India-Russia Relations: Hopes and Anxieties — Valdai Club
The world has changed a lot since the end of the Cold War and so have India- Russia relations. More fundamentally, while the two leaders highlighted the tried and tested nature of their partnership, in truth India-Russia ties have been lately. But India's relationship with Russia is much more limited than it was during the Cold War. U.S. sanctions or public pressure are unlikely to limit.
It appears that the United States has become the No 1 arms supplier to India in terms of the value of new contracts, wresting that position from Russia. Recent American success in the Indian defense market is based on two fundamental shifts. First, India and the United States have become closer in terms of military policy as they share the goal of containing China. Second, India's rapid economic growth has bolstered its purshasing power, and the Indian military, therefore, has a growing preference for more high-tech and expensive weapon systems.
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Analysis of recent Indian defense contracts shows, however, that the country has in fact opted for American weaponry only in those product categories where Russia simply has no competitive alternatives to offer. These categories include medium and heavy military transport planes, cutting-edge airborne anti-submarine systems, and effective attack and heavy transport helicopters that have already been tried and tested in real combat.
Early reports suggest that large contracts may soon be signed for modern Russian air defense systems. Meanwhile, US fighters have not even been shortlisted for the second phase of India's MMRCA tender, clearly indicating that the Americans are nowhere near dominating the Indian defense market. It appears in fact that the recent string of large Indian arms contracts secured by US suppliers is nothing but an extension of India's long-standing policy of diversification in this area.
The Indian defense market has always been open and competitive. Even though the Soviet Union and then Russia have managed to secure a large chunk of it, they have never had a monopoly.
Even in the s they had to compete head to head with the French and the Germans, followed by the Israelis in the s, and now the Americans as well. The military-political and financial context has been changing, but India has been unwavering in its policy of diversification of arms and defense technology imports.
The macro-strategic context To predict what the future holds for Russian-Indian arms trade, let us look at the strategic context of that trade.
India–Russia relations - Wikipedia
The first thing to note is that the two countries' military-political stance in the global arena is strikingly similar. First, they have both transcended the level of mere regional powers, albeit neither is a superpower not anymore in the case of Russia, and not yet in the case of India.
The sources of their strength are different: India has a dynamic economy and favorable demographics, whereas Russia has a superior nuclear arsenal and vast natural resources. Nevertheless, both countries have a similar potential for regional dominance, though neither quite has the resources to be a top-tier global actor.
The second obvious similarity is that in their respective geopolitical neighborhoods, which India and Russia regard as zones of their vital interests, both countries are facing energetic opposition from an external superpower that seeks to create a cordon sanitaire around our countries, respectively.
In the case of Russia the external superpower is the United States, which continues to meddle in the former Soviet republics.
In the case of India the external superpower is China, which is trying to surround India with a ring of naval bases.
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The similarity between US and Chinese policies becomes even more obvious if one takes into account that both are making use of states that are ethnically and culturally part of Russia and India, but seek to build their identity opposing Russia and India in every possible way. I am talking, of course, about Ukraine and Pakistan, respectively.
These two artificial constructs are trying to build their historical legitimacy purely on the basis of Russophobia and Indophobia. Pakistan is to India what Ukraine is to Russia.
And, conversely, Ukraine is to Russia what Pakistan is to India. Both of those failed states are economically bankrupt, and both would have already ceased to exist, were it not for the military-political and economic assistance they receive from extra-regional powers.
The third similarity is that both the Indian and Russian military-political situation can be described as "strategic solitude". Neither country is a member of a military bloc and neither aspires for such membership.
Strictly speaking, Russia is the leading member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization - but the military value of most of its formal CSTO allies is negligible. One can hardly expect a significant increase: But to stop using Russian weapons and reject further purchases would in essence mean the disarmament of India amid global instability in an era of the world order restructuring and the emerging rivalry between the United States and China.
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In an interview with valdaiclub. When the US tried to force India to stop military-technical cooperation with Russia, New Delhi took a principled position, confirming its intention to buy Russian weapons even under the threat of sanctions.How Russia Helped India in 1971 & Why - Relations and Relationship in Friendship History in Telugu
The question of successful completion of deals became a matter of prestige for India. At the same time, the fate of further cooperation remains unclear.
The contracts for the supply of anti-aircraft missile systems, frigates and helicopters were agreed before the adoption of CAATSA, and the rough attempt to force India to abandon them met a natural rebuff.
However, in order to conclude new deals with possible consequences, a considerable political will is needed.
New Delhi has a few years before the main deliveries under the current contracts are completed, but later it will have to make a choice: Given the assertiveness of the current American leadership, it may be necessary to take the final decision much earlier. The accession of India and Pakistan to the Shanghai Cooperation Organization plays an important role in this process: SCO membership of all major regional players will help stabilize the situation in South and Southeast Asia, minimizing the possibility of external interference.