As the war in Ukraine stretches over four months with no end in sight, it has given rise to apprehensions on Russia’s ability to adhere to timely deliveries of spares and hardware to India.
History of the bilateral defence ties:
- Russia has provided some of the most sensitive and important weapons platforms that India has required from time to time including nuclear submarines, aircraft carriers, tanks, guns, fighter jets, and missiles.
- According to one estimate, the share of Russian-origin weapons and platforms across Indian armed forces is as high as 85%.
- For Russia, India is the largest importer, and for India, Russia is the largest exporter when it comes to arms transfer.
- Russia’s share in Indian arms imports was down to about 50% between 2016 and 2020, but it still remained the largest single importer.
Impact of the war
- While some timeline lapses and shipping delays were possible, there would not be any dent on the Army’s operational preparedness along the borders.
- In addition, the armed forces have also made significant emergency procurements since the standoff in Eastern Ladakh and have stocked up on spares and ammunition.
- However, Russia has assured India that it would adhere to delivery timelines.
What is the status of deals underway/new deals pending with Russia?
- The defence trade between India and Russia has crossed $15 billion since 2018, in the backdrop of some big deals including the $5.43 billion S-400 long range air defence systems.
- Other major contracts currently under implementation are construction of four additional stealth frigates in Russia and India,
- While India continues to remain Russia’s largest arms buyer with a major chunk of legacy hardware from Russia and the Soviet Union, the volume of imports has reduced in the last decade.
- With Russia being shut out of the global SWIFT system for money transfers, India and Russia have agreed to conduct payments through the Rupee-Rouble arrangement.
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