Russia and it’s predecessor The USSR have been India’s major arms and weapons supplier of Republic of India. And this has resulted in deepening of ties between the two nations.
But with coming of “Aatmanirbhar Bharat” and “Make in India”, India’s domestic arms industry came into limelight. Add this to warming of India’s ties with the west, this is led to decrease in India’s reliance on Russia.
Russia is looking to regain some of its lost ground in Indian market and has offered a very wide range of weapons to India during the Aero India 2023, Asia’s largest airshow.
The Russian side presented the fifth generation Su-57E fighter, the Ka-226T light helicopter and the Il-76MD-90A(E) military transport aircraft, as well as the Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile and gun system and the S-400 air defense system. Also, as part of the exposition, at the stand of the Almaz-Antey concern the latest Vityaz air defense system and the Tor line of anti-aircraft missile systems, in particular, Tor-M2KM (modular configuration) were demonstrated.
According to the head of Rosoboronexport, Russia is conducting technical consultations with India on the production of the Pantsir-S1 air defense systems, Tor-M2KM air defense systems, Boomerang infantry fighting vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). He added that Russia had submitted its proposals to India for the supply of an additional batch of MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB shipborne fighters. The supply of S-400 air defense systems is being carried out in accordance with the terms specified in the contract.
Also, Rosoboronexport is discussing with private Indian enterprises the issue of modernizing heavy military transport aircraft Il-76, while Indian partners are interested in Russia’s upgraded military transport aircraft Il-76MD-90A.
FSVTS Deputy CEO Vladimir Drozhzhov noted that negotiations were currently underway on the supply of assembly kits for the licensed production of Su-30MKI aircraft in India. A contract is expected to be signed for the production of Igla-S MANPADS. Russia is looking for an invitation from Indian partners to negotiations for the purchase of Ka-31 helicopters, which had to be interrupted due to the pandemic and resumed in February 2022. The parties agreed that the whole batch of helicopters would cost $520 million.
Although a wide range of systems have been named it remains to be seen how many of these systems catches India’s attention.