India Doesn’t Require F-16s When it Has Tejas

PRIME MINISTER Narendra Modi’s visit to the US to meet President Donald J Trump is now on the front burner, with an emphasis on ‘deliverables’. If Delhi is keen on easing the H1B visa regime for Indian techies, Washington is eager that Modi sign up for the fourth generation F-16, a deal seen as ‘open sesame’ for endless future transactions on military hardware, and implement the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement. If the fourth generation F-16 is the key, what does it say about India that the BJP Government is interested in an antique American combat aircraft, optimised for air warfare of the 1970s, as a frontline fighter for the Indian Air Force well into the 21st century?

The Lockheed F-16 and the Swedish SAAB (Svenska Aeroplan Aktie Bolag) JAS 39 Gripen are competing for the single-engined fighter slot in the IAF, a requirement casually conceived to fill the gap the indigenous Tejas Light Combat Aircraft (LCA), earmarked to replace the large numbers of the Russian MiG-21 as the bulk combat aircraft in the Air Force, has failed to meet. It is another matter that the delays suffered by the Tejas programme can be traced mainly to machinations to derail it, including frequent changes in specifications, and the ordering of the LCA in small batches to curtail economies of scale and deter HAL and private companies from investing in multiple LCA production lines. (See my ‘The Tragedy of Tejas’, February 17th, 2017). Despite starting with negligible technology and industrial capability, the LCA is operational, has impressed as a compact, multi-role, highly agile, fly-by-wire, 4.5 generation warplane, and can even become an export revenue earner for the country.
So, why isn’t Modi publicly hailing Tejas as a remarkable story of Indian grit, talent and technological innovation, and as a showcase for his ‘Make in India’ policy and the country’s capacity to design complex weapons systems? He should be ensuring that the IAF is invested fully in the aircraft, and that it is a runaway military and commercial success at home and abroad. Except, it turns out that, as Baba Kalyani of Bharat Forge observed at Aerospace India 2017, by ‘Make in India’ Modi probably means ‘Assemble in India’, and that too, any old piece of foreign equipment. The Prime Minister’s aim apparently is to draw American defence manufacturing companies to set up shop here, solidify India’s status as ‘major defence partner’ of the US, and use the F-16 (and possibly the Boeing F-18) to extract more ‘give’ from Trump on issues dear to him. The collateral benefits Modi espies are the firming up of the ruling party’s financial support base among NRIs in America (and the West generally), and enhancing his electoral appeal among the Indian middle-class.
It also suggests that Modi is reconciled to America not delivering on cutting-edge technologies, or committing itself to jointly designing and developing advanced armaments, a reluctance evidenced in the US Congress rejecting NATO-partner status for India and the India-US Defence Technology & Trade Initiative being a non-starter, with only technologically obsolete weaponry phased out by the US military—the M-777 ultra-light howitzer, the aged F-16 and F-18, etcetera—being offered for licensed manufacture.
The IAF has always liked the Gripen, the reason why Sweden jumped in with the E variant in the race against the F-16 Block 70. But both Gripen E, almost the same as the NG (New Generation) and Block 70, only another name for the ‘IN Super Viper’, had entered the Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft (MMRCA) sweepstakes, which Modi settled with his impulse purchase in April 2015 of 36 Rafales from France.
On a comparative basis though, which of these aircraft is superior? S Paul Kapur and Sumit Ganguly, in a piece, ‘F-16s, Made in India: Second Best may be Best’ in Foreign Affairs, while acknowledging that set alongside Gripen, the F-16 is ‘second best’, nevertheless argue that the American aircraft is the better buy because the benefits to India from dealing with the US, a great power, outweigh the gains from dealing with Sweden, a fairly marginal European state. Moreover, they claim, it’s a selection that will build ‘trust’ and ‘bind the two countries together’ in the larger geopolitical contest afoot against China. Allowing the assembly of F-16s in India is not the preferred option for America either, they maintain, as Lockheed would rather have India as a ‘customer’. And, after rubbishing the Tejas as under-powered, under-performing and not induction- ready aircraft, they aver that the F-16 or even the Gripen will reverse the trend of the Air Force’s supposed depleting squadron strength. But a ‘second best’ fighter plane for India in the context of the top- of-the-line Su-30s for strike missions and MiG-29s for distant air defence in the IAF inventory makes no sense unless Delhi agrees with Washington’s assessment of the Indian military as second rate and India as Third World.An economic case for the F-16 was reportedly made by Ashley Tellis of Carnegie Endowment directly to Modi. Predictably, he greatly under- estimates the F-16 unit cost and lifetime costs, and exaggerates the size of the supposedly uptapped global market for 500 F-16s, and for spares for more than 3,500 of this aircraft operating worldwide. Also, his contention that the production monopoly of this aircraft immunises India against a US cutoff of critical items for the F-16, is iffy at best. But the knowledgeable Tellis can be convincing especially to an Indian audience predisposed to believe him.

