Russia-India military cooperation through the lenses of the Indian media
Russia-India military cooperation through the lenses of the Indian media
DefExpo India traditionally becomes a major ground for demonstrating Russias military industrys latest developments in different domains. For Moscow and Delhi it is a perfect ground for discussion of the on-going and future programs. Russia is the major defense partner of India with large-scale military projects (unequalled by other countries) unleashed by Moscow and Delhi in the past years.

Rosoboronexports Director General Alexander Mikheev: Russia and India have been maintaining and building up mutually beneficial strategic partnership. Military and technical cooperation between our countries is expanding every year. It is very important for us to have such a strong and reliable partner on the global stage as India. Rosoboronexport is ready to cooperate with India in all areas.

The prospects and developments in Russia-India military cooperation are being constantly assessed and analyzed by both mainstream and specialized military media and expert community of India. Here is an overview of the latest coverage.

Delhi summit

The 21st India and Russia annual summit on 6th December 2021 and Russian President Vladimir Putins visit to Delhi was in the focus of the Indian media, with both mainstream and professional military editions covering the issue in details.

The Financial Expresss Huma Siddiqui delivered a large bilateral military cooperation analysis in the article India and Russia Military Trade touches USD 15 bn in three years; Expected to grow more .

At the end of the 21st India and Russia annual summit on Monday, both sides inked more than two dozen agreements and MoUs covering a wide range of sectors including extension of 10-year defense cooperation pact. Four defence related agreements and protocols were inked at the end of bilateral talks between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart from Russia. The military trade with Russia since 2018 has touched almost USD 15 billion and is expected to go up as there are several other projects which are being discussed and many have been implemented, - wrote the Financial Express.

Briefing the media at the end of the summit, Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla said The agreements and MoUs show the multi-faceted nature of our bilateral partnership and cover a wide range of areas like energy, science and technology, education, intellectual property and trade. At the end of talks, a joint-statement issued indicated that the two leaders Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi agreed to upgrade the defence cooperation, stressed the Financial Express. Both countries agreed to facilitate joint development and production of military equipment, enhancing the after sales service, recognition of quality control, components and spare parts, and regular joint exercises of the Armed Forces.

Compared to the US, Russia remains the number one arms supplier to India. According to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), 23 percent of Russias arms exports between 2016-2020 were to India, - wrote the Financial Express.

The newspaper quoted Rosoboronexports Director General Alexander Mikheev who named the five largest deliveries since 2000: Smerch multiple rocket launchers; Mi-17V-5 helicopters; Project 11356 frigates; supply and licensed production of T-90S tanks, and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya.

In the defence field, India and Russia are conducting joint research work on more than 100 promising topics, added the Financial Express.

Defenseworld.net published the large overview of the Russia-India projects, including the detailed presentation of the Sprut-SDM1 light tank project .

Rosoboronexport, with the Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank, will definitely take part in the Indian tender for the supply of light tanks and will even offer the transfer of technology and, quite possibly, the localization of production of some units and components. The Sprut-SDM1 light amphibious tank is the only light amphibious combat vehicle in its class that has firepower of a main battle tank and is equipped with a 125 mm cannon. All the ammunition produced in India for use with T-72M1 and T-90-S tanks can be used for the Sprut -SDM1, which is unrivaled throughout the world. It can overcome water obstacles and at the same time fire the main armament, disembark from a ship, operate day and night on terrain that is impassable for other similar vehicles high in the mountains in a rarefied air environment, at very high and low temperatures. This tank is of great interest to the countries with difficult geographical conditions (water barriers, swamps and mountains). The vehicle is equipped with a guided missile system designed to defeat armored targets, including those equipped with ERA, at ranges up to 5 km, - quoted the Defenseworld.net Alexander Mikheev.

Kalashnikov rifles for India

The long-awaited deal to organize the licensed manufacturing of AK203 assault rifles in India was signed on the day of the Russia-India summit in Delhi. Hindus Dinakar Peri dedicated to the contract the full-scale production of AK-203 rifles in India in 2-3 years . He quoted the Kalashnikov spokesperson Maria Vorobyeva saying, that the company was ready to start producing the AK-203 assault rifles in India in the upcoming months.

The Hindu underlined, that since 2019, Russian and Indian specialists have completed a huge amount of preparatory work to optimize the price and tech parameters of the contract.

The project was announced by Indian PM Modi and the Russian President in 2019 and aims to produce huge numbers of these rifles that will ultimately become part of the Indian security forces' essentials. The joint program also opens the possibility of rifles being exported to other countries. The AK-203 is the advanced version of the Kalashnikov assault rifle family, the first of which was the legendary AK-47. The AK-203 can be equipped with accessories like sights and flashlights and has been successfully tested under extreme heat and cold conditions, - reported WIONs Sidhant Sibal in the article Made in Amethi' Kalashnikovs: Russia says ready to train Indian specialist for AK-203 project .

India and Russia in 2019 signed an intergovernmental agreement for setting up Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited a joint venture to manufacture the AK-203 assault rifles. The project will see a production of Russia's iconic assault rifles being produced in India with 100% localization.

WION added, that AK-200 series assault rifles were showcased at the Army-2021 International Military-Technical Forum in Russia earlier this year, and aroused great interest among potential customers from different regions of the world with Rosoboronexport already having signed contracts for the supply of the latest AK-200 series assault rifles.

