India seems to be the global leader in stealth weaponry and, no, we are not kidding. Now, if you don’t believe us, answer this: has anyone seen the complete, fit-for-induction versions of the main battle tank, Arjun, or the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier; or even the indigenous Tejas light combat aircraft (LCA)? The Russians might be dragging their feet on the Gorshkov, but we seem to be in no hurry to catch up with deadlines either. Over a quarter century has lapsed since Arjun and, later, Tejas were sanctioned, but the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s diligent labours have ensured that these wonders of Indian science remain the world’s best kept secret.
Tired of revised deadlines and endless extensions, the Centre seems to think that an infusion of Rs 8,000 crore might help the LCA project take wing. Now, the government’s Christmas cheer apart, don’t start gazing up at that horizon just yet. Going by the organisations’ past record, this latest flush of funds might produce nothing more than another false blip on the radar.
Well, the Cold War years might have given the world the nuclear deterrence theory, but when it comes to conventional weapons, we Indians have put a whole new spin on it. Turning it on its head, we’ve decided to make it work with what we don’t have. So while we wait for the endless paper trail to end before we sign any new defence contracts, and till you hear the rumble of our indigenous munitions, tempt us at your peril. We might someday have what we’re not sure we really might have yet.