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Kremlin wiped American nose: S-400 in India

Breathe out, India has already made an advance payment for the supply of Russian S-400 anti-aircraft missile systems. Now, according to Deputy Prime Minister Yuri Borisov, “everything will go according to schedule” and the delivery of complexes will begin in 2020, India will receive five regiments of the latest air defense systems, for which it will pay $ 5.43 billion. What is the reason for joy? The large S-400 contract concluded at the beginning of October 2018 could be unrealized for a number of reasons, including the pressure on New Delhi from Washington. But this was not the main reason – in recent years, India has “sailed away” from the sphere of military-commercial cooperation with Russia, and now it seems to be resuming. Is this not a reason for joy?


It’s clear that Putin is “to blame” for everything. It was he who, during a recent meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on the sidelines of the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok, agreed with a “Indian friend” a whole package of bilateral documents in the trade, investment and military-technical spheres, in the field of industry, education and culture. The military part of the deal turned into Indian arms orders of $ 14.5 billion for Russian arms, which included both S-400 and frigates of project 11356 (in the Russian Navy, these are the existing Admiral Grigorovich, Admiral Essen, Admiral Makarov, three more frigates are launched and will be completed at the shipyards of India), as well as a large consignment of ammunition for the air forces, naval forces and land forces.


Arms trade in the global arms market is a profit for the budget. It’s not entirely clear where the income will go (here we are in the first place in the sale of wheat, and bread in stores is only getting more expensive), but the fact of acquiring a partner in this area is in any case favorable for the defense industry itself. This is a guaranteed package of orders, and salaries for workers, and the opportunity to improve their own military equipment and weapons. So the “Indian penny”, rupees, is not at all superfluous for the domestic defense industry. Again, there is a political nuance – the arms trade also involves some allied relations.


The United States actively opposed the supply of Russian S-400 air defense systems to Turkey, citing the fact that this is a NATO country and the purchase of Russian systems will destroy the security system of the alliance. Even participation in the F-35 fighter program was denied Ankara as a “punishment”. Everything is much more prosaic – Washington wanted to sell its Patriot air defense system to the Turks, which is both more expensive and less efficient. Now Turkey is considering the possibility of purchasing Russian Su-57 fighters or, more likely, Su-35. This is a business, nothing personal. India, which also bought weapons from the United States (Washington threatened New Delhi with regard to the S-400), is making a U-turn in the direction of Russian military products. Hindus are also eyeing the Su-35, are negotiating the supply and licensed production of the Igla-S portable anti-aircraft missile system (MANPADS) (this is almost $ 1.5 billion), an intergovernmental agreement on the lease of the Russian Chakra-3 nuclear submarine ( 3 billion dollars), and so on, a little bit of detail.


It is known that more than 70 percent of tanks, self-propelled artillery systems, multiple launch rocket systems, fighters, bombers, attack aircraft, early warning and control radars, helicopters, aircraft carriers, frigates, nuclear and diesel submarines, rocket ships, coastal defense systems, standing in service with the Indian Ground Forces, Air Force and Navy — are of Russian and Soviet production. To date, 40 percent of military equipment in the Indian army is produced in Russia or assembled under a Russian license at local factories. In aviation, this share is 80 percent, in the Navy -75. However, it is not entirely appropriate to talk about the Russian monopoly in military-technical cooperation with India. New Delhi is actively acquiring weapons in other countries, primarily in the United States, France, and Israel.


India has systematically curtailed Russian arms export programs in recent years and, as experts say, openly “acted up”, demanding more favorable conditions, blackmailing with the possibility of purchases from other countries, in France. The export portfolio of Indian arms purchases in Russia fell from 30 percent in 2013 to 16 percent in 2018. At the end of 2016, Rosoboronexport had obligations to India in the amount of $ 4.6 billion, the next year only two billion new contracts were concluded, then the amount decreased further. So the current orders for the 14.5 billion that Putin “knocked out” of Modi in Vladivostok can really be called “breakthrough” in the military-technical cooperation of the two countries.


  • Of course, you shouldn’t flatter yourself about this, of course – India has not made a final choice in favor of Russia, – said military expert Vladislav Shurygin.

– Recently, New Delhi has chosen between the purchase of weapons in Russia, the United States, Europe and its own production. Hindus constantly hold tenders, change conditions, put forward new requirements. Yes, and the sum of $ 14.5 billion implies not their immediate payment. The same contract for S-400 of 5.43 billion will be extended until 2025 and the cash tranches will come gradually. The same can be said under the agreement, according to which India is preparing to purchase 464 T-90MS tanks from Russia in the amount of about 2 billion. The contract does not provide for the supply of finished tanks, but car kits for subsequent assembly at Indian enterprises. However, the Uralvagonzavod Corporation (a manufacturer of tanks) is also pleased with similar things – this is one of the largest foreign contracts in recent years. Vietnam and Iraq, for example, requested the supply of 64 and 73 of these tanks, respectively.


Indeed, a “breakthrough” could be a contract for the supply or joint development of a fifth-generation fighter based on the Su-57. If India adopts more than 200 such multipurpose aircraft over 10 years, their costs will amount to almost $ 35 billion. Now the Indian Air Force uses 200 Russian Su-30MKI fighters, an order for which amounted to more than $ 12 billion. Now India has decided to purchase Rafale fighters from France – 36 aircraft worth $ 8 billion. Each French machine (the fourth generation of fighters) costs $ 218 million, despite the fact that the purchase of Russian Su-57 (fifth generation) would cost 80-100 million per unit. That is, the Indians for that kind of money could buy not 36 already obsolete Rafaley, but about 100 more advanced fighters.


Recall that today India, Algeria, Vietnam, China, Iran, Iraq, Belarus, Kazakhstan, Bangladesh, Nicaragua are actively acquiring Russian weapons – this is the top ten most active and regular customers. India is still in the lead on this list, including due to the current agreements, which included the S-400.

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