Monday, December 24, 2007

126 MRF: An Indian Master Card

India’s declining combat ratio with regard to air force with Pakistan has been a cause for concern in the Indian strategic community. But like every crisis, it has brought a golden opportunity for India. In fact, it can be a master card for India if handled with proper consideration.

The Indian Air Force prefers the French Miraj 2000V. The USA hopes to clinch the offer because of the new found Indo-US bonhomie. Russia, with its new generation Mig-35 aircraft hopes for the call.

India has enunciated its new policy of offset which ensures more than 30% of industrial production within the country. Joint development has been another guideline. But given India’s huge defence requirement and its image as a responsible nuclear power, India should follow another path. Considering heavy weaponisation in the neighbourhood and the inevitable space threat generated by China’s A-Sat (Anti-Satellite) test, India should qualitatively enhance its weaponry. So with whoever the deal is finalised with, it should be a type of package deal ensuring the handover of other hi-tech sophisticated technologies and weapons.

India has to count upon the high techs that can be acquired from Russia, the USA and France and so on. First of all, it should focus on long range offensive platforms.

The list includes Bunker Buster (Daisy Cutter), Global Hawk, Aegis Anti-missile System, UCAVs (Unmanned Combat Aerial Vehicles) and hyperplanes. The Russian list includes hypersonic technologies, ICBM technologies with multiple warheads, SLBMs, N-Subs and full utilisation of the Russian satellite system. Thus though the criteria for the deal have been announced, the new catch line of the package system has to be followed with the vendor country in secrecy and even pay-extra price for it.

India must not forget that it is the sole state in the world which is surrounded by two symbiotic Nuclear powers including another N-power in the making. So it has to build with foreign help as well as indigenously weapon systems with speed, power, precision, stealth and range. It must set up a robust tri-service aero-space command and an effective 3CI (Command, Control and Communication) nuclear command and control system. Besides, it can stress in dual-use technologies and declare its whole nuclear command as world’s first Thermo-nuclear Command. Again, any war with Pakistan—as calculated by the strategic experts—will be swift and short-spanned as all the major powers will intervene to stop the nuclear conflagration. Gradually, India must build up a Space Battle Station because judging from China’s A-Sat test and the threat to our space assets, we must relinquish our compunctions. Otherwise the nuclear predicament perpetrated against India will be repeated.

So India must surge ahead at least of the so-called Enemy No. 1, and as an emerging super-power it can benefit from both—Russia and the USA. But given the US nature of hegemony and its game of balance of power, it will be prudent for us to go with Russia. The new generation Mig-35 aircraft with its unique vector thrust control and its ability to stand still in the mid-sky is undoubtedly a better choice. Besides, India can dissuade Russia from selling China the sophisticated technologies. After the successful inking of the Glonass agreement, co-operation in the matter of civilian and military space co-operation is a distinct possibility. Both have to think and decide whether a joint aero-space command can be set up.

Time is running out. We must decide in no time. Otherwise procrastination and indecisiveness will cost the nation dearly.

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