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Great Indian water

India's demand for Russian military equipment continues to grow

Great Indian water

Russia remains India's main partner in the process of military modernization. The share of Russian weapons in the country's armament is about 70 percent. Contracts for the purchase of Russian Su-30MKI fighters, Mi-17V-5 helicopters, naval artillery ... The volume of arms and technology exports is gaining momentum.

The land army of India is quite modern and numerous (the third largest in the world in terms of the number of personnel), the priority in the development of the armed forces is given to the expansion of the Air Force and, in particular, the modernization and strengthening of the navy, including aircraft carriers. Undoubtedly, given the dominance of modern tactical concepts, in which the role of aviation and naval operations and the specificity of potential theaters of military operations play a large role, this direction of the Armed Forces development seems absolutely logical.

These processes have a direct impact on the structure of arms exports. Russian aviation industry products are popular in the Indian market. The basis of deliveries are helicopters of types MI and KA, aircraft SU, as well as aircraft missiles.

If we talk about the sale of warships, then Russia also has major contracts. In addition to the second consecutive contract for the construction of three frigates, the aircraft-carrying cruiser Admiral Gorshkov (named Vikramaditya in the Indian fleet) was transferred to India, and there are also contracts for the transfer of seven diesel submarines. In addition, the Nerpa nuclear submarine is on a ten-year lease (since 2006). The Indian Navy also purchases carrier-based aircraft.

As for ammunition and armaments, their deliveries further emphasize modern changes in military doctrines. According to the Stockholm Institute for Peace Studies, a substantial part of the contracts falls on the supply of naval artillery, anti-ship missiles and various radars.

Volumes of supplies of Rosoboronexport have been growing lately. In 2012, contracts were signed for 17,6 billion dollars, which is two and a half times more than in the previous year. A very significant part was made by contracts with India - 7,3 billion dollars.

Prospects for the development of Russian-Indian relations in the field of export of military products and technologies were commented on by Kirill Fursov, Ph.D. in History, Senior Fellow at the Institute of Asian and African Countries of the Moscow State University:

- Russian-Indian cooperation in the field of armaments, of course, will continue, and its prospects are good. This is due to the increasing desire of India to the status of the state. In the South Asian region, India has already become a power at least after 1971’s victorious third war with Pakistan and 1974 nuclear tests; it is her turn to achieve the status of a power within Asia as a whole. 

According to Fursov, the terminological distinction between the concepts of "regional" and "great" powers is somewhat vague, it is no accident that India (like China, although its successes are more obvious) is called a becoming, or emerging, power. 

- The most important motive for strengthening the armed forces of India is its intention to reflect possible threats to its territorial integrity and economic interests, which, as the economy grows, become more extensive. For example, the country imports 70% of consumed oil and more than half of natural gas, mainly by sea. A number of Indian politicians call the entire zone from the Persian Gulf to the Straits of Malacca a legitimate sphere of the country's interests. Indeed, maintaining security in this wide area is becoming an increasingly pressing issue for the development of India itself. As analysts emphasize, if each country has regional interests, the great powers also have a regional responsibility. The interests of India are pushing her to assume an increasing share of this responsibility. Therefore, India's demand for Russian military equipment will not just remain, but, most likely, will continue to grow, - the expert summed up.

However, not everything is as rosy as it seems at first glance. Not all the key tenders in South-East and South Asia, Russia manage to win. The main competitors are American and French companies - in the last two years, tenders for the supply of 22 attack helicopters and six tanker aircraft have been lost. However, these failures do not exert a global influence on Russia's position as one of the largest arms suppliers in the world (second only to the US, 26% of the total sales of military products according to the Stockholm Institute for Peace Research) and in the APR.

The outlook is also seen quite encouraging. A good confirmation of this is Rosoboronexport's plans to increase next year sales of helicopter equipment, which our partners are actively buying, at 30%. Not the least role in this should be played aerospace salon in Le Bourget.

The markets of the Asia-Pacific region, and so making a huge contribution to Russia's arms exports, will play an even more important role. Along with this trend, events that occur in those regions and countries that are also buyers of Russian military equipment and ammunition are another rationale for the growing role of the APR in the arms export system. It is no secret to anyone that, with the death of Hugo Chávez and the subsequent change of power, the supply of arms to Venezuela will be at a minimum difficult. In addition, the Middle East and the Maghreb are also a problem area. It is still not completely clear what the course of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani’s relations with Russia will be. The situation with the claim of Iran over the supply of the C-300 air defense system is clearly not what is needed to improve cooperation with our partners, especially in the face of a change of government. The precarious situation in Syria also does not benefit the interests of Russia in the region - if the insurgents win, all trade relations in the military sphere will be curtailed.

However, all these events have at least two possible consequences, the probability of which can be estimated as quite high. First, as already mentioned, the growth in supplies to the APR will continue. Considering the fact that most of the revenues now come from there, such a reorientation can hardly cause fear. Secondly, the international community will be more loyal to the role of Russia in the arms market if cooperation is mainly conducted with those countries that are considered to be law-abiding and peaceful - unlike Syria and Iran, which allegedly is working to build nuclear weapons. This drift of exports may lead to some improvement in US relations.

I want to emphasize that the preservation and expansion of cooperation with India, which accounts for 12% of global arms imports, is seen in the way that will allow Russia not only to maintain its position as one of the main arms exporters, but will also allow it to compete with the US in the future , because at the moment the difference in the share of global supplies is only 4%.

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