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Friday, April 27, 2007

Russians, Coyly, Playing Double Game

Another reminder that strategic assets have to be build within

With much brouhaha, Russian president Putin said all the right words and signed on all the right documents, during his last visit to India, in January 2007. But the Russians, apparently, don't want to deliver. INS Vikramaditya, the replacement carrier for the dying INS Viraat, won't be ready until 2010 - a two year delay.

Earlier, Russian shipbuilders had estimated 700 km of cabling in the ship but that’s been revised to a total of 2,400 km for the carrier to be operational with the Indian Navy for the next two decades. According to official sources, even the sky-jump on the deck of Gorshkov is not completed and work is going at a slow pace. [IE]

Even as MEA has been patting its own back for stopping Pakistan from acquiring fighter planes from China fitted with Russian engines, the Russians have ignored their apparent pledge made just months ago. Apparently they value Chinese relationship more than our own, which probably can be taken for granted because of the way we behave with the Russians.

Adding to concerns here is Moscow’s decision to look the other way as Pakistan received Chinese JF-17 fighters last month. These aircraft are powered by Russian RD-93 engines. Pakistan will now get 15 more fighters next year and another 200 by 2015. [IE]

It's time to get serious about developing local technology base for building ships, planes, armored vehicles. Shipbuilding is promisingly moving forward but building workable planes and armored vehicles are still out of reach for our defence industry. Trying to do everything on the cheap with insufficient government funding and inefficient government controlled institutions is not working. In the mean time, spending billions on foreign weapons systems that are equally delayed is costing us precious lead time needed to make these projects work in house the right way.