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|July 25, 1998||
Sanctions could delay light combat aircraft take-off, says expert
The prestigious Light Combat Aircraft project is likely to suffer a further delay in the wake of the sanctions slammed by the United States on the country following the nuclear tests, says leading aerospace scientist Dr Roddam Narasimha.
The LCA project possibly would be further delayed as the development of the engine with American assistance had stopped, Dr Narasimha, who played an important role as the director of National Aerospace Laboratories, said on Friday.
In his Kadidal Manjappa Memorial Lecture, he said the United States had sent back Indian scientists working on the LCA project immediately after the nuclear tests in May.
Making a detailed assessment of the impact of sanctions, he said there would be pressure on defence projects though it might not be that effective commercially as the country had got used to the sanctions regime. The country had the scientific and technical manpower, but only political will was required, he added.
Supporting the country's decision to go in for nuclear tests in the given strategic situation, he said contrary to belief, the technology developed in the country worked out cheaper. But development of technology suffered delays, he pointed out.
He said loans and other assistance to the tune of $ 3 billion might be affected by the sanctions and the United States might not strictly enforce business sanctions as it would affect their interests. The sanctions would hit scientific exchange programmes.
The United States, which had threatened 75 countries including Japan and Canada with sanctions last year, had imposed the sanctions against India even in 1974 after peaceful nuclear tests.
Narasimha, who is director of National Institute of Advanced Studies, said denial of visas and sending back of scientists was in contravention of established undertaking. In future, the exchanges might come down, he added.
Stressing the need for a political consensus on the issues like nuclear tests, he said political parties should not try to take political mileage. The much-talked-about National Security Council should be set up soon.
Analysing the situation that led to the country conducting nuclear tests, he said the scientists, who were criticising the venture, would have blamed the leadership in the country if it had not carried out the tests. Pakistan had tested medium-range missile Ghauri and there were reports of neighbours getting ready for nuclear tests.
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