The fact though is that with the up-front payment for the transfer of the F-16 assembly line to India and for the full complement of SKD and CKD kits for aircraft assembly, there’s no incentive for Washington not to shut down the F-16 or any other supply line at will should Delhi not conform to the contingent US policy interests. In light of Trump’s ‘America First’ outlook, there’s already some backsliding with Lockheed saying that 25 per cent of the production of F-16 spares and critical assemblies would be retained at its Fort Worth plant in Texas, which could be a precursor to its deciding that continued production of this aircraft in small numbers in the US serves its interests, just so workers don’t lose jobs and Trump is kept happy. In the event, paying an awful lot of money for a vintage aircraft and, instead of facilitating the country’s entry into the global supply chain, seeing the F-16 become an albatross around India’s neck, is a real prospect.

Then again, how does the Tejas compare with the other planes? According to the just retired LCA project chief, Commodore CD Balaji in an interview to Aeromag Asia, the LCA “is far superior to the MiG-21 in all aspects”, and “far ahead in terms of technologies and performance …to the Chinese JF-17 [flown by the Pakistan Air Force], and [is] at par with Gripen.” But which aircraft has the operational edge? In aerial warfare with Beyond Visual Range weapons, the ability to locate an adversary aircraft is of paramount importance, and here a fully loaded LCA has a lethal edge in terms of its very small radar cross section of 0.5 sq m. Relative to Gripen’s RCS of 0.7 sq m plus, and of between 3 sq m and 6 sq m for the F-16 and Rafale, the Tejas, is virtually invisible. Making the LCA stealthier still is the fact that 40 per cent of its body is made of radar-absorbing carbon composites versus 25 per cent for Gripen, and 10 per cent for F-16.

Moreover, armed with an entirely tested and proven all-Indian designed and developed ordnance suite of the Surdarshan laser- guided bomb, Astra air-to-air radar-homing missile, and outfitted with the Uttam Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) radar, the Tejas weapons system is powerful. The weapons (like the French Meteor missile at $5 million each) carried by Gripen and Rafale, on the other hand, are all inordinately expensive and will incur very high expenditure to obtain and periodically to replenish the weapons stocks for the lifetime of the aircraft. Further, unlike Gripen E, which has yet to pull speed taxi trials, will enter Swedish service in 2020, and whose AESA radar has tested ‘unstable’, the Tejas has logged over 3,000 flying hours, successfully negotiated the most onerous flight regimes, and proven itself in war exercises in the air defence and ground attack roles.

Notwithstanding everything in its favour, including national pride, should the Tejas be sidelined, it will perpetuate India’s status as an arms dependency and mock the country’s technological ambition. If the F-16 is chosen, it will end up reducing India to a spear-carrier for the US. Were Gripen to get the nod, then as the long-time DRDO’s resident wit, the now retired rocket engineer, V Siddhartha punned, it will be because Modi believes in ‘SAAB ke saath, SAAB ka vikaas’


Published in the Open Magazine dated March 32, 2017 at http://www.openthemagazine.com/article/comment/india-doesn-t-require-f-16s-when-it-has-tejas

World Action and Reaction News (WARN) has the above piece in video-audio at
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CZNVFElutfs

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
This entry was posted in arms exports, Asian geopolitics, China, China military, civil-military relations, Culture, Decision-making, Defence Industry, domestic politics, DRDO, Europe, Geopolitics, Great Power imperatives, India's China Policy, India's strategic thinking and policy, Indian Air Force, Indian ecobomic situation, MEA/foreign policy, Military Acquisitions, Military/military advice, Russia, russian assistance, South Asia, Strategic Relations with the US & West, Technology transfer, United States, US., Weapons, Western militaries. Bookmark the permalink.

