Procurement: India Has A New Plan

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May 15,2008:   After decades of failure trying to develop domestic military technology, India is trying another approach; joint ventures with Western defense manufacturers. A recent example is Indian electronics manufacturer Samtel  partnering with European defense manufacturers Thales, to manufacture the Thales helmet mounted displays, and offer them for sale to India. This is a wise move, as India is more likely to buy from a domestic firm. Samtel actually has a manufacturing facility in Germany, and has developed close relationships with European defense firms. Moreover, many Indian high tech firms are now staffed (or even founded) by Indian engineers and managers who received graduate degrees in Western universities, worked in the West for a while, and then returned to India with all that education and experience. This has made Indian firms more competitive in the world market. This use of licensed technology, rather than trying to re-invent it in India, is but another example of that experience.  China, and to a lesser extent Russia, now follow a similar path, but they tend to steal the technology rather than paying for licenses.