July 23, 2012
Credit: Credit: Dassault Aviation
Jay Menon New Delhi
Russia used to be the biggest arms supplier to India, and a reliable one at that. But over-pricing, among other issues, led to a sharp drop in its share of the lucrative market. Now Russia intends to claw its way back to the top over formidable U.S. and European competitors.
India was the world's largest buyer of arms from outside its borders in 2011, accounting for 10% of global arms imports.
Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin made a pitch for the joint development with India of defense equipment that could be sold to other countries during a visit to New Delhi last week.
“We want to move from basic trade to joint development projects with India in defense,” Rogozin says.
In talks with Indian authorities, Rogozin expressed keen interest in joint ventures for the production of cargo and passenger aircraft.
“The BrahMos missile system is a shining example of this type of cooperation,” says an Indian defense ministry official. “Joint development of the Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft and the Multi Transport Aircraft, as well as the licensed production in India of Su-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are other examples of flagship cooperation programs that are presently underway in this area.”
India has also asked Russia to start inducting the 290-km-range (180-mi.) BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles into its naval fleet. The two sides formed a joint venture to produce the supersonic cruise missile in 1998 and since then, all three wings of the Indian armed forces have ordered BrahMos for their inventory. But the Russians have ordered none as yet.