Home > Britain, India > Why Britain lost the Indian jet deal

Why Britain lost the Indian jet deal


The British are so busy admiring themselves, that even crucial business is given short shrift.

Is tabloid journalism the only thing that the British excel at?  |  Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte; source and courtesy - genevalunch.com  |  Click for image.

Is tabloid journalism the only thing that the British excel at? | Cartoonist Patrick Chappatte; source and courtesy – genevalunch.com | Click for image.

Narcissism …?

65 years after British eviction from India, reality has still not sunk into the British minds. Consider the British reportage on the Euro-fighter Typhoon loss to the French Rafale for Indian business

By preferring the French Rafale jet rather than the British-built Typhoon, they rejected, according to the Prime Minister, a “superb aircraft with far better capabilities”.

Mr Lake said: “I would suspect when the Indians probe hard into the French price they will find that it is not satisfactory and hasn’t included things.”

How dare they, asked MPs, snub Britain, which had given them £1.2 billion in aid? One newspaper even blamed the decision on the Gandhi family.

The truth about Britain’s “failure” to land the £6.3 billion Indian military jet deal — and the thousands of jobs it will sustain – is different. The game is not yet over.

But if we do lose, it will have nothing to do with the Gandhis, or the aid — which, as we report today, the Indians simply do not care about either way. It will be because of our own mistakes.

“For the Indians it’s all about credibility,” said Mr Lake. “If they believe what the Typhoon consortium told them, then by 2018 Typhoon will do everything that Rafale does now. But they clearly don’t believe it, and I don’t blame them, given the programme’s history of delays and cost overruns.

The Indian marketing campaign was led by the Germans, a decision which Mr Lake described as “clearly mad” given India’s historic ties with Britain.

The culture and structure of the Indian Air Force is still heavily influenced by its British origins, with identical ranks and near-identical Air Force blue uniforms.

“The Typhoons they sent to India [for evaluation] were German, flown by German aircrew, but the Germans have a completely different culture,” said Mr Lake.

“It was mindblowingly inept.”

The British Typhoon contractor BAE was later brought in to partner the bid in apparent acknowledgement of the mistake.(via Turbulence ahead with Indian jet deal – Telegraph).

Wakey … wakey

Whatever maybe the logic – Indians cannot be logical. Or acting in their self-interest.

Effective ‘marketing’ will do the job. Indians can be managed by using ‘historic ties with Britain’.

The truth?

If at all, Indians hold Germany in higher regard than Britain.

My guess?

Ceteris paribus, Indians will buy German product instead of a British.

And that has been true for the last many decades.

Stupid Indians

It must be the Gandhis.

It assumes that Gandhis have interests different from India’s.  If true, it also assumes that the whole of the government, defence establishment, opposition, vigilance, judicial will be pliable.

If not the Gandhis … the British lost the deal because it is the Indian character.

Ungrateful Indians.

In spite of all the aid that Britain gave to India! Even after this aid, they do business with competitors to the British.

Demmed Indians.

If it is none of the above … corruption is a non-issue.

I am assuming that the French, Swedish, American defence contractors will match bribes given by any competitor. So, that cannot, will not, be the differentiation.

Of course, Indians must be taught how to calculate ‘true’ costs, suggests Mr.Lake.

Smell the coffee

Maybe it is time that people (especially in Britain) did a reality check. Maybe the British need to learn a basic thing about customers.

Such a low opinion of your customer is not likely to win you many customers.

Looking back …

In the last 65 years, India has left behind many countries. Over the next 65 years, while there will be many competitors and challengers, no one seriously doubts that India can handle the future as well as any country.

If not better.


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  1. samadhyayi
    April 11, 2012 at 5:41 am

    they have been obsessing about it all over the place.

  2. shut the F
    May 6, 2012 at 7:58 pm

    How could you comment in such a way….Stupid Indians…..you are really gone mad half Mr. and Miss…One more thing to the author Shut ur M & A

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