The war between Russia and Ukraine is likely to cost India’s military capabilities dearly with delivery of many platforms like nuclear powered submarine, Grigorovich class frigates, Fighter jets, Triumf S-400, AK 203 assault rifle and others are expected to be delayed.
The ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions imposed on Russia by Western and European Nations to delay the delivery of critical projects Indian armed forces were looking upon to enhance its capabilities.
As soon as the war began on February 24, both India and Russia maintained there would be no delays with respect to deliveries of critical platforms but with sanction imposed and the possibility of the war continuing for long, it will have a major impact.
India decided to upgrade its military infrastructure when the country was locked in a major faceoff with China along the Line of Actual Control in July 2020. The threat of two-front war — from China and Pakistan — has made India to go for large scale arms deals.
According to Swedish think-tank — Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) report in 2021, Russia is still one of India’s largest arms suppliers.
India’s defence ministry has recently reviewed the status of the current deals with Russia and how the war is going to impact the Indian military capabilities.
In December 2021, India and Russia signed more than two dozen deals across a variety of sectors and had also inked a 10-year defence cooperation pact.
Back then, in a joint statement, India and Russia stated they intend to “upgrade the defence cooperation, including facilitating joint development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, enhancing the after-sales service system, progress towards mutual recognition of quality control and regular joint exercises of the Armed Forces of the two countries”.
One of the deals with Russia is the Triumf S-400 air defence 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. Russia has stated that it will deliver on time. However, the war will delay the same.
S-400 air defence system is a mobile long range surface to air missile system which is considered one of the most lethal in the world. It can take down multiple targets up to a range of 400 km.
Indian Army had also inked a deal with Russia to jointly develop the AK 203 assault rifle worth Rs 5,000 crore. The production of 6.71 lakh AK 203 rifles in Korwa, Amethi in Uttar Pradesh as part of a joint venture with Russia under the Make in India project will face further delays despite the deal having faced hurdles and delays earlier.
In 2019, India signed a $3 billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered submarine. The Chakra III, Akula class submarine is expected to be delivered by 2025 for a period of 10 years. This will be the third nuclear submarine India will take on lease from Russia, the other two being in 1988 for a period of three years and then in 2012 for 10 years. The lease for this will end this year.
The deal to get four Grigorovich class frigates was signed between Russia’s state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Goa Shipyard Ltd in 2018.
Two frigates for the Indian Navy worth $1 billion were to be manufactured in Russia and the other two in Goa. The delivery was supposed to start within four years of signing of the contract.
The arms and ammunition deals with Russia also includes procurement of additional 21 MiG-29 for the Indian Air Force (IAF), up-gradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft at an estimated cost of Rs 7,418 crore and purchase of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft for Rs 10,730 crore to be built at the state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).
(Sumit Kumar Singh can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)