Wednesday, May 29, 2024

India-Russia Military-Technical Cooperation: A Blueprint For Sustainable Defence Growth

By Aritra Banerjee

As Russia commemorated the 70th anniversary of its public administration system for military-technical cooperation, India has a unique opportunity to learn from this enduring partnership. By examining Russia’s strategic resilience, India’s burgeoning defence industry can shape its trajectory in an increasingly multipolar world.

Navigating The Geopolitical Landscape: Russia’s Strategy

Russia’s military-technical cooperation has been the cornerstone of its foreign policy, guided by universal principles such as mutual respect, equal rights, and non-interference in internal affairs. Despite mounting global pressures, Russia has not only sustained but bolstered its position in the global arms market.

Moscow’s strategic pillars are the superior quality of its military equipment and an agile, innovative financial strategy. The exceptional performance and competitive pricing of Russian military products have attracted a diverse international clientele. Moreover, Russia’s financial strategies, including the use of national currencies and alternative financial mechanisms, have mitigated the impact of Western sanctions.

India-Russia Partnership: Triumph Of Joint Ventures

“Our efforts in India are the poster child for a comprehensive industrial partnership within the framework of which we manage to settle down joint projects for all branches of the armed forces with cooperation level between companies in the two countries being unique on the global market,” says Rosoboronexport Director General Alexander Mikheev.

As the global defence industry increasingly embraces joint military projects, Russia’s willingness to establish military equipment production in partner countries is noteworthy. The success of joint ventures with India, such as the BrahMos missile system, Su-30MKI aircraft, T-90S tanks, and AK-203 assault rifles, stands as a testament to the effectiveness of this approach.

“One of the best-known examples of such cooperation is India, where the BrahMos project, licensed production of T-90S tanks, Su-30MKI aircraft, aircraft engines and Mango tank projectiles have been implemented, and frigates of project 11356 are being built at Indian shipyards,” highlights Dmitry Shugayev, Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC).

This collaboration, spanning across all branches of the Indian armed forces, sets a global standard, showcasing the immense potential of military-technical cooperation.

Charting India’s Defence Future: Key Lessons

India’s defence growth can draw valuable lessons from Russia’s military-technical cooperation. The first lesson lies in building a resilient system capable of adapting to geopolitical changes. India should prioritise delivering quality products, robust customer support, and honouring contractual commitments.

“The success of joint ventures underscores the potential of collaborative projects in strengthening India’s domestic defence capabilities,” says Dmitry Shugayev. “To date, it can already be said that a project for the joint production of AK-203 assault rifles has taken place, and at the beginning of this year, their mass production was launched in India.”

“Our long-term project with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to license production of the Indian Air Force’s most popular aircraft, the Sukhoi Su-30MKI, is a testament to our commitment,” adds Alexander Mikheev. “We are also standing by to get the green light to produce the Kamov Ka-226T light multipurpose helicopters on the basis of a joint venture.”

For instance, the prospective production of Kamov Ka-226T helicopters and Igla-S portable anti-aircraft systems can further solidify this cooperation.

As sanctions increasingly shape international relations, Russia’s financial innovation strategy and reduced dependence on traditionally dominant currencies offer a viable path forward. These insights are indispensable as India navigates the complex landscape of international defence.

“When it comes to specific projects, one of the main achievements is the contract to supply India with S-400’ Triumph’ long-range air defence missile systems, concluded during the Russian-Indian summit in New Delhi on 5 October 2018,” emphasises Alexander Mikheev. “It became the major project for the entire period of military-technical cooperation between Russia and India. The same systems were delivered to a NATO country despite strong opposition and political pressure from rivals. We returned to sub-Saharan Africa and are actively engaged in operations there.”

Commemorating the 70th anniversary of Russia’s public administration system for military-technical cooperation provides India with a timely opportunity to reflect on its defence growth blueprint. With the successful Russia-India partnership as a reference, India’s defence industry can aspire to claim a substantial global presence. The promise of growth, resilience, and self-reliance looms large, reinforcing the immense potential of comprehensive military-technical cooperation.

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