India must emulate China
Capt. Bharat Verma is the editor of Indian Defence Review. A quarterly journal read by leading policy makers at senior bureaucratic, political and military levels, the IDR is renowned as the most-quoted Indian defence publication. Capt Verma is also the founder and current editor of Lancer Publishers, a publishing house dedicated to defence and security matters.
India needs to do a China.
Beijing has successfully converted China into a low cost manufacturing hub of the world. Similarly, New Delhi should rapidly transform India into a low cost, high end R&D centre of the world without neglecting its manufacturing sector.
Fairly ideal demographic conditions exist along with favourable geo-political factors whereby international actors are willing to invest, as well as, set up shop in India. A noticeable trend in the recent Defence Exhibitions - in Delhi and the Asian Aerospace in Singapore - was that mostly ageing executives manned the stalls of the Western countries; reflective of the prevalent demographic profile.
To maintain their technological lead under these circumstances, the Western countries find India a logical destination for their defence industries, both as a potential market and also a base to develop low cost high-end research projects. On the other hand, we need to leapfrog technologically, as reinventing the wheel is not necessarily an answer to the yawning technological gap that exists between the western countries and India. Therefore, there are synergies that should be exploited. Enormous mutual benefits can accrue to both, if New Delhi can develop itself as a world-class R&D centre and manufacturing global hub for sensitive military industry.
When I left the Army as a Short Service Commissioned Officer, I decided to set up a business. I realised that there was no literature available in India on defence matters written by Indians despite the wars we kept fighting. Our analysis was copied from foreign publications. We were looking at the globe (and India) through the foreigners` eyes. Our security perceptions were what somebody else told us. Analysis mostly came from the Western publications. It was not Indian. Therefore, I decided to set up the first dedicated Indian military publishing house in 1979, to encourage Indian military officers to write. That`s how Lancers came up.