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India must develop a dozen critical technologies, suggests military panel
India to follow in Israel's footsteps and develop its own terms and conditions for supply of R&D related equipment.

A high-powered military committee has said India should get down to developing at least a dozen critical technologies to ensure that foreign powers cannot manipulate country's aerospace capabilities in future. 



The committee submitted its report to the UPA government a few weeks before the Congress-led coalition was routed in the national elections. TOI on Monday reported several recommendations of the committee, headed by Air Marshal M Matheswaran, then deputy chief of integrated staff, which had also indicted both DRDO (defence research and development organization) and HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited). 



"For India to be truly independent militarily, we need to reckon that our defence and technological capabilities are not controlled by external forces," the committee has said. "Today, almost all of our R&D projects in the aeronautical sector can be controlled externally for development time frame and rate of production due to our dependence on raw material & technology," the report says. It points out that countries of Europe, US, Israel etc do dictate their terms and conditions for supply of R&D related requirements. 


The committee identified a list of over a dozen technologies in aeronautics sector on which India should urgently get down to work to ensure a minimum level of self-reliance. A further study on the latest technology denial regimes, dual use COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) items etc was required, it said. 



Among the items the Matheswaran committee has identified are various materials used for aircraft manufacture, precision guided weapons, aero engines, sensors etc. The committee also predicts that in the 20-40 years India would have to have a range of hypersonic planes and missiles as well as counter-measures against them. 



The committee has also pointed out that India needs to find ways to synergise civil and military aviation sectors. According to projections by Airbus and Boeing, Indian market would see purchase of some Rs 200,000 to 250,000 crore worth of civilian aircraft. "The technology diffusion effect from civil to military aviation is an established fact as shown by China. If Indian government decides to enforce offset clauses for the civil aero sector, the selling companies will be forced to place their engineering and component/sub system manufacturing work in India," the report says. 



"There is no defence economy as such, nor are we internationally perceived as anything more than a "valued and growing customer" for aircraft. The space and nuclear sectors are happily different," it says. 



It says India failed to achieve the degree of indigenization and self-reliance that was possible, with all the stakeholders in the government sector, "not very different from the case in USSR/Russia or China" of the past. However, both Russia and China have surged ahead with public sector beginnings, but India did not. 



The Matheswaran committee was set up by the Integrated Defence Staff. It had seven members who visited various facilities around the country, both in private and public sector. It also audited all major aeronautical projects under way, such as the development of light combat aircraft (LCA), Kaveri engine and licence production of Sukhoi-30 by HAL.




Source: Times of India



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