34 Responses to India Doesn’t Require F-16s When it Has Tejas

  1. Venkat says:

    123 Tejas have been ordered, HAL has been asked to double the production. The current production rate is simply unacceptable considering Tejas first flew in 2001.
    16 years is sufficient by any standards to get ready for fast production . So what was HAL doing ?

    How many light/medium fighter-bombers do we need to replace MiG23/27 in next 5 years ? Will tejas fit the bill to replace these or is it suitable only as a point defence fighter (with secondary strike capability) ? What kind armaments will these strike aircraft need to carry ? What is the cost difference between single and two engine fighters ? (We have about 150+ MiG23/27 right ?).

    Such questions need to be answered by the blogger. Then we will know why this second line single engine aircraft are cropping up.

    This government has not spent money on unnecessary things so far. Any decision will be taken considering overall scenario.

    • Apna says:

      This govt.like previous one has spent money on useless American bunks and Israeli goods to please the Jewish lobby and to bribe the Americans for H1B visa for the kids of Indian coolie elites.

  2. ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

    Tejas has got the kiss of death from all our governments and general class – right from Rajiv Gandhi onwards.

  3. Gp Capt TP Srivastava says:

    IAF FIGHTER ACQUISITION PLAN TILL 2050 AD
    Facts
    • Post 1971 war IAF strike element reached 39.5 Squadrons.
    • Current strength of genuine strike element squadrons has dropped below 30 sqns as on date (actually 28 sqns).
    • Making up deficiency of nearly 12 squadrons would require induction of 192 fighters and 24 type trainers.
    • If 20% reserves were to be added the figure will rise to around 240 fighters and 30 trainers, totaling 270 aircraft.
    • Assuming an extremely optimistic induction plan, it will take at least TEN YEARS to meet above requirements.
    • During the decade these 270 flying machines are inducted, SIX of the existing 28 squadrons would become obsolete.
    • Hence SIX more squadron worth strike element will have to be added to keep 39.5 squdron strength implying additional 96 fighters and 12 trainers. 20% reserve would hike the figure to 120 fighters and 15 trainers totaling 135 aircraft.
    • Hence as on date IAF requires planned induction of 405 strike aircraft (270+135) in the next two decades.
    • I had made this prediction in my article authored in May 2007 and August 2011. Both articles form part of my book titled PROFLIGATE GOVERNANCE…. Implications for National Security.
    Now about Mr Karnad’s write up. To begin with the title of the article is flawed to the core. The author does not have enough understanding about the weapon platform being compared. In addition the article carries misleading , inaccurate and incorrect information.
    LCA is not yet an operational aircraft and unlikely to attain operational status before 2022 AD provided there are no more glitches in development.
    Let me define an operational strike aircraft in simplest words. A strike aircraft can be termed operational only and only if it is available on a fighter squadron tarmac loaded with bombs, rockets, guns, missiles etc and can be handed over to a young rookie Flying Officer of the squadron to fly and fire the weapons either for training or in ‘anger’ if situation so demands. LCA, few of them, handed over to IAF in a ‘cosmetic ceremony’ does not meet such basic requirements.
    Hence author’s contention to compare a fully operational aircraft with a still developing platform is misplaced and indicates his lack of awareness of actual position on the ground.
    Having said that I would sincerely hope that LCA does not meet the same or worse fate at the hands of myopic bureaucrats and IAF leadership as we did by discontinuing the outstanding HF-24 programme. On 24th June, 1961 when first HF 24 flew it was a world class machine, indeed with few deficiencies.
    Now about the availability of strike element in foreseeable future; LCA will simply not meet the numbers requirement. I will not touch performance related issues here. We have no choice but to go in for large scale production in India.
    In May 2004 Chuck Eddleston, CEO of Marcelle Dassault travelled to India and made an unilateral offer of giving the entire production facility of Mirage-2000-5 along with offer of Rafales at unit price of USD 33 MILLION. Our bureaucrats rejected the proposal on the grounds that it was a single vendor proposal. Rest is history. We are now buying 36 Rafales at unit price of USD 66 MILLION.
    A word about technology. In our environment an aeroplane is required to operate at sub-zero temperastures of Leh, Thoise, Srinagar and most Punjab airfields in winters. Same machine is also required to operate in searing heat of Rajasthan airfields and finally the same machine has to operate wearing a ‘trench coat’ in wet climes of north east.
    Gripen and Rafale do not meet these diverse requirement primarily because of technology unable to operate in such conditions. F-16 does meet these operational requirements in a far better manner. Mean Time Between Failure (MTBF) parameter for Rafale and Gripen will be extremely low resulting in poor utilization rate as against F-16, if being offered.
    Incidentally most expensive flying machine the B-2 crashed in Guam because due to high humidity air speed sensor malfunctioned resulting in aircraft stalling after take off.
    Author is way off the mark in his assessment of strike element for IAF till 2050 AD. Author ought to resort to digital appreciation rather than vague and inaccurate analogous appreciation and present misleading information on matters of national security.
    Gp Capt TP Srivastava
    9818926254
    Tps_in@yahoo.com

