The Indian Air Force (IAF) would be unaffected by US sanctions against Russia, as India’s relations with both countries are solid, according to Vice Chief Air Marshal Sandeep Singh. However, acquiring spare components for the IAF’s defence equipment from Russia to India may be problematic for a month or two, he noted.
Approximately 70% of Indian defence equipment is Russian-made.
Following Vladimir Putin’s launch of a military attack against Ukraine on February 24, a number of western countries, including the United States, have chosen to freeze the assets of four major Russian banks, impose export limits, and penalise oligarchs linked to the Russian president.
“We all know how bad the geopolitical situation is right now… Our ties with Russia will remain strong “At a news conference held today, Singh stated.
He stated that geopolitical events are still happening.
“Our stance is quite solid, and our relations with both nations (Russia and the United States) have remained (strong),” he said.
“We’re assessing the issue right now. There will be challenges, there is no doubt about it. However, I do not believe it will have a significant impact on us. I’m certain that it won’t have a substantial impact on us “Added he.
On the problem of replacement parts delivery from Russia to India, he stated that there will undoubtedly be challenges for a month or two. According to Singh, “There are consequences, but we’ve dealt with similar situations before, and this might be far more terrible… I don’t believe it will have a significant impact on us, and I hope so as well.”
He stated that the IAF is striving for 100 percent indigenization of spare parts and components.
“It will take some time to get to 100 percent,” he said.
According to Singh, the defence ministry and the IAF have set a very ambitious deadline to attain 100%. He believes that in the next years, the majority of the IAF’s systems will be designed and manufactured in-house.
He went on to say that the ultimate goal is to be self-sufficient.
According to the IAF deputy chief, three planes had left to evacuate trapped individuals.
He stated, “We can operate four aircraft per day to remove Indians.”
Singh indicated that the evacuation efforts will continue 24 hours a day, seven days a week till all Indians have been returned. He said that the IAF has done a number of similar evacuation missions, the most recent of which being in Afghanistan.
When asked how many An-32 military transport planes Ukraine has renovated so far, Singh said the fleet has been modernised to a great extent.
“When Ukraine was under pressure due to the Crimean problem in 2014 and 2015, the modernization of An-32 aircraft was also hampered,” he said.
Following that, he noted, the IAF greatly indigenised many of the spare parts that Ukraine needed to modernise.