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India - Ukraine

  • 09 Feb 2021
  • 5 min read

Why in News

Recently, Ukraine has shown interest to procure some military hardware from India in addition to efforts to deepen its presence in the Indian defence market.

Key Points

  • About:
    • Ukraine has signed four agreements worth USD 70 million which includes sale of new weapons as well as maintenance and upgrades of existing ones (R-27 air-to-air missiles) in service with the Indian armed forces.
    • Ukraine also showed its intent to sell India its AN-178 medium transport aircraft.
      • Ukraine is currently upgrading the AN-32 transport fleet of the Indian Air Force (IAF) under a deal finalised in 2009.
    • The Ukraine team also held discussions with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and looked at possible collaborations in research and development.
  • India-Ukraine Relations:
    • Diplomatic Relations:
      • Immediately after the breakup of the Soviet Union, the Government of India recognized the Republic of Ukraine as a sovereign independent country in December 1991.
      • The Embassy of India in Kyiv was established in May 1992 and Ukraine opened its Mission in New Delhi in February 1993.
      • India and Ukraine enjoy warm and friendly relations and cooperate in areas like Education, Mutual Legal Assistance and Outer Space cooperation.
    • Defence Relations:
      • Ukraine has been a source of military technology and equipment for India since its independence.
        • Ukraine manufactures the R-27 air-to-air missiles which are in use by the IAF on its SU-30MKI fighters.
      • Now, India is also supplying its weapons to Ukraine to enhance defence cooperation between the two countries.
    • Trade:
      • India is Ukraine’s largest export destination in the Asia-Pacific and the fifth largest overall export destination.
      • Pharmaceuticals account for the majority of Indian exports to Ukraine.
    • Culture:
      • There are more than 30 Ukrainian cultural associations/groups spread across the country, engaged in promoting Indian dances.
      • There are about 18,000 Indian students studying in Ukraine, mainly in the field of medicine. Indian business professionals work predominantly in the fields of pharmaceuticals, IT, engineering, medicine, education, etc.
    • Challenges:
      • The rift between Russia and Ukraine, which burst out into armed combat when Moscow annexed the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine in 2014, has created a potential dilemma for India.
      • Recently, a Russian press release has objected to the overhaul in Ukraine of military equipment built and sold by Russia.
      • Russia has begun objecting to customers dealing with Ukraine.
        • The potential for trouble with Russia exists because the Indian Air Force (IAF) is currently collaborating with Ukraine to overhaul its fleet of AN-32s.


  • Location:
    • Ukraine, a country located in eastern Europe. The capital is Kyiv (Kiev), located on the Dnieper River in north-central Ukraine.
  • Surrounding Countries and Seas:
    • Ukraine is bordered by Belarus to the north, Russia to the east, the Sea of Azov and the Black Sea to the south, Moldova and Romania to the southwest, and Hungary, Slovakia, and Poland to the west.
    • In the far southeast, Ukraine is separated from Russia by the Kerch Strait, which connects the Sea of Azov to the Black Sea.
  • History:
    • With the dissolution of the U.S.S.R. (the Soviet Union) in December 1991, Ukraine gained full independence.
    • The country changed its official name to Ukraine, and it helped to found the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), an association of countries that were formerly republics of the Soviet Union.
  • Recent Issues:
    • Recently, Ukraine got at loggerheads with Russia over the occupation of Crimean peninsula by Russia.
    • In June 2020, Ukraine became ‘Enhanced Opportunity Partners’ under the Partnership Interoperability Initiative of North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO).
    • Ukraine is also seeking European Union and NATO membership, a move that could obstruct attempts to resolve other tensions with Russia.


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