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SOURCE: MANOJ AGARWAL / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG

20 years after Kargil War and over 15 years after Circus which IAF with help of Defence minister ran for years, We are yet again planning to restart great Indian Fighter Jet Tamasha where every Tom, Dick, and Harry will be sending in their fighter jets for evaluation minus China so that IAF can waster another 2-3 years in Technical evaluation of this jet, then declare a winner and when MOD sees the price of each jet it will waste another 2-3 years in price negotiation round then walk out of the deal citing the high cost of purchase and its again back to ground zero, even if price negotiation and the technical round is completed in next three years it means it could require another 3 years to set up a local manufacturing plant and another 2 years before the first aircraft is out of the assembly line.

In short, this circus will go on for the next 7-8 years and might even repeat itself if IAF doesn’t get its favorite Toy which is Dassault Rafale at the end. Since this circus will now be bigger due to the addition of F-15EX and Su-35, it only confirms that fighter jet selection is becoming a herculean task since either party in MOD and IAF have no clue about what they want, It’s like a customer walking into each car showroom in the town and still coming out clueless because he still doesn’t know what he wants and what is his criteria.

If MOD seeks a low-cost fighter jet and price is the main criteria then it should automatically eliminate jets, which have a hefty price tag, if Technical features are the main criteria and price is not a factor anymore then fighter jets which are superior in Technical evaluation round should be only one cleared for the next stage of the process, but we can’t have both as main criteria, since it becomes very difficult to find a neutral ground when this methodology is applied.

Its time, India moves away from MMRCA Circus and works to order additional Dassault Rafale and increase Public-Private partnership in the Tejas Mk2 and AMCA program so that these programs are on time and production can be up-scaled so that it can cater to the avoid left behind by the cancellation of the MMRCA tender.

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