By Aritra Banerjee
Russian weapons and military equipment (WME) have recently gained the attention of foreign customers due to their successful use in actual combat conditions, according to the head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSVTS) of the Russian Federation, Dmitry Shugaev. With the world-renowned Aero India-2023 air show underway, Shugaev highlighted that using Russian military products in recent military operations has increased interest in Russia’s weapons and equipment.
Shugaev emphasised that the Asian region holds immense potential for further cooperation with Russia. He stated that Russian military products supplied in the interests of Asian partners are known for their high reliability and durability, particularly in a tropical climate. He added that these characteristics have earned Russian military products a worthy reputation among its partners.
Despite the sanctions, Russia is fulfilling all its obligations in the military-technical cooperation (MTC) field and continues to offer new areas of cooperation in the military-technical sphere, he emphasised before highlighting that since the 1990s, the interaction between Russia and the countries of the Asian region has been steadily growing in all areas of bilateral relations, including in the field of military-technical cooperation.
Russia’s traditional partners continue to show interest in acquiring a wide range of Russian military products, including the Su-30, the MiG-29 family, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), anti-aircraft missile systems, and more. According to Shugaev, Russian weapons are superior to their Western counterparts in several characteristics.
India continues to be a significant partner for Russia in military-technical cooperation, despite significant pressure from Western countries, particularly the United States, in connection with the recent special military operation. The portfolio of orders is more than $10 billion, and negotiations are underway for the supply and organisation of licensed production in India of MANPADS ‘Igla-S.’
Shugaev also noted that negotiations with India on the production of Ka-226T helicopters had been frozen due to a disagreement over the level of localisation proposed by the joint venture. Despite this, India is considering the purchase of finished vehicles from Russia. Military-technical cooperation between Russia and India began in the 1950s, and currently, the Indian armed forces are 70% equipped with Soviet/Russian-made weapons.
Russia is seen as being the only country transferring technology for the production of modern weapons to the Indian side, unlike Western countries cooperating with India in the field of defence products. This technology transfer is clearly visible in the activities of the BrahMos Aerospace joint venture, which received technology from the Russian side to produce BrahMos multi-purpose supersonic missiles.
The current program of interaction between countries in the defence sphere, designed for 2021-2031, includes implementing more than 200 joint projects. These include the supply of Russian long-range S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems and the recent establishment of the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited to produce AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles.
Furthermore, military-technical cooperation between Russia and India is carried out within the framework of joint ventures. The BrahMos Aerospace JV was founded in 1998 to develop and manufacture BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, while the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited was established in 2019 to produce Kalashnikov