    • Venkat says:

      Good write up. I agree some idiotic babus messed a simple IAF plan to procure 100+ mirages . We are paying for that now.

    • Rodinsthinker says:

      @GP Capt T P Srivatsava,

      In that case, how did the rafale pass the MMRCA benchmarks and the F-16 failed? Surely they would have been put through the hot, cold and trench coat tests?

    • GP Srivastava — Operating in extremely diverse ambient conditions is a metric, you are aware, the Tejas passed, but no other imported aircraft did. And F-16, assuming it went through a “cold start” in early winter morning test at Leh and Thoisie, is too old to merit consideration, surely.

    • Apna says:

      So you are pumping up for 69s design f16 which was all right to buy in early 80s but not Now?
      How shameless can Indians get to please their American masters?

      • &^%$#@! says:

        You’ll be surprised how low people can stoop to get a peons job in (say) LM, …….. What can one say about a country which was ruled by a company?

    • &^%$#@! says:

      From what I’ve heard, one of the major grouses the IAF had against the HF-24 (apart from the real fact that it was Indian) was that when all 4 cannon were fired, the a/c went into a spin. It was never mentioned that the Hunter also suffered from a similar problem in addition to compressor stalls in its early days, which was rectified by the RAF and the designer/manufacturer (Hawker) working together. The IAF has just never been a “builders air force”. I don’t hold out much hope for the Tejas seeing service in numbers in the IAF. To give an example, a particularly vile, motivated, and ignorant AM with a walrus mustache used to suggest that it was better if the Tejas had canards. The fact is that there were indeed wind tunnel tests of the Tejas with canards, and the compound delta configuration was found to be better. This is a rare photograph of the Tejas wind tunnel model with canards:

    • andy says:

      Re:”Hence author’s contention to compare a fully operational aircraft with a still developing platform is misplaced and indicates his lack of awareness of actual position on the ground.”

      So what exactly is the actual position on the ground?The Tejas is able to carry and fire rockets and bombs for many years now but the IAF will still not accept it without the IFR probe.It has flown almost 3000hours of accident free test flights in the desert heat and sub zero ladakh,meaning its a proven all weather platform,but the IAF will still not accept it without the FOC.The track record of airforces around the world(including USA)indicates that they induct new platforms as soon as possible and then incremental additions are made by putting in new systems.Even the PAF jokers inducted the JF17 years ago and its only now getting an IFR probe but the IAF honchos didn’t get off their high horse and if the present govt hadn’t rammed it down their throats Tejas would still not be inducted.So this nit picking about the FOC is just a bogey created by the IAF to make the Tejas languish.

