Defence deals: Russia sees red over India’s tilt towards West

Published: 09th February 2013 08:35 AM  |   Last Updated: 09th February 2013 08:35 AM   |  A+A-


Russia, the biggest defence supplier to India, seems to be enraged over New Delhi’s tilt towards the West for its arms and military requirements, despite Moscow consciously not selling to Pakistan.

At the Aero India Show at Yelahanka air base here, Viktor Komardin, chief of Russia’s defence export firm Rosoboronexport, vented anger on the Indian media, saying they were ‘unfair’ to Russia in reports on the recent defence deals.

“Russia created the Indian defence industry. The reports are not proper,” Komardin told reporters. His rage, however, seemed directed more towards the Indian Government’s efforts to not put all its eggs in the Russian basket.

“We do not sell military equipment to Pakistan, only because of our loyalty to India. But all other nations, with whom India does business, sell their weapons and systems to Pakistan. We are India’s true strategic partners,” he said.

Presently, Russia has about $7 billion (Rs 35,000 crore) worth of contracts in India, including the licenced manufacture of 222 Su-30 combat aircraft, over 1,500 T-90 battle tanks and other systems. Moscow also has deals for co-developing the Fifth General Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA), both next generation platforms.

However, in the last decade, India has majorly bought American, French and Israeli systems. The US alone notched up about $8 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) worth of arms sales in India, emerging as a major alternative to Russia, in supplying weapons and military platforms for Indian armed forces.

“We were the first to transfer defence technology to India about 50 years ago when we gave MiG-21 combat planes in 1964. We have given the Su-30 and T-90 battle tank technologies, BrahMos cruise missiles, and now we are going to do FGFA and MTA with you,” he said.  He pointed out that India was buying technology from other countries at exorbitant prices, without any benefit to its defence industrial base.

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