India and Russia Military Trade touches USD 15 bn in three years; Expected to grow more

The military trade with Russia since 2018 has touched almost USD 15 billion and is expected to go up as there are several other projects which are being discussed and many have been implemented.

Agreements/Contracts/Protocols being signed after the 20 th India- Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military Technical Cooperation meeting, attended by Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu, in New Delhi on December 06, 2021.

At the end of the 21st India and Russia annual summit on Monday, both sides inked more than two dozen agreements and MoUs covering a wide range of sectors including extension of 10-year defense cooperation pact.

Four defence related agreements and protocols were inked at the end of bilateral talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart from Russia.

The military trade with Russia since 2018 has touched almost USD 15 billion and is expected to go up as there are several other projects which are being discussed and many have been implemented.

Foreign Secretary answers media queries

Briefing the media at the end of the summit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said “The agreements and MoUs show the multi-faceted nature of our bilateral partnership and cover a wide range of areas like energy, science and technology, education, intellectual property and trade.”

India and Russia have also signed a programme of cooperation in defense for the next ten years, 2021 to 2031.

To a query related to the supply of the S-400 Air Defence System, the foreign secretary said that a 2018 contract for the S-400 missile systems was currently being implemented. Adding, “Supplies have begun this month, and will continue to happen.”

What about the threat of US sanctions?

While downplaying the threat of the US sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act), the foreign secretary said, “It is important to note that, whether it is us or Russia, we conduct an independent foreign policy.”

Defense cooperation

There were back-to-back meetings of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation, followed by the first 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin met late Monday (Dec 6, 2021) evening and exchanged views on global and regional political-security developments.

At the end of talks, a joint-statement issued indicated that the two leaders agreed to upgrade the defence cooperation. Both countries have agreed to facilitate joint development and production of military equipment, enhancing the after sales service, recognition of quality control, components and spare parts, and regular joint exercises of the Armed Forces.

India and Russia Military Trade

Compared to the US, Russia remains the number one arms supplier to India. According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 23 percent of Russia’s arms exports between 2016-2020 were to India.

What are the five largest deliveries since 2000?

According to Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev, “Smerch multiple rocket launchers; Mi-17V-5 helicopters; Project 11356 frigates; supply and licensed production of T-90S tanks, and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.”

Which projects are being implemented?

As already announced both by Indian and Russian side, the supply of the USD 5.43 billion S-400 Triumf long-range air defense missile systems has already started. The construction of additional Project 11356 frigates in Russia and India is going on.

Also, according to Rosoboronexport the licensed production of T-90S tanks and the Mango APFSDS rounds for the tanks, as well as the production of Su-30MKI fighters and AL-31FP aircraft engines.

Main principles of cooperation with India

“Russia is the first country to start large-scale cooperation with India in the format of technology transfer and launching production of Russian-developed products at Indian enterprises,” says Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev.

“The main principle of cooperation with India is based on the “Make in India” programme announced by the Government of India.”

Industry and Rosoboronexports has been doing that for a long time.

According to him, several joint ventures have been established and are operating in India, and also licensed production facilities have been set up.

Projects Underway:

There is a long term cooperation with the state owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) on the licensed production of the Su-30MKI, for the Indian Air Force (IAF).

Production of the T-90 and T-72M1tanks for the ground forces of the Indian Army is going on at the HVF factory in India.

Around 900 T-90S and a total of 1500 units T-72M1 tanks have already been produced.

The Mango APFSDS rounds are also under production at the erstwhile Ordnance Factories.

India and Russia are in the midst of consultations related to the modernization of T-90 tanks. And, “Preliminary tests of several upgraded systems installed on tanks allocated by the Indian side have been carried out,” the Director of Rosoboronexport added.

The whole project is nearing final tests and based on the results, a decision will be taken to install upgraded systems on tanks.

Joint Research

In the defence field, on more than 100 promising topics, India and Russia are conducting joint research work.

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