The Financial Express elaborated on the general prospects of the Russian-Indian potential cooperation in the field of small arms .

Ahead of the inauguration of the Army 2021 Expo in Moscow on Sunday, Rosoboronexport JSC expressed its readiness to offer to India the whole range of small arms and light weapons, including assault rifles, machine guns, sniper rifles, submachine guns, pistols, grenade launchers etc All what is being offered to India have been tested and are known for their reliability, and lots of these weapons have proven their effectiveness in real combat use. Russia has also developed technical means to train small arms use, which can be integrated into a joint virtual environment to conduct full-scale training sessions, - wrote the Financial Express.


The Army-2021 International Military and Technical Forum expo in Russia also found significant coverage in the Indian media. NDTV described the Indian national pavilion at the forum . It reported, that the India Pavilion at the Army forum was inaugurated by Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar and Indian Ambassador DB Venkatesh Verma.

The Aviation Defense Universe listed the Indian military products exhibited at the ARMY show .

The cutting edge designs and developments from DRDO are translated into state of the art products and systems through a large industry base consisting of various public and private industries, in line with the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat. With defence systems developed in India finding success in export market, ARMY-2021 will reinforce the strength and marketability of these products in the global arena, - stressed the Aviation Defense Universe.

The Hindu published an interview with Head of International Cooperation and Regional Policy of Rostec state corporation Victor Kladov .

Russia had been undertaking joint projects and technology transfer much before India announced the Make in India initiative, Mr. Kladov said, while acknowledging that competition was getting very much stronger in the last few years from countries like the U.S., France and Israel among others. So Russia had taken several measures like improving quality of equipment, setting up joint ventures (JV), undertaking technology transfer, and spares and support among others, he stated, wrote the Hindu.

The newspaper also published a large interview with Indian Ambassador to Russia Venkatesh Varma .

We are pleased that Russia is responding positively to our suggestion that key servicing facilities, such as servicing of Russian-origin engines, aircraft, and other equipment be established in India. We are also implementing the Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 2019 for creating joint ventures for the manufacture of spare parts of Russian-origin equipment in India for our Armed Forces. Some RFPs have been issued and we intend to take these forward. We have also invited our Russian partners to partake of the opportunities in the two defence corridors - in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu With regard to ongoing projects, we are getting additional T-90s for the Army; additional top-up numbers of the Sukhoi-30 MKIs and the MiG-29s for our Air Force. Ongoing cooperation in other areas including high technology areas of long term strategic importance is continuing; not only continuing, it is deepening, - said the Ambassador.

Zee News covered the ARMY-2021 in details. One of the stories was dedicated to the brand-new Kalashnikov S-8L missile with HEF warhead .

The advanced 80-mm S-8L guided missile with HEF warhead is designed to engage single and group ground targets, both stationary and moving. The S-8L is launched from the helicopters and aircrafts using the B8V20 or B8M1 rocket launchers. The firing range of the rocket is up to 6 km. It can effectively engage lightly-armoured targets. At the ARMY-2021 forum, the rocket will be demonstrated integrated with a helicopter-type UAV. Moreover, the Kalashnikov Group and the cooperation companies are currently seeking opportunities to apply the air-launched guided missile Vikhr-1 using various types of carriers, - reported Zee News.

Milestone for BrahMos project

The first foreign contract for the Russian-Indian BrahMos supersonic cruise missile expectedly made significant news for the Indian media. Philippines signed a deal with BrahMos Aerospace Private Ltd for the supply of shore-based anti-ship variant of the BrahMos missile.

Terming the contract history in the making, Indian Ambassador in Philippines Shambhu Kumaran, who physically represented the Indian side at the event, said on social media that they were today one step closer to elevating ties between the two democracies "to a strategic partnership and our shared objective of a free and peaceful Indo-Pacific. It is also a moment of deep pride as India establishes itself as a source of high-technology equipment and a trusted partner towards capability development of friendly nations, Mr. Kumaran said on Twitter, - reported the Hindu newspaper .

Several countries have shown interest in acquiring the BrahMos missile, added the Hindu.

The 290 km range supersonic missile has been jointly developed with Russia and is produced in India... Announcing the signing of the agreement, the defence ministry said the contract is an important step forward in the policy of promoting responsible defence exports, - reported the Economic Times .

Reacting to BrahMos's export order, DRDO chairman G Satheesh Reddy said, quoted by the Business Standard: "Surface to air missile Akash, Astra, anti-tank missiles, radars, torpedoes gain the interest of various countries. More systems are being developed which have export potential .

BrahMos is a joint venture between DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) and Russias NPO Mashinostroyeniya (forms part of the Tactical Missile Corporation) and the missile derives its name from the Brahmaputra and Moskva rivers. It is capable of being launched from land, sea, sub-sea and air against surface and sea-based targets and has for long been inducted by the Indian armed forces.

With regard to Russian engagement with the Make in India program, let us first recall that Brahmos program is the first example of a Make in India program that has produced a product that is of the highest global standards. Our services have acquired a Brahmos variant; we are also actively looking at exports to third countries, - said Venkatesh Varma in his Hindu interview.

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At the long-awaited ArmHiTech-2022 exhibition in Yerevan Russia and other countries CSTO present the best and maximum effective weapons and defense innovations
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