India Has Found a Military Partner in Russia, But Risks Upsetting US: Experts

Russian President Vladimir Putin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on 6 December.

2 min read
India Has Found a Military Partner in Russia, But Risks Upsetting US: Experts

As India and Russia renewed a framework for military-technical cooperation for the next 10 years on Monday, 6 December, experts opine that India, while it is taking the risk of offending the US due to the relation, has found an affordable military partner.

Nandan Unnikrishnan, an expert on India’s relations with Russia at the New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation, told The New York Times, “India doesn’t have the kind of kitty China has with all our developmental challenges... While American or Israeli equipment is state of the art, the money it requires is three times more.”

“There has been a lot of speculation about the nature of the India-Russia relationship and whether it is fraying because of Russia’s closeness with China and India’s with the US, but this visit puts all that to rest,” Unnikrishnan told Al Jazeera.

Russian President Vladimir Putin had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi on Monday, at a time when the buildup of Russian troops near Ukraine has led to conjecture that the country could be planning a large-scale invasion. Russia could receive damaging sanctions from the United States in such a scenario.

Michael Kugelman, deputy director at the Wilson Center think-tank in Washington, has stated that Russia's visit to India, at this precarious time, was a measure to reinforce the relations between the two countries.

In this context, Mr Putin's visit is important to uphold the special relationship. "I think for Russia, the objective in this case, is to reinforce the importance of Moscow's relations with New Delhi, even as the geopolitical signposts suggest otherwise," Mr Kugelman adds.

India's defence deal with Russia, wherein it has started receiving parts of a new missile defence system, has also made India vulnerable to US sanctions, experts opine.

The India-Russia Meet

“We (India and Russia) are adopting a long-term vision to strengthen our partnership in economic affairs. By 2025, we've set a target of trade worth $30 billion and investment worth $50 billion,” Prime Minister Modi announced on Monday, during his meeting with Putin.

New Delhi and Moscow also signed a programme of cooperation in the field of defence, which will remain instated until 2031.

President Putin was quoted as saying by news agency ANI:

"Currently, mutual investments stand at about 38 billion with a bit more investment coming from the Russian side. We cooperate greatly in military and technical sphere like no other country. We develop high technologies together as well as produce in India."

Meanwhile, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar on Monday attended a 2+2 meeting with Russian officials.

"Enhancing bilateral trade and investment figured prominently in the talks. This year, we've noticed an encouraging trend of growth in our trades compared to last year. Both sides are looking forward to continued increase in trade and investment trajectory," Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla was quoted as saying by ANI.

"With regard to Ukrainian military developments, in the 2+2 meet, I think Russian side did provide a briefing on that situation. I don't think there was anything beyond that. S-400 supplies have begun this month and will continue to happen," Shringla added.

A total of 28 MoUs (memorandum of understanding) were signed between the two countries.

(With inputs from NYT, BBC, ANI, and Al Jazeera)

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Edited By :Padmashree Pande
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