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Founding Editor's Blog - March 2011

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India’s Medium Multi Role Combat Aircraft deal is the world’s most lucrative military contract. The scale of the deal and its multi-year nature, make it the most coveted aircraft deal. Amongst the contenders are three from Europe. And if there is a reflection of the reality of the emerging Europe, it is that the older patterns are still around. The spread of the European Union is a fighting tribute to the emergence of a larger identity that recognises geography, a history of enormous hostilities and socio-cultural inheritance that is in any case its best example. But the reality is that certain ‘national’ institutions remain in existence, running contrary to the new Europe of today and tomorrow.


It would seem to make sense for Europe to compete with a single, or at the most two, aircraft for this mega competition. But three first-rate combat aircraft from a population of that size and most economies of uncertain medium term efficiencies, is a luxury that cannot be afforded in perpetuity. And that was the raison d’être for making the Union in the first place. The sharing of military assets is the way of the future for Europe and the sooner that such industries are held collectively the better it is for Europe. And the world must hope for the best for Europe, as the changes that have been sought to be made there are as extraordinary as they are exciting.

India is in many senses the world’s first forerunner of European Union. All that the EU wants to be and more, has already been instituted in India. It is simply a matter of ensuring efficiencies and standards across the country. Be it politics, economics, or administrative efficiency, the benchmarks across the country can be improved. Other than that there is much to hold in pride about the country’s growth since 1947. It is, after all, the Union of India. And states and regions came together to make it so with the fullest of hopes and aspirations. It is the first union made not by the use of force, or because of it, but by a conjoined sense of identity.

Pretty much what Europe wants to become. But the catch is in the security and foreign policy realms. Even as the populations move across boundaries that barely exist and social policies are made in unison in Brussels, there is still the missing aspect of foreign and security policies. The pull of the old prevents the logic of the new from appearing on the stage. When so much is being shared and in the image of an emerging identity that resonates with sincerity, to not let this logic prevail only pulls Europe down, collectively. For the world requires an EU that is true to its self and the principles that it believes in. India benefits from an EU for the simple reason that it is the mirror other. There is much to do together, especially when both have a common vision for Afghanistan, for example. Makes sense for Europe to pool its resources and that includes military technology as well. Economics doesn’t justify separation, and neither does politics.

 


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