Indian Military Equipment of Russian Origin
- 22 Jul 2020
- 4 min read
Why in News
According to a paper published by Stimson Center, 86% of the equipment, weapons and platforms currently in military service in India are of Russian origin.
- The Stimson Center is a nonprofit think tank based in Washington, USA. It aims to enhance international peace and security through a combination of analysis and outreach.
- Data Analysis:
- Stimson Center data shows that more than 55% of Indian defence imports since 2014 have been from Russia.
- For the Navy, more than 41% equipment is of Russian origin while two-thirds for the Indian Air Force (IAF).
- The figure for the Army is 90%, as it assigns around 10,000 pieces of military hardware from Russia.
- Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) data shows that Russia continues to occupy the First position as India’s defence supplier, with 9.3 billion USD worth of exports to India.
- The USA is at second, with defence supplies worth 2.3 billion USD to India in the same period.
- Russia's Military Equipment:
- The Navy's only active aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya and it's only nuclear attack submarine in service, Chakra II, are from Russia.
- So are the Army’s T-90 and T-72 main battle tanks and IAF’s Su30 MKI fighter.
- The country’s only nuclear-capable supersonic cruise missile, BrahMos, is produced by a joint venture with Russia.
- As India has been spreading its supplier base with Israel, USA and France, Russia still remains a major supplier. This is indicated by following latest developments:
- India has approved proposals to acquire 21 Mig29 and 12 Su30 MKI fighter aircraft from Russia for 2.4 billion USD.
- India and Russia had agreed to a joint programme to develop a variant of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Programme (FGFA) in 2007.
- As India has not committed to the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft Programme (FGFA) programme with Russia.
- It is negotiating on the price of AK103 rifles for Make in India.
- USA’s Military Equipment: Apache and Chinook helicopters, M777 howitzer guns for the Army.
- Boeing C-17 and C-130J for IAF and P8I submarine hunter aircraft for Navy.
- Reasons: There are many reasons for India's dependency on Russia for the supply of military equipments:
- Legacy Issue: India and Russia have a longstanding defence relationship and there is familiarity with each other’s processes and systems.
- Specialised Equipment: The kind of specialised equipment that Russia provides to India makes a difference from other countries, e.g. the S-400 Air Defence Missile Systems, nuclear submarines and aircraft carrier.
- Combat Capability: Each of the systems supplied by Russia has its advantages and uses as they have been used effectively to develop maximum combat capability especially when focusing on India’s higher-end strike platforms.
- Border Clash with China: Notwithstanding India’s growing mutual convergence with the USA against China following the recent tensions on the Ladakh border, its armed forces remain heavily dependent on equipment, weapons and military platforms of Russian origin which form the bulk of its inventory.
- USA’s CAATSA: Recently, the USA has asked all its allies and partners, including India, to stop transactions with Russia. The USA can risk triggering sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).