SOURCE: RAJU GAEKWAD / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
In mid 80’s a nervous and shy Indian delegation landed in Moscow with an unusual request which could have caused ripples far in the west and in Asia, Before anybody one could put forward their requests, Senior Ranked Soviet Naval officer gasping hesitation shown by Indian officials took the lead and said, ” We know what you want ” and handed over a Scale model of K-43 Charlie-class nuclear-powered missile submarine to ease the hesitation .
It was first Strategic Defence Partnership with the Soviet Union and India. leasing of INS Chakra 1 is seen as a critical component, which leads to a tactical understanding to support India’s Nuclear Naval ambitions which ultimately lead to kick-start of India’s very own Nuclear Submarine program which we see today inform of Arihant Class Submarines.
Since fall of Soviet Union, India and Russia have executed many critical Defence Purchases like development of BrahMos, T-90s, S-400 and INS Chakra 2 but it was also clear in last few years that Russia is no Soviet union when it comes to transferring of critical technologies nor is forward coming when it comes to supporting Indian Projects, which ultimately lead to India searching for new Strategic Defence Partner.
Entry of United States in Indian defence market due to warming ties in last two decade lead to U.S.-India Defense Technology and Trade Initiative (DTTI) under which India and United states agreed to develop and transfer cutting-edge next generation weapons which could help India have edge over its rivals in the region and also act has counterbalance to rising Chinese military might in the region .
DTTI is mostly centred around American help in the development of INS Vishal and in supply of Electromagnetic Aircraft Launch System (EMALS) systems for India’s next aircraft carrier. DTTI till now has failed to take up any turnkey projects and largely is revolving around smaller weapons purchase and development which really cannot be described has Strategic gamechanger systems.
While India is still trying to take best from both Russia and United states when it comes to its defence requirements, France is also slowing merging has an alternative partner who is ready to fill the gap which both Russia and United states have left in India.
When it came to scouting for a partner in design and development of India’s Nuclear Attack submarines, France and Russia were first countries with whom India held discussions, and both have shown interest in helping out India in the development of Nuclear Attack submarines if they can secure orders under Project-75I tender for Six Conventional submarines.
France is willing to offer India DCNS Shortfin Barracuda submarine (SSK) which is largely based on French Nuclear attack Barracuda submarines which will open options for India to develop next generation Indian attack submarine on lines of French Barracuda Nuclear submarine with Indian developed nuclear propulsions and weapons.
French have also expressed interest in working with India in the development of India’s next aircraft carrier and have also shown a keen interest in partnering with India on Ghatak UCAV Project, due to Dassault’s prior experimental experience on nEUROn UCAV. Under Dassault Rafale offset project French have agreed to fix India’s Kaveri engine and will also be supplying India with radar-absorbent material (RAM) Paint currently used on Dassault Rafale Combat jets to help India to reduce Radar Cross sections (RCS) of Sukhoi-30 and LCA-Tejas.
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