In addition to demolishing that study's methodology and findings, Balaram makes several other points [with bold emphasis added by me]:
Where did faculty come from when India embarked on the first phase of expansion of scientific and technical institutions in the 1950s and 1960s? A very large number of new recruits in those days were educated in the West, although ironically some of the very best were homegrown. ... Unfortunately, not every institution that sparkled with promise in the first two decades after independence has been able to sustain the enthusiasm and optimism of that era. How will we address the problem of faculty shortages today? The consensus, one that leaves me mildly uneasy, is that we must make vigorous attempts to entice Indian students and academics who are currently overseas, primarily in the United States, to return and build teaching and research careers in India.
There has been an organized hunt [by China] for high profile researchers ... [by offering them] benefits and inducements that might even attract the attention of the best of Western scientists. ... The price tag for winners of ‘prestigious international prizes – including the Nobel prize’ is stated to be ‘150 million yuan ($23 million). ... An earlier program (Qianren Jihua) for ‘recruitment ... of global experts’ launched in 2008 had a goal of hiring ‘up to 2000 experts from abroad over 5 to 10 years’. The program has already notched up 1143 recruitments but the scheme seems to be foundering’. ... In describing Chinese initiatives as ‘a massive waste of resources’ one observer notes ‘that it is better to invest in a whole new generation of talent than to buy reputation’. Mu-Ming Poo, a prominent neuroscientist in Shanghai, is reported to have characterized the Qianren Jihua program as ‘a huge disaster’, arguing that China’s current policy tells ‘the best and brightest to spend most of their productive years abroad’. ... The Chinese experience may be worth studying and there may be much to learn, even as Indian agencies formulate new schemes ...
A growing number of women with Ph D degrees are sometimes unable to spend extended postdoctoral periods overseas. Should there not be a mechanism which allows us to tap this resource and support their research efforts? Strangely, while schemes for attracting overseas talent are enthusiastically administered in the funding agencies, initiatives that promote local talent are invariably run with limited interest and efficiency. Looking outward may be attractive and fashionable. Looking inward may be desirable and essential.
Prof. Balaram's editorial is all suitably academic and understated (e.g., "may be desirable and essential"), but the strength of the underlying sentiments comes through loud and clear.
It's good to see him take a stand.