“Distorting Reality” – Russia Blasts Reports of India Pivoting Away From Their Military Partnership

Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador to India refutes the notion that India is moving away from Russian Weapons.

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Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna
Girish Linganna is a Defence & Aerospace analyst and is the Director of ADD Engineering Components (India) Pvt Ltd, a subsidiary of ADD Engineering GmbH, Germany with manufacturing units in Russia. He is Consulting Editor Industry and Defense at Frontier India.

“The detailed joint production of weapons with Russia in India is developing at a confident pace,” stated Denis Alipov, the Russian Ambassador to India. This comment was made in response to reports of a change in India’s defence purchase away from Russia. Alipov affirmed, “These assertions distort reality.”

India, the largest importer of arms in the world, is attempting to stop buying arms from Russia, according to Indian sources cited by Reuters in January. They assert that New Delhi must exercise caution to prevent Moscow from encouraging reconciliation with Beijing, an alliance India currently opposes.

According to a report by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, which Reuters cited, Russia supplied over $60 billion worth of armaments, comprising 65% of India’s purchases over the previous two decades. Moscow is reportedly presenting New Delhi with propositions, including the possibility of establishing joint production, according to four Indian government sources, one of whom is a senior security official who recently retired.

According to Reuters, India is “slowly pivoting” towards the West, as the United States seeks to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region to “relieve the South Asian nation of its traditional dependence on Russia” and thereby contain China. Simultaneously, the trade alliance between Russia and India in the domains of energy resources and weapons serves to “keep Moscow as far away from China as feasible,” according to Unnikrishnan.

According to Alipov, these claims are mistaken. India aims to create its own defence industrial base, focusing on initiatives like “Make in India” and “Self-Reliant India.” These programs aim to maximise domestic production and utilise cutting-edge technologies.

Alipov stated that this programme represents India’s strategy for establishing partnerships with overseas partners. Among them, Russia is obviously the most dominant partner.

Alipov says nearly 1000 T-90 tanks and 300 Su-30MKI aircraft have been built in India under Russian licences. BrahMos missile systems are also built under licence, while the Indo-Russian small arms agreement focuses on making AK-203 assault rifles.

“Russia controls at least 50% of the domestic (Indian, Ed) arms market. Russia was a pioneer in (the) localised production and transfer of military technologies that meet modern Indian needs. We have successfully implemented and refined strategies that Western countries are only beginning to consider. Unlike some Western countries, we do not burden our Indian partners with political conditions,” said the Russian diplomat.

According to Alipov, India considers Russian sanctions illegal. He also mentioned that many Indian businesses and organisations rely largely on the Bretton Woods financial system, which is primarily controlled by the West and operates in US dollars.

Alipov stated that partners may consider decreasing or even stopping dialogue with Russian firms from time to time. However, India’s entrepreneurial drive makes up for this, as for every enterprise that exits, two more are eager to enter, untouched by anti-Russian sanctions.

“We strive for greater consolidation of our national systems in financial, banking, scientific, and technological cooperation. Past examples have demonstrated that Western models, focused on a select group of countries, cannot be considered reliable. It’s time for Russia and India to globalise their internal platforms. The synergy of these platforms promises to strengthen our relations,” concluded Alipov.

New Delhi, as stated by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, has allocated nearly $100 billion for the acquisition of weaponry within the forthcoming decade. According to sources for Reuters, India is considering French jets for its newest aircraft carrier and intends to manufacture fighter jets with American and French motors in addition to submarines utilising French, German, or Spanish technology.

An agreement between India and the United States and General Electrics was executed in June 2023. As a result of this agreement, a manufacturing facility in India will be established to supply engines for fighter aircraft operated by the Indian Air Force. Additionally, Reuters reported in June 2023, citing sources, that India had authorised the acquisition of 31 American MQ-9B drones for a total value exceeding $3 billion.

In response to the report by Reuters, TASS reported that Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Andrey Rudenko issued a statement commenting on the matter, “We have no such information. This is all on Reuters’ conscience. Our Indian partners, as before, are interested in cooperation, including in this area.”

Historically, India has been among the most significant purchasers of Russian weaponry and military equipment. Nevertheless, public statements emerged in the West, specifically the United States, asserting that attempts were being made to convince India not to enter into significant defence contracts with Russia were being made. As an illustration, United States Assistant Secretary of State for Political-Military Affairs Jessica Lewis asserted that Washington is attempting to exploit the Ukraine crisis to displace Moscow from its position on the global market for arms and military equipment. The diplomat from the United States acknowledged that the US encourages international partners to diversify their stockpiles and move away from Russian systems.


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