DefExpo India traditionally becomes a major ground for
demonstrating Russia’s military industry’s 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.
Rosoboronexport’s 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
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.
The 21st India and Russia annual summit on 6th December 2021 and Russian
President Vladimir Putin’s visit to Delhi was in the focus of the Indian media,
with both mainstream and professional military editions covering the issue in
The Financial Express’s 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 Russia’s arms exports between 2016-2020 were to India», -
wrote the Financial Express.
The newspaper quoted Rosoboronexport’s 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.
Hindu’s 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 WION’s 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 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 Russia’s 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.