In the wake of the Ukraine crisis, India is keeping a close eye on its defense imports from Russia. Here’s a look at how India’s defense imports from Russia have fallen in recent years.
The Russia-Ukraine conflict has emerged as one of the greatest challenges facing the world. It has forced many countries to either impose sanctions on or limit bilateral ties with Russia, which goes on to prove that the Russian invasion of Ukraine could have long-term repercussions.
India, too, is keeping a close watch on its defense requirements sourced from Russia.
While both Indian and Russian officials have stated that the crisis will not impact or delay deliveries of defense equipment, concerns persist about sanctions on Russia and the possibility of a prolonged war in Ukraine.
In fact, reviews are being conducted by the defense establishment to ascertain the status of current deals and payments.
It is also important to note that, apart from Russia, India is expecting deliveries of imported arms from a number of other suppliers in the coming years.
Drop in Russian arms imports
Over the last decade, India’s arms imports have dropped by over 30 per cent. This decrease was attributed to a number of reasons, including reduced dependence on Russia. But Moscow still supplies a large chunk of spares and other military platforms to India.
The drop in Indian arms imports seems to have been mainly due to its complex procurement processes, combined with an attempt to reduce its dependence on Russian arms, reads a report from last year by SIPRI on international arms transfers.
Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) is an international think-tank that studies conflict, armaments, arms control and disarmament.
“The overall decrease in Russia’s arms exports from 2011-15 and 2016-20 was almost entirely attributable to a 53 per cent drop in its arms exports to India,” read the report. As a result, Russia’s share of total Indian arms imports fell from 70 to 49 per cent.
However, India was still seen as the largest buyer of Russian defense equipment between 2016 and 2020 despite the decreased dependence on imports from Russia.
S-400 import deal with Russia
India and Russia signed the military tech cooperation agreement 2021-2031 during the maiden 2+2 dialogue in December 2021. This agreement was aimed at bolstering defense ties over the next decade and comprises orders for military platforms worth over $9 billion.
One of the most significant military deals India made with Russia is that of the S-400 air defense system. India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to buy five units of the S-400 surface to air missile system. Out of the five units, one has already been delivered to the Indian Air Force (IAF).
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