Russia is rapidly losing the largest Indian arms market. After the aggravation on the border with China, this process is likely to accelerate. So, at least, American analysts say. Survey material on this topic recently appeared in the reputable publication The Wall Street Journal.
Recall recently in the disputed territories in the Aksaychin region, which is located between India, Pakistan and China, there were several clashes.
According to the authors of the article, a deterioration in relations with mighty China will inevitably push New Delhi into an alliance with the United States. One of its key elements will be military-technical cooperation between the two countries.
For decades, India was one of the largest buyers of first Soviet, and then Russian weapons. It can be said that thanks to Indian contracts, many sectors of the Russian military-industrial complex generally survived the “skinny” 90s. First of all, this applies to domestic tank building and aircraft building. However, in recent years, the situation began to change not for the better for Moscow.
Why are we losing India?
India still buys a lot of Russian weapons, but increasingly, lucrative orders go to other manufacturers, primarily American ones. Recently, Trump said that Indians will purchase from the US various weapons systems in the amount of $ 3 billion. The Americans give India an important place in their strategy in the region, and they act systematically and consistently.
Russia lost in a row six major arms tenders in India – a similar result can hardly be explained by accident. The attempts to sell the Il-78MKI refueling aircraft, Mi-26T2 and Mi-28NE helicopters, and MiG-35 fighters ended in failure. The biggest blow was the exit of New Delhi from a joint program to create a fifth-generation fighter Su-57. This decision actually buried the plane.
The reason for many failures of the Russian defense industry is the inadequate quality of order fulfillment. The most scandalous story was the delivery to India of defective decked MiG-29K fighters. According to the estimates of the Indian military, the planes were unsuitable not only for combat, but even for conventional sorties. Each landing on the deck was a “controlled disaster”, after which the aircraft needed repairs.
In addition, the Indians had big problems with the maintenance of these machines.
India is one of the three largest buyers of Russian weapons. Contracts were signed for the supply of S-400 air defense systems, ammunition, and the construction of several frigates. The production of Igla-S MANPADS will be launched in India, negotiations are underway on a joint production of Ka-226T helicopters. The total amount of contracts at the end of last year amounted to $ 15 billion.
However, cooperation between New Delhi and Washington is developing rapidly. The Americans strive to bring it to the level of their traditional allies. India, for its part, shows a clear desire to diversify supplies.
Another major irritant for the Indian leadership is an increase in the supply of Russian weapons to Pakistan.