22.12.10

Russia India cooperation.

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Russia is in Europe, Russia is in Asia....obviously naturally Russia must maintain good relations with Asian countries. For the last 400 years, the main security threat to Russia has come from the West......save for the brief Japanese debacle in 1904-5, which were soundly repaid in 1938, and 1945.

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5G deal makes Russia No. 1 defence partner by a long shot

Rajat Pandit of the Times of India.

Move over Israel, France, the UK and the US, Russia has reasserted its numero uno status in the lucrative Indian defence market. The Soviet era's heady romance of "friendship prices" and "sweet deals" may be long dead and gone, but the long-standing strategic clinch shows no sign of abating. The expansive Indo-Russian defence partnership, which has already zoomed past $35 billion since the 1960s, marked a new high on Tuesday with the two nations inking the preliminary design contract (PDC) for joint development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA).

The PDC may be only worth $295 million but it will, as earlier reported by TOI, lead to India spending around $35 billion over the next two decades to induct between 250 and 300 of advanced stealth fighters from 2020 onwards in what will be its biggest-ever defence project. The Indian FGFA or "perspective multi-role fighter" will be based on the Russian single-seater FGFA called Sukhoi T-50, a prototype of which is already flying, but will be tailored to the IAF requirements. The IAF wants a twin-seater FGFA powered by a new engine "with a higher thrust". India and Russia, incidentally, will market the FGFA to "friendly third" countries at a later stage.

India will keep its fingers crossed because of the Russian propensity to miss delivery schedules, jack up costs mid-way through execution of agreements and create roadblocks in transfer of technology. The failure to provide uninterrupted supply of spares or regular maintenance has been another major sore point for India.

For instance, the prolonged and bitter dispute over aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov's refit cost had even led the then Navy chief Admiral Sureesh Mehta to publicly warn that India should not put "all its defence eggs in the Russian basket".

(Equally pointless Sureesh Mehta saab having 10 different jet fighters from several different countries all requiring a variety of spares and refits.....ditto naval equipment,..... ditto army equipment. The key is technology transfers and domestic production, and it would seem Russia is the most generous in this area )

India has consciously diversified its defence imports since the 1999 Kargil conflict, turning towards countries like Israel, France, UK and now increasingly the US. Israel, in particular, is snapping at the heels of Russia, notching up sales worth over $10 billion since Kargil.

But Russia still remains — and will be so in the foreseeable future — India's largest defence partner. Gorshkov will now come only in early-2013 — earlier it was slated to be delivered in August, 2008 — with India paying $2.33 billion instead of the earlier $974 million in what was thought to be 'a fixed price contract' when it was inked in January 2004.

India realizes only Russia will be ready to supply it with some "sensitive" military hardware (Yesss...penny has dropped). By May-June next year, the country will get the K-152 Nerpa Akula-II nuclear-powered submarine from Russia on a 10-year lease as part of a secretive 2004 deal.

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ONLY THE SOVIET UNION built up India's strategic muscle....steel mills, power stations, machine tools factories, and so forth ORIGINALLY from the 1950's........only after the Soviets stepped in to help did others offer....notably the UK, and West Germany with strategic industries........Strategic industries are what gives nations real power.