So yet, no decision has been made on the future of many Russian accords for the Indian armed services that are in the works. “No decision has been made by the administration to put any defence transaction with Russia on hold in light of the ongoing war between Russia and Ukraine and the sanctions placed on Russia by Western and European states,” sources say.
Procurement of extra 21 MiG-29 aircraft for the Indian Air Force (IAF), upgrade of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft at a cost of Rs 7, 418 crore, and purchase of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft at a cost of Rs 10,730 crore, all of which will be produced at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL). When India and China were involved in a significant standoff along the Line of Actual Control in July 2020, the decision was made.
So far, the situation
These are widely regarded as the best fighter jets in the world, and the IAF has no other option for ensuring that its fleet does not dwindle further. After multiple rounds of negotiations, the agreements for the aforementioned projects have been finalised and are ready for both parties to sign. If there are any delays or delays, the entire procedure will have to be restarted, and there may be a price increase as well. In addition, the mechanism of payment is now uncertain, as all major banks around the world have shut off Russian banks.
The additional 12 Su-30s from Russia that the government has approved for purchase are intended to replace the Sukhois that have been lost in various collisions over the years.
The modification of the existing MiG-29 for the IAF will take place at HAL, with the kits coming from Russia. All of the technology, as well as the training of individuals who will work on the upgrade, will be overseen by Russian officials. HAL had previously upgraded certain MiG-29s, transforming them into MiG 20 UPGs that can now carry new armaments.
There were also proposals in the works for Ka-226T helicopters to be constructed in India. “Due to the huge cost involved, the Ka-226T agreement with Russia may not take off,” a top official who requested anonymity told. “The focus will be on indigenisation.”
Even before the Russia-Ukraine war broke out a few months ago, the Ministry of Defence re-examined a number of military deals, including the ones indicated above. The re-evaluation of defence transactions is not country-specific, but rather an attempt to strengthen the “Make in India” drive.
Also on hold is a deal for shoulder-fired missiles, which was placed on hold after both Russian and South Korean companies failed to pass trials based on the Indian forces’ specifications.
Make In India Initiative
The government has been working to guarantee that India’s defence sector focuses on developing important platforms rather than importing them. To that goal, the government has established a commission to assess all large deals that are to be imported from international corporations.
In 2018, Rosoboronexport of Russia was named the L1 bidder for the USD 3 billion Very Short Range Air Defence System (VSHORAD) missile system for the Indian Army and Air Force. The Indian Armed Forces have a requirement for 1000 such missiles, and if it is not abandoned, it will be the second largest sale behind the S-400 air defence missile system. France, Sweden, and Russia were the three countries competing for the VSHORAD missile system.
By this year, the government’s Missile Policy aims to achieve self-reliance in the field of missiles. The Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) has been working on the development of these short-range missiles with a range of 6-7 kilometres.
Possibility of canceling the deals with Russia
It is conceivable. “It is exceedingly difficult to foresee the result of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine situation at this moment,” a senior official explained.
Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
According to reports in the media, a senior US official recently told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that India’s defence exports could be hampered as a result of sweeping sanctions against Russia. He also said that cancellations of MiG 29 orders, anti-tank weapon orders, and helicopter orders had occurred in the recent “few weeks.”
On the possibility of a waiver for India from sanctions under CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act) over the S-400 air defence system deal, US Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asian Affairs Donald Lu said the Biden administration will make a deterrent effort.