      How many times has the ASQR been changed?As soon as some systems are perfected,which takes time,they come up with a fresh set of demands.The problem is the want to purchase Ferraries to do when a honest Mahindra vehicle would do.That the Tejas is comparable to fully operational aircraft is a tribute to its abilities ,anyways the comparison was done by Tejas test pilots and Bharat was only quoting them.If anyone knows about the actual position on ground of the Tejas surely it has to be the test pilots,anyone else professing to know more is just bullshiting.

    • andy says:

      As for depleting fighter strength from 39.5 squadrons after the 1971 war and the IAFs requirement for this number,Where did this come from?

      In the 1950s, the defence brass had recommended 64 fighter squadrons for the IAF. That was revised to 42 in the 1960s. There is nothing magical about this number and only those who fail to recognise that the nature of air combat has changed will cling to it.Is it anybody’s case that the fighter planes of the 50s and 60s are one on one comparable to gen 4 and 4.5 fighters like the SU30MKI?If it is then such a contention is laughable to say the least.

      Back in the 1960s – when the supersonic era was in its infancy – jet fighters were smaller, accident prone, required longer maintenance hours and had low endurance. For instance, it was said about the MiG-21 that it was in a fuel crisis even as it took off. Because the MiG-21’s endurance was only 30-45 minutes, you needed more of them to ensure some aircraft were always in the air.

      Today’s Generation 4 and 4+ aircraft have long legs. The IAF’s Sukhoi Su-30MKI – codenamed Flanker by NATO – has a range of 3000 km on internal fuel, which ensures a 3.75 hour combat mission. India’s Sukhoi pilots are known to have practised 10 hour missions during air combat exercises flying sorties that cover exteme points on the LAC and LOC in the same sortie. With such long legs, the Sukhoi can runs laps around Pakistan’s perimeter.

      The Su-30s, MiG-29s and Mirage-2000s are versatile fighters that not only undertake strike and bombing missions, but can also provide combat air patrol (CAP) which creates a safe envelope for other jets to operate freely.So clinging to this number of 39.5 or 42 squadrons,while flying versatile multirole aircraft like the SU30MKI reflects obsolete thought process,lesser numbers of such aircraft are required to take care of contingencies arising on the borders and elsewhere.

    • &^%$##@! says:

      You seem to conveniently neglect the role of Krishnaswamy in the delay of getting additional 100+ M2K’s till it was too late since the manufacturing line in France shut down, and the institutional promotion of the Rafale within the IAF without a proper evaluation and force assessment.

  4. raja says:

    If we had not closed that Mig21 production line we would be more comfortable today!

  5. Apna says:

    Tells you how much shameless the Indian elite cookies are.
    That unelected Begley is an American agent like the unelected MM Singh the ex-PM.It is Indian elites who are responsible for distance between russia and India. For last several years is seen that just before the Indian PM goes to states in his annual pilgrimage he awards billion dollar contract for American junk.In fact many Indians are openly pumping for old rusty F-16 .And they have temerity to make fun of MiG-35 or Su-35 and T-50 which all were offered to India. Indians elites are barking for American interests. Thing was it was in Indian interest that Russia, China, and India stand up against Anglo American bullying. the Opposite has happened with India. American boot licking elites of India were induced by English language media to lie and do propaganda against China. And they expect China to support India for NSG membership, etc.?

    • &^%$#@! says:

      “Begley”. Now that’s a nice one. I’ll borrow it. Yes, the Indian elites are indeed worthless coolies. Your views are pretty valid. You will get further traction and understanding if you kept away from phrases like “Jewish Lobby” etc. Israel and the Jewish Lobby has always been pro-India. Recall the veteran Israeli statesman Abba Eban was one of the few to support India in 1965 at the UN. It is the US Deep State which is and will always be pro-Pakistan, regardless of how many times Pakistan kicks and back stabs the US. It will always be anti-India regardless how much the Chaiwalla licks the US boots.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      BRICS was indeed the ideal forum, till India screwed it up at the US’s behest. Today, India’s status in the world just is marginally above that of the Philippines under the house boy Marcos. Modi reminds me of the pirate captain in Asterix comics, who would rather sink his own ship than face Asterix and Obelix. Likewise, I believe Modi will ruin India just so that he does not displease the US.

