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German émigré scientists and engineers and aeronautics in India

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If you have a question about this talk, please contact Richard Staley.

I wish to explore the stories of German émigré scientists and engineers in India through the history of India’s first jetfighter, Marut – HF 24 . For this, I selectively study three separate waves of German emigration to India from the 1930s to the 1950s and trace their links to the development of facilities for advanced research and education in aeronautics and aerodynamics, and eventually to manufacturing of aircraft. Two aspects of this story are significant: the transnational networks of German speaking aeronautical engineers and scientists, including that of Indian students trained in Germany, and the constraints of Cold War geopolitics as they shaped the conditions under which the aircraft could be manufactured. I make two arguments: the first concerns the nature of state power in India after independence; and the second is about the specific configuration of the military-industrial-academic complex in India, an idea that is yet to receive substantial attention.

This talk is part of the Twentieth Century Think Tank series.

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