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New Realities of the India-Russia Defence Partnership
Written by Aparna Ray On 24 October 2012 @ 9:22 am | No Comments
In Citizen Media, Eastern & Central Europe, Economics & Business, English, India, International Relations, Pakistan, Politics, Russia, South Asia, Technology, Weblog
This post is part of our International Relations & Security  coverage.
A number of defense contracts are likely to be sealed when Russian President Vladimir Putin ‘s visits India in November for annual summit talks with India’s Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh .
India and Russia have a long history  of defense cooperation, with Russia being India's leading partner. According to Russia Today , between 1960 and 2000, Russia supplied India with about $35 billion worth of military equipment. Over the years, the relationship has evolved  [pdf] from a simple buyer-seller framework to one involving joint research and development, production and marketing of advanced defense technologies, including missiles , rockets, fighter  and transport  aircrafts.
However, changing political landscapes may be forcing the allies to realign their interests. While India makes positive strides in its defense relations with the United S tates, Russia is once again keen to expand its role and influence across South Asia. Moscow’s initiatives include the Dushanbe Group of Four  – a proposed collaboration between Russia, Tajikistan, Afghanistan and Pakistan. Sensing ambivalence in the US-Pakistan relationship , Moscow has also warmed to Pakistan , much to India's chagrin.
Commenting on the turn of events, Brahma Chellaney, Professor of Strategic Studies at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi, tweeted :
@Chellaney : New geopolitics, new equations: As India moves closer to the U.S., Russia and Pakistan explore a new relationship with high-profile visits.
Friends and Foes
President Putin was supposed to visit Pakistan  at the beginning of October, but postponed his trip  at the last minute. Russia later sought to quell India's concerns by insisting they would not sell arms to Pakistan . But eyebrows were raised  when a meeting of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) in New Delhi had to be rescheduled  from October 4 to October 10  because the Russian Defense Minister, Anatoly Serdyukov , apparently had to participate  in an event organized by Putin. This happened to be at a time when Pakistan's Army Chief General Ashfaq Parvez Kayani  was visiting Moscow . Around the same time, Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov  also postponed his India visit and went to Islamabad  instead.
Military blogger Prasun K. Sengupta elaborates on what he feels will be the nature of cooperation between Pakistan and Russia. He writes :
Interestingly, Moscow has signalled its readiness to warm up to Pakistan’s overtures with the proviso that Pakistan accommodates Russia’s concerns regarding the regional security scenario in Central Asia, given the fact that Pakistan’s Gilgit-Baltistan/Khyber Pakhtunkhwa belt is separated from Tajikistan by Afghanistan’s narrow Wakhan Corridor, and that this belt of Pakistan also borders the Kashgar prefecture of China’s troubled Xinjiang province. To this end, Russia is reported to be willing to extend a sizeable quantum of security assistance to Pakistan, which is likely to include up to 12 new-build Mi-171 helicopters (to be built by the Ulan-Ude Aviation Plant) and hundreds of RPO-A Shmel (Bumblebee) shoulder-launched thermobaric rockets, items which the Pakistan Army urgently requires for its upcoming counter-insurgency campaign in North Waziristan.
India is not only apprehensive about the Pakistan-Russia rapprochement but is also concerned about delays in Russia's delivery of certain defense hardware and technologies. For example, the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (now renamed the INS Vikramaditya) will not be ready for transfer before the end of 2013 .
For their part, Russia is unhappy with India scaling up  their defense relationship with the US and also for diversifying its sources for new defense equipment from nations such as the US, Israel, and France.
@ForcesFocus : India's American-cozying is slowly distancing it away from its old friends. #Russia prefers meeting #Pakistan COAS (Chief of Army Staff) 2 Indian Defence Minister
Nevertheless, both India and Russia appear to be working towards the ‘rebalancing of relations ‘ and moving ahead  with more deals. Russia is still India's main supplier of defense equipment and will, according to forecasts, continue to be the number one  importer of Russian arms, with purchase value increasing from $8.2 billion for the period 2008-2011 to $14.3 billion between 2012 and 2015.
This post and its translations to Spanish, Arabic and French were commissioned by the International Security Network (ISN) as part of a partnership to seek out citizen voices on international relations and security issues worldwide. This post was first published  on the ISN blog , see similar stories here .