  6. Apna says:

    using Russia for the U.N. veto power to purchasing weapons. Russia has now realized how selfish India is!

    Narendra modi now gives bribes to usa in form of immediate decisipn to buy spy infested american junk weaponary costing billions of dollars all within 2 years without any tender.

    “”””””http://zeenews.india.com/india/pm-narendra-modi-clears-rs-17000-crore-air-defence-missile-deal-with-israel_1980214.html

  7. Rupam says:

    One thing i think Tejas does better than other aircraft in same category is the take off. As far as i have seen the Tejas has one of the shortest take off ever, this characteristic in itself has huge advantage since it allows the Tejas to be able to land in relatively smaller carriers and airfields. Correct me if i am wrong. Just an observation.

    • &^%$#@! says:

      You’re pretty much correct. In fact, the large wing area of the Tejas might also auger very well for aerodynamic braking, as demonstrated in this Youtube clip by a Vulcan bomber (see from 09:07 onward):

      • Rupam says:

        True i just checked a couple of videos of Tejas, F-16, Gripen-e, Rafale in take off and maneuverability and in take off as accurately as i could calculate it seems that the Tejas takes about 8-10 secs while the other three take about 10-13 secs in take off. The 2-3 secs gap itself is of huge advantage in situations where one needs to bomb locations either in symmetrical pattern or guerrilla pattern. The fast take off time is of immense importance and help in any situation. As for maneuverability i am not skilled enough to make a judgment as to which one is better but in some places i think the tejas has more fluidity in its maneuvers, like it feels that the plane is made to do tight turns and other outlandish maneuvers that the pilot wants and needs to do. Just an observation.

  8. &^%$#@! says:

    @BK: The first line in this article below the image states “(Tejas LCA in foreground at Aerospace India 2017)”. IMHO the said a/c in question that is depicted in the image resembles the Hawk jet trainer and not the LCA.

  9. The Indo-US nuclear deal is dead. Amen
    The Westinghouse company’s bankruptcy filing underscores that the entire range of criticism that was levelled by the Left in our country against the Indo-US nuclear deal has been proven right. The people who were lionised by the Indian media for negotiating the deal have gone into hiding. There is a saying that success has many fathers, while failure is an orphan.

    Fundamentally, what went wrong was that a decision was taken by the Indian ruling elites without due deliberation or national debate to accept the offer made by the US to conclude a nuclear deal with India. President George W. Bush surprised our then PM Mnmohan Singh with the stunning proposal when they met in the White House in 2005. We impromptu accepted the proposal. Whereas the objectives of such a deal ought to have been examined first, the decision to conclude the deal somehow became the priority. That decision, in turn, was predicated on the conviction that India and the US were ‘natural allies’.

    The strange concept of ‘natural allies’ was the brainwave of the Bharatiya Janata Party government led by Atal Bihari Vajpayee. But Congress Party was only too happy to adopt it. It is only we Indians who regard folks in another country as ‘natural allies’. Not even the Anglo-Saxon countries say such absurdities about each other.

    The breakdown of the US-India nuclear deal exposes a comprador mentality. The mother of all ironies was that the greedy Americans extracted out of us an additional promise as well that we would import reactors exclusively from their vendors to manufacture 20000 MW of power. In sum, we promised to be a captive market for their vendors in the downstream of the nuclear deal. Now their vendor is pulling down shutters and claiming bankruptcy. This must be God’s wrath.

    Then, apparently to justify the deal to the US Congress, Washington enacted a legislation known as Hyde Act, which virtually outlined India’s future foreign-policy trajectory – specifically, that Indians are good guys because they are agreeable to stymie their relations with Iran. We simply began mothballing the Iran-India gas pipeline project.

