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Friday, August 05, 2011

a modest proposal from the Soviets...duly rejected by Indian Babudom

with all credit & due apologies to Peter Landesman for lifting & then twisting the title of one of his articles


While going through the stack of news in the inbox today yesterday morning, I came across an article, written by a Brazilian. The article called for getting Brazil's defence programs & industry up & going by hiring from among the number of highly trained American Scientists & Engineers.

Brazil will never find another opportunity like the one that is available today with NASA laying off thousands of highly qualified scientists and engineers who are specialized in the aerospace area and are ready to go to work immediately on these projects.

This kind of endeavor brings many benefits to the Brazilian economy such as high paying jobs, innovation, new technologies, and also shows that Brazil is serious about becoming one of the leading nations in the 21st century.

The fast development of a state-of-the-art defense and aerospace industry in Brazil has become a priority for Brazil to go up to the next level and become one of the leading nations in the 21st century.

With the recent closure of America's Space Shuttle program, a large number of them are expected to lose their employment. Thus, their experience & knowledge would be an invaluable addition to any Science & Technology program they choose to associate themselves with.

While the article called for Brazil to approach these American Technologists, it was the Russian Government which itself made a similar proposal in the immediate aftermath of the break-up of the U.S.S.R. Saddled with a collapsed economy that fuelled widespread unemployment, the Russians sought to place its vast pool of Scientists & Technologists, that the Soviets-era regime had nurtured & supported during the Cold War, in suitable & relevant positions of employment, least they turn rogue [speculating]. With this in mind, it approached the Government of India, then headed by Prime Minister Mr. PVN Rao.

This was revealed by Mr. Bharat Karnad, in his book, "Nuclear Weapons & Indian Security: The realist foundations of strategy".

On page 189


As seen above, from the snippets of a page from the book, the Soviets even agreed to the Scientists being paid part of their salary in Indian Rupees, while the rest, expectedly, the much-needed American Dollars in cash. However, Indian Babus, playing "seniority-seniority" scuttled this heaven-sent opportunity, citing rulebooks, pay-grades, Loch Ness monster & what not's.

In India's defence though, our own economy up until the early 90s was itself tottering & heading nowhere, at least not up North. So the financial viability of the proposal, from India's stand point, could itself have been suspect [speculating]. However, as seen above, it wasn't India's fiscal situation that was cited as the reason for rejecting the offer, but pay-grade of government employees. Which is why the news is all that more irksome. Salary structure of government employees & seniority & prestige indicated by salary drawn eventually took precedence over India's National interests - how unfortunate.

Not surprisingly, they found a very welcoming China who, it appears, greeted them with open arms & coffers. Russian Scientists form an integral part of many a critical Chinese weapons development programs. In its drive to posses required technologies, China has adopted a multi-pronged approach, including contracting expertise from overseas, if required. Take, for example, China's flat-top development program. Ukraine, which inherited significant portions of erstwhile Soviet Unions vast Naval development infrastructure, has deputed large number of its Naval Engineers to be part of the program.


Also: Revisiting 'Nene Blunder': Western Aviation Technology transfer to China

Not directly related but fascinating nevertheless: Soviet and American Technological Assistance and the Pace of Chinese Nuclear Tests


While by no means publicly advocating that India too engage in industrial espionage & unauthorized cyber-intrusions to lay its hands on required technologies, but to decline a legitimate offer that would've given a much-needed fillip to our own projects, borders on incredulity. The benefits, their participation in India's programs would have brought about are too obvious to require any re-stating. This huge loss of opportunity has left India's programs bereft of the immense benefits their participation would've brought in and could've possibly helped side-step many a roadblocks, including time & cost over-runs, it has had to encounter as part of its R&D programs.