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URLs in this post:
 International Relations & Security: http://globalvoicesonline.org/specialcoverage/international-relations-security/
 Image: http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/a/ab/Brahmos_imds.jpg
 number of defense : http://ibnlive.in.com/news/india-to-buy-42-combat-planes-from-russia/299810-3.html
 Vladimir Putin: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vladimir_Putin
 Dr. Manmohan Singh: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Manmohan_Singh
 long history: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/India%E2%80%93Russia_relations
 Russia Today: http://rt.com/politics/india-russia-military-rolls/
 has evolved: https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:CBrL7WE3G3AJ:mea.gov.in/mystart.php%3Fid%3D50044518+&hl=en&gl=in&pid=bl&srcid=ADGEESj5rkh-m0URJN3CnBxy1fsH4fk3lCtMhdYCA1nIhn2qEM9X5cPP24eciyHCydJmohTKr1TJWUDJR7EcSRSP6b9CNuYJgZlwFW4g4OdyHhmOro-QeOK-9UjcSFfdmVrgMywERhTO&sig=AHIEtbSNtSD30Yu7qHcBQ0YI4XCNEYaL4Q
 missiles: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/BrahMos
 rockets, : http://articles.economictimes.indiatimes.com/2012-08-28/news/33450286_1_smerch-russia-sign-agreement-india-and-russia
 fighter: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sukhoi/HAL_FGFA
 transport: http://en.rian.ru/world/20120530/173751557.html
 defense relations with the United S: http://csis.org/program/us-india-security-and-defense-cooperation
 Dushanbe Group of Four: http://policyresearchgroup.com/afghanistan/four_nation_dushanbe_summit_words_more_words.html
 ambivalence in the US-Pakistan relationship: http://www.realclearworld.com/printpage/?url=http://www.realclearworld.com/articles/2012/10/06/us_and_pakistans_elusive_cooperation_100264.html
 warmed to Pakistan: http://rbth.ru/articles/2012/10/10/pakistan_and_russia_move_closer_toward_military_cooperation_18965.html
 tweeted: https://twitter.com/Chellaney/status/253825792130310144
 visit Pakistan: http://tribune.com.pk/story/427680/landmark-trip-putin-due-in-islamabad-in-october/
 postponed his trip: http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2012%5C09%5C28%5Cstory_28-9-2012_pg1_2
 not sell arms to Pakistan: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-10/india/34361997_1_russian-defence-serdyukov-indian-counterpart
 eyebrows were raised: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/indiahome/indianews/article-2216407/Pakistan-scores-diplomatic-brownie-point-Kayani-gets-Russia-ignore-old-friend-India.html?ito=feeds-newsxml
 rescheduled: http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-national/meeting-put-off-as-russian-minister-reschedules-visit/article3963392.ece
 October 10: http://articles.timesofindia.indiatimes.com/2012-10-11/india/34385872_1_5th-gen-ins-vikramaditya-stealth-fifth-generation-fighter-aircraft
 Anatoly Serdyukov: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anatoliy_Serdyukov
 Ashfaq Parvez Kayani: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ashfaq_Parvez_Kayani
 visiting Moscow: http://dawn.com/2012/09/30/kayani-to-visit-russia-from-oct-3/
 Sergei Lavrov: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sergey_Lavrov
 went to Islamabad: http://www.opednews.com/articles/Pakistan-Russia-relations-by-Abdus-Sattar-Ghaza-121009-160.html
 writes: http://trishul-trident.blogspot.in/2012/09/moscow-warms-up-to-islamabad.html
 before the end of 2013: http://www.business-standard.com/india/news/its-official-gorshkov-gets-delayed-by-another-year/489248/
 scaling up: http://www.livemint.com/Politics/nITiODFk4FC4zQjY0pIUiM/India-US-should-scale-up-defence-ties-says-Menon.html
 diversifying its sources : http://www.worldcrunch.com/world-affairs/pakistan-and-russia-another-tricky-039-reset-039-with-global-consequences/india-central-asia-afghanistan-military/c1s9798/%22%20%5Cl%20%22.UHguuFHiJVZ
 netizens: https://twitter.com/ForcesFocus/status/253842191129124864
 rebalancing of relations: http://wrd.mydigitalfc.com/opinion/great-game-russia-steps-where-us-steps-out-reversal-1980%E2%80%99s-diplomacy-902
 moving ahead: http://rpdefense.over-blog.com/article-russia-and-india-sign-transport-plane-deal-111166655.html
 continue to be the number one: http://stardefense.blogspot.in/2012/10/autumn-review-of-russian-defence.html
 Image: http://isnblog.ethz.ch/
 first published: http://isnblog.ethz.ch/international-relations/new-realities-of-the-india-russia-defense-partnership
 here: http://isnblog.ethz.ch/category/global-voices
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