US, WASHINGTON (ORDO NEWS) — According to the Nikkei Asia Review, India decided to purchase another 400 Russian T-90S tanks and, most likely, another batch of MiG-29 fighters. This news has attracted widespread attention.
In recent years, following the rapid development of the Indian economy, its military spending has also increased. According to the draft financial budget, submitted in February 2020 by the Ministry of Finance of India, the country’s military spending in 2020 will increase by 6% compared to last year, amounting to about 47.13 billion dollars. Due to the weak defense industry, India imports most of its weapons.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, in 2015-2019. India has become the second importer of arms in the world, its share in world arms imports is 9.2%
The arms market of India has long been occupied by Russia, military cooperation between the two countries can be traced back to the 1970s. After India conducted its first nuclear test in 1974, Western countries stopped selling arms to India, and she turned to the Soviet Union for arms and equipment. Under the influence of decades of military cooperation, the Indian Army received a large number of Russian-made weapons – from rifles to T-90 tanks and aircraft carriers.
Over-reliance on Russian weapons has also brought India a number of problems. Take the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya as an example. The cost of modernization of the ship by Russia was more than doubled – from 800 million to 2.35 billion dollars, and the time of re-equipment exceeded nine years. In addition, most of the Russian weapons and equipment are still based on Soviet-era technology. And this no longer fully meets the needs of India, so it began to expand its sources of weapons.
For the United States, arms sales to India can not only help attract it to their side, but also strike a blow at Russian arms shipments. The United States and India quickly agreed, especially after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister of India, which also contributed to an increase in arms sales. In June 2019, India acquired 10 P8I patrol aircraft from the United States.
In February 2020, during a visit to India by Donald Trump, countries signed another contract for the sale of arms worth $ 3 billion. According to statistics, since 2007, India has purchased more than $ 17 billion worth of weapons from the United States. In the next two to three years, she is ready to sign a contract for the purchase of American weapons in the amount of $ 10 billion. As a result, in 2014-2018.
Fearing losing her position in the Indian arms market, Russia intensified the struggle, and India gradually realized that its “strategic autonomy” could suffer due to excessive rapprochement with the United States. Therefore, in recent years, it began to strengthen military cooperation with Russia.
The countries jointly developed the BrahMos supersonic anti-ship missile. India participated in the development of the Su-57 fighter and spent $ 2.2 billion on the purchase of four frigates. In 2019, under pressure and the threat of United States sanctions, India signed a contract with Russia for the supply of S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems in the amount of $ 5.2 billion. In September 2019, the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation Dmitry Shugaev stated.
Based on the geographical situation and the huge demand for weapons, India can kill two birds with one stone – increase its voting power in negotiations on the cost of weapons thanks to price competition between the United States and Russia, and at the same time adjust relations with large countries by signing arms supply contracts.
Therefore, despite the existing shortcomings, it will still import a large number of weapons and equipment. In recent years, military cooperation between India and Russia has changed from ordinary sales to joint arms development. This suggests that India is no longer a “simpleton” in the arms market, and that the struggle for this market between the United States, Russia and other countries will become increasingly fierce.
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