce. Between fighting poverty and fighting Chinese, the Chinese decidedly take the second place. This has not been true for countries like China - or as an extreme example - North Korea: Got the bomb, got the missiles and all they got to show for that was 2 million starvation deaths. Because we enjoy an answerable political leadership who would be strung to the nearest pole if they actually attempted to "make us eat grass for the bum", we won't be as good at investing resources on a national scale like the Chinese do. This is more a blessing than a curse and we will have to live with it.
Second we need to support the adolescent stages of the defense industry, and I don't see us do it. We have the LCA, its not a world beater, far from it. It might cost more, and be less capable than, say a Gripen. But it has one advantage a girpen doesn't have - it is made in India. The armed forces cannot issue requests for an MBT and then compare Arjun with a T-90 or a Leopard and expect it to beat it in all aspects for a purchase to materialize. Unless we purchase and gain operating experience and request refinements and make sure we make continual improvement LCA/Arjun et al will end up like the Marut - a dead end. There is a significant danger of that happening atleast on a system scale if not the particular subsystems.
If the forces had had a choice we would have had screw-driver tech, ToT offsets etc along with ... Iskanders! Because we couldn't we had to have the fairly lousy Prithvi. But then soon enough came along Prithvi II, Agni I and II and III and IV and shaurya and sagarika and what not. Forces need to understand that the first indigeneous 155mm gun would be as liable to kill the operator as the enemy. But it wont stay that way for long.
We need a version of the 'Buy American Act' which forces the services to purchase a sizable fraction in-house to foster growth of local industries. We have to do it now as in another 20 years Russia will have largely evaporated as a source of hight tech (the paucity of investment since the FSU will start showing up in the next decade), and where Europe will be is a question mark. If we hold the current course the alternatives will be to be a US lackey industrially or be outclassed by China. Or we invest now, take some readiness hits by inducting less than the best "Made by GoI" gear andl ensure we will be up for the challenge in the coming decades.
To ensure DRDO et al don't sit on their asses because they have a captive market due to "Buy India Policy" invest in redundancy. If ADA had to compete with BADA (Badar's ADA) for over all design as well as subsystem design things would move a lot faster. You waste a lot of money (point one raises its head again) in duplication of capability, but it pays itself off in the long term by fostering competition. HAL doesn't make things well or fast enough? BHAL will do so. You don't need free market to keep things competitive - Russia, China manage with competing design bureau and manufacturing establishments.
TL;DR version: first product excellence and only then purchase doesn't work for local industry. Talking of making Indian products 'world class' by involving L&T and Tata etc so that services will buy is bass-ackwards.
PS: Shiv, one of these days someone will really give you a hemlock.