By Prakash Gopal
Early in the new year, India’s defence industry witnessed a rare moment of glory when the domestically developed light combat aircraft made its first-ever landing on the navy’s aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. It was a major achievement for the Indian navy – a force that has spearheaded India’s aspiration to be a credible regional power. Before the applause died down, the navy announced significant rollbacks to its capability enhancement plan as a consequence of insufficient budgetary allocations by the government over successive years. While this announcement has been relatively muted in tone, it threatens to deliver a decisive blow to India’s regional maritime ambitions.