Russia loses its Position in India

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It is no secret that in recent years Russia has been losing its position at India defence market. 

This is explained by the Indian Government’s intent to diversify arms suppliers, in particular, the United States, Ukraine, South Korea and other. Also, Russian military defence technology is falling behind and them service suffers a lot.

In this regard, Russia began an active information campaign to discredit the other partners of India in military-technical cooperation. Among these military-technical partners, Ukrainian defence industry complex occupies a special place. Adding to informational hysteria around the military-technical cooperation between Ukraine and India is Russia’s attempt to influence the strategic relations between the two countries. The attempt to remove Ukraine from the Indian armaments market is the Kremlin’s last chance to remain there.

By that time, can say with confidence that the quality of Russian military equipment is inferior to the American one. Russia loses key tenders to the Americans in India. Thus, the Indians gave the preference to the American combat helicopters AH-64E “Apache”, over the Russian Mi-28. The Russians lost the competition for the delivery of heavy transport helicopters: Mi-26 to the American CH-47F “Chinook”. American Boeing P-8 Poseidon replaced Russian Tu-142; transport aircraft IL-476 lost to the American C-17 “Globemaster”.

Russian Il-76
C-17 Globemaster

The Indian-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft project is at risk of failure. Over eight years, even the final aircraft design contract has not been signed. The Indians are not satisfied with the weak engines, they have claims to the fighter’s radar and stealth. The Indian side inclines to closing this project, purchasing American F-35 fighter instead of the Russian one. If India leaves the project, Russia will have to reduce next-generation aircraft production due to lack of funds.

F-35
Su-57

The Kremlin is not able to meet the demands of the Indian leadership in the defense industry. The collapse of deals, the lack of components, the transfer of India’s critical military technology within the domestic production program “Make in India” leads to a decrease in the share of Russian weapons in the Indian market.

Besides, Russia is an unreliable partner for India. In December 2015, the Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India represented an expert opinion on the operation of Russian Su-30MKI fighters. According to the auditor’s report, 126 out of 210 fighter jets – operated by Indian pilots – are on the ground as a result of malfunction. According to the Indian Ministry of Defense, six aircraft were lost since the beginning of operation.

In August 2016 it became known that Russia sold defective fighter jets to India: aircraft MiG-29K and MiG-29KUB, deliveries of which started in 2014. According to the audit, 62% of Russian engines are non-serviceable.

Russian Made Mig-29K

These cases indicate that the Russian import substitution program has failed. Russia uses components from NATO countries and the EU to build almost all types of military equipment. With the introduction of sanctions, Russian specialists are not able to resolve their own problems, because they do not have the necessary components.

In addition, Russia expects to press Ukraine in India in order to compensate for its own losses. After all, India remains Ukraine’s largest trading partner in the field of military-technical cooperation. In the period from 2015 to 2017, Ukraine fulfilled contracts totaling about $ 400 million. Including An-32 aircrafts repair for the Indian Air Force and gas turbine power plants for warships.

Only UkrOboronProm SE “Zorya-Mashproekt”, in the past three years, supplied products totaling over $200 million, providing Indian ships with power plants.

It is worth noting that within the framework of the agreements signed with India’s corporations, Ukraine is struggling to win the tenders within the “Make in India” program to receive orders from the Indian government in the field of aircraft manufacturing and repair, armored vehicles modernization, marine engineering maintenance, and UAV production and supply.

Ukrainian company “SpetsTechnoExport” has successfully fulfilled the contract with “HAL” corporation from 2013 for the supply of beam holders. In December 2017, they received an application for the conclusion of a contract for the beam holders supply from the State Enterprise “Vizar”, and in February 2018 – Ministry of Defense of India request for the products mentioned, totaling over $ 3 million.

It is noteworthy that it was in the framework of this contract that an information campaign against Ukraine was launched. The media repeatedly published unverified and unconfirmed information about the alleged failure of the company to fulfill the contract. The anti-Ukrainian campaign reached its peak during the active phase of negotiations with foreign contractors on the conclusion of a new contract for the supply of Ukrainian beam holders.

This can be seen as a manifestation of dishonest and unfair competition from the third party – the Russian Federation.

Russia has been losing its position in India defence market and now is doing its utmost to reverse the trend.

This article is written by Dylan Malyasov (Editor-in-Chief Defence-Blog)