India and Russia have a grand-old and time-tested relationship independent of any geopolitical constraints. Recently, Russia has proposed several military technologies to India while some are nearing delivery. It shows that the two countries are successfully keeping contentious issues at bay while advancing their mutual ties.
S-400 missile Defence system
One of the most talked-about and anticipated deals between India and Russia is the S-400 missile defence system. This weapon system is giving nightmares to Pakistan and has upset China. However, Russia has again reiterated that they will start delivering it from December this year.
AK-103 assault rifles
The Indian Air Force has signed a deal for purchasing 770,000 AK-103 assault rifles from Russia under emergency provisions. They will replace existing India-made INSAS rifles. The ₹300 crores contract was inked as the terrorist threat emboldens globally with the rise of the Taliban. AK-203, a Russian assault rifle, will fulfil the remaining requirements when its production begins in India.
Talwar class stealth frigates
Russia has said that it will deliver the first of the two Krivak or Talwar class stealth frigate by mid-2023 for the Indian Navy. India and Russia entered an agreement in October 2016 for four Krivak stealth frigates. Indian will procure two of these frigates directly from Russia, while two will be built in India by Goa Shipyard Ltd. In addition, Russia has offered India to modernize the rest of Talwar-class guided-missile frigates. The Indian Navy currently operates six Talwar-class guided-missile frigates.
Upgrade of T-90 Bhishma tanks
Moscow is holding consultations with New Delhi for upgrading India’s T-90S Bhishma tank. Besides, Russia’s Rosoboronexport has expressed readiness to provide the advanced version of T-90MS tanks to India.
Palma anti-aircraft artillery system
The Russians have offered their Palma Shipborne automated, anti-aircraft artillery system to India. Palma is a surface-to-air missile system designed for protection against anti-ship missiles, anti-radar missiles, guided aerial bombs, aircraft and helicopters. It can also engage small-displacement vessels, etc.
Since 2018, the defence trade between India and Russia has been worth $15 billion. This partnership is expected to grow further as India faces growing security challenges from state and non-state actors in its neighbourhood. Amid all this, India counts on Russia not only in terms of arms supplier but also as a geopolitical partner who shares interests as well as concerns.