Thursday, April 9, 2015

High on potential, and high on hopes too

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My article High on potential, and high on hopes too was published in the Edit Page of The Pioneer.

During Modi’s France visit, it is difficult to predict what will happen with the Rafale deal, but if it goes through, it will become the ‘mother' of all ‘Make in India' projects and herald a number of win-win situations for India

A few days ago, before he embarked on a nine-day trip abroad, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted: “My France, Germany and Canada visit is centered around supporting India’s economic agenda and creating jobs for our youth.” About the French leg of his journey, Mr Modi announced that he would “discuss strengthening India-France economic cooperation and visit some high-tech industrial units outside Paris, [while] seeking greater French involvement in our Make in India programme, including in the defence manufacturing sector.” Mr Modi’s visit to France should be seen in this perspective. Is it a coincidence that three days before Mr Modi’s departure for Paris, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar ‘undocked’ the first of the six Scorpene submarines built in collaboration with the Directions des Constructions et Armes Navales of France at the Mazagon Docks Limited?
Intentional or not, it is an interesting example to look at because it is a great leap forward for the Make in India, which is not about manufacturing toys or cheap appliances, but being able to integrate the latest state-of-art technologies into India’s industrial process.  The Scorpene submarine also shows that despite difficulties and delays, it is possible for India to assimilate, in a relatively short time, the latest technologies. After the ‘undocking’ function, Mr Parrikar blamed the delay on what he termed as the incompetence of the previous Government. He might be right, but the fact remains that it is not an easy proposition to transfer technologies in an environment which is not always prepared to receive such technologies. And how to eliminate delays, frictions with the ‘supplier’ and price overruns?

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