SOURCE: Anand SG / FOR MY TAKE / IDRW.ORG
Since 70’s British military hardware sales to India has been in terminal decline after the Soviet Union became major Strategic defence hardware exporter to India and the decline only fast-tracked after US and Israel started selling weapons to India in last 20 years.
Under Prime minister Narinder Modi’s ” Make in India ” Initiative, if any British Defence Companies want to clinch big ticket Defence Hardware sales to India then Britain’s defence ministry should finally start thinking out of box joint collaborations which can keep Britain has a viable Defence partner for India for future requirements.
India and Britain for long enjoyed very friendly Diplomatic relations but in terms of Defence Hardware sales, British have always been found to be reculant in the past. post-Brexit Britain needs India more than India needs Britain but India is also in no position to award better trade agreements to Britain simply based on previous mutual good relationships.
While India is actively scouting for Industrial Defence partners who can help India in development of key Defence programmes it wants to take up soon to boost its Naval power in the region against rising dominance of Chinese Navy in Indian Ocean Region for which it has decided to locally develop Six Nuclear attack Submarines and also develop a 65000 tonnes aircraft carriers.
India’s SSN Plans
India has been having active talks with France and Russia on a possible collaboration of their Defence firms which can help India provide necessary consultancy along with key systems to develop Six New Attack submarine in India. Royal Navy operates Astute class Nuclear-powered Attack Submarine, which is highly impressive among western attack submarines when compared to latest United States Navy Virginia-class submarine.
The Astute class is still under development and still is an evolving submarine technology which is becoming better and lethal after the launch of each new boats . with last of the Astute-class Submarine will enter service only by 2024-25, India and Britain can have joint collaboration on technology upon which new Indian attack submarines can be developed upon.
India’s Aircraft Carrier Plans
India plans to develop Second Aircraft carrier INS Vishal which might have Nuclear propulsions for which Russia and United States have emerged has key partners who have offered their technical and consultancy service in its development.
Royal Navy is presently working on two Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers with STOVL configuration which is similar to displacement INS Vishal could be when developed.
Indian Navy historically always relied on British designed and developed aircraft carriers for its operational requirements and collaboration with Russians on aircraft carriers for India has been highly problematic leading to India presently looking at having active collaboration with the United States for developing INS Vishal in future, Britan can also have its share of the pie and provide India help in design consultation and in hardware systems for the new aircraft carrier .