Why India Needs To Worry About Russian Weaponry?

New Delhi: India has longstanding ties with Russia that go back to the time of USSR. Even during the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union (USSR) had a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship. The warm relationship with Russia continued even after the dissolution of the Soviet Union. In 2000, both the countries signed the “India-Russia Strategic Partnership,” with India consolidating defence and military-technical cooperation with Russia. According to Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia is the most important supplier of defence equipment to India, commanding nearly two-thirds share of the latter’s total arms imports.
  • Over 90% of the Indian army’s 3,000-plus main battle tanks are Russian T-72 and T-90S.
  • India was also in advanced talks to procure another 464 Russian T-90MS tanks.
  • India’s air force fighter squadrons comprise Russian aircraft like 272 Su-30MKI.
  • The Indian navy has a Russian aircraft carrier (INS Vikramaditya) and nine Russian diesel-electric submarines among other platforms.

But now, with Russia’s strike on Ukraine, India needs to worry, both about possessing Russian weaponry and its future prospects as well as about its efficacy.

 Consider this:
Russia has fired at least 320 missiles, mostly Short-Range Ballistic Missiles (SRBM). Many of the launches failed, while some were off target. Then there are the MIG27 jets. India bought 872 of them from Russia and out of these, 400 were lost in accidents. Many called it the flying coffin.  This is reason enough for India and all those countries using Russian weaponry to consider it a wake-up call.
Besides, the USA and NATO countries have imposed a wide array of sanctions against Russia in the wake of its strike on Ukraine. Then there is CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), a United States federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia). USA’s decision to invoke it will have far-reaching implications for India, given that it depends heavily on Russia for its defence procurements.
Apart from that, “India’s export order of $375 million BrahMos to the Philippines would also be affected as it is a joint venture between Russian NPO Mashinostroyenia (NPOM) and Indian Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO),” writes Maj Gen GG Dwivedi (retd), former Assistant Chief Integrated Staff, currently Professor Strategic and International Relations in India Today.
“Keeping in view the security imperatives, Delhi cannot afford to delink from Russia for its defence requirements. Going in for alternate sources of procurement of critical weapons equipment is unthinkable in view of the current tense situation on the borders, with a hostile neighbourhood. Political astuteness and deft diplomacy will be required to navigate through the emerging complex situation that has serious security ramifications for India,” he adds.
According to Times of India, “With Russia in US crosshairs, Russia getting closer to China and even Pakistan squeezing in, India needs to find alternatives now. Incentivising Western arms manufacturers and revisiting indigenisation are obvious steps in a complex process. It’s a process that will require multi-stakeholder smart strategising that’s not really been New Delhi’s forte till now.”

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