    In retrospect, what are the gains of the nuclear deal? For the Americans, it opened the door for lucrative arms exports to India. They have done exceedingly well. The US is now the number one vendor of weapons to our country. But what have we got? Has there been any global recognition of India as a nuclear weapon state? Do we have access to cutting edge reprocessing technology? Have we generated even 1 MW of power additionally, thanks to the nuclear deal? Our government’s claim that the nuclear deal was necessary to ensure India’s energy security turns out to be baloney. (China will smirk if we still maintain energy security is what drives us to seek membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.)

    In political terms, too, the parting of ways between the Congress and the Left in 2008 proved a watershed event in Indian politics. The Congress Party’s renewed mandate in the 2009 poll became a Phyrrhic victory insofar as without the Left’s moderating influence, UPA-II took to neo-liberalism with gusto and the scams that followed inevitably became its legacy, spelling doom for Congress in the 2014 election, from which the party is finding it difficult to stage recovery. The ascendancy of right-wing politics ensued.

    Some Indian papers have taken seriously the claim by the Westinghouse that it still intends to go ahead with setting up nuclear power plants in India. Let us hope that the government now doesn’t offer a multi-billion dollar bailout to the Westinghouse! To be sure, it will be ‘anti-national’ to touch Westinghouse even with a barge pole.

    This is a moment for reality check. We should take a fresh look at nuclear energy. In the context of Kudankulam, robust public opinion had surfaced regarding the inadvisability of setting up nuclear power plants, but we smothered it. The Fukushima disaster highlighted the grave dangers. Besides, new factors have appeared, necessitating a fresh cost-benefit analysis of the country’s energy mix. The rapid progress in technology in other renewable energy sources such as wind and solar power, the sharp fall in oil prices and the expansion in gas projects as a viable and clean alternative are compelling factors. Simply put, nuclear power balance sheet makes no sense today in the changed circumstances. In fact, the only guys selling reactors in the world of tomorrow might be the Russians and the Chinese. The geopolitics of nuclear commerce is phenomenally transforming.

    The bottom line is that the ideological foundation on which the nuclear deal was erected itself has become shaky with the ascendancy of Donald Trump as US president. In Trump’s scheme of ‘America First’, there is simply no space for natural allies. This becomes a moment for the BJP and Congress to jointly organise the last rites of the India-US nuclear deal – amidst Vedic chants, of course.

    Posted in Politics.

    Tagged with energy security, Iran-India gas pipeline, Kudankulam.

    No comments »
    By M K Bhadrakumar – April 1, 2017

    • ~!@#$%^&*()_+ says:

      I will not be surprised if the West-Wing or the Westinghouse people did not already know of this impending bankruptcy several years back. May be as far back as 2000 when Vajpayee was the PM. Its not like these projects do not get their NPV and payback periods calculated several times over the years.

      In which case you can see the 123 agreement and the diluting of Indian nuclear liability bill as a bail out package for Westinghouse type people. All managed by elites from India.

      Everything that is good for US suddenly becomes good for India too. And the elites always get their main stream and social media to consort in an incestuous relationship.

  10. Atul says:

    Tejas seems pretty close to this table:
    http://c0.nrostatic.com/sites/default/files/Fredenburg%20NRO%20Table.pdf
    Even his arguments for developing F-45 Mustang II by the US, support the philosophy behind Tejas to a great extent.

  11. Gaurav says:

    Yes but we need f-16 block 70 for next variants of Tejas. Now jet engine, aesa radar are the major technologies we need and Americans are expert in it
    Plus f-16 is going to be performing the role of mmrca and not LCA. So no problem for tejas

    • the problem is scarce resources — can’t afford rafale, f-16, su-30, MiG-29 and tejas — something has to give, and tejas will fall by the wayside. Indian AESA radar on track if only it’s given a chance.

  12. Søren Nilsson says:

    Correct figures RCS Jas E 0.1 m2 Jas will be first, shot first. Jas is 30 % composites. Jas radar and E war capacity 100 % more powerful. You can test a Tejas against Jas and F 16. Buy the best after the test.

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