New Delhi Russian president
Vladimir Putin’s brief layover in New Delhi before this week for the 21st periodic bilateral India-Russia peak, alongside the demoiselle 2 2 dialogue between the separate foreign and defence ministers, was marked more by what was neglected than the raft of 28 varied pacts that were mutually agreed upon.

This was particularly true of multitudinous defence deals and at least one major security agreement, all of which are moreover in an advanced state of concession, or nearing check, but failed to make the final cut on December 6.

Ultimately, still, just two military pacts were inked at the initial‘2 2 dialogue’ ahead of the peak meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Also read India Raises Military Stand-Off With China at First‘2 Plus 2’ Dialogue With Russia

Of these, the further publicised deal, worth Rs5.124 crore, was to acquire and certify- make Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles for India’s service at a government- possessed installation at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

The other was an agreement to renew, for the alternate time, the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC- M&MTC), till 2031.

Manufacture of AK-203 assault rifles

The contract to locally manufacture AK-2037.62 x45mm rifles via a transfer of technology, which was originally agreed under an Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) in 2019, will be executed by the Indo-Russian Private Limited (IRPL) common adventure (JV).

AK-203 assault rifle. Photo Rosonboronexport website.

The state- run Advanced Munitions and Equipment India Limited and Munitions India Limited, sculpted out lately from the disbanded Ordnance Factory Board, concertedly enjoy the maturity50.5 stake in IRPL; Kalashnikov has a 42 share in the JV, while Russia’s defence import agency Rosonboronexport holds the remaining7.5 in the assault rifle design.

Assiduity officers said that under the deal India would, over the coming many months, take delivery of some AK-203’s imported directly from Russia for$ each to meet the Indian Army’s (IAs) critical functional conditions. These rifles would condense AK-203’s which India had agreed to import from Russia in August 2021 for Rs 324 crore.

Still, series rifle product at the Korwa factory, which was inaugurated in early 2019, is likely to begin in the New Year, with IRPL needed to begin indigenising factors andsub-systems for the AK-203’s within 18 months later.

India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation

The IRIGC- M&MTC, on the other hand, that was extended for a decade, serves to grease military commerce between Moscow and Delhi. It's of vital significance to India, as over 60 of nearly all platforms operated by its three services were of Soviet or Russian origin, or both.

Introduced in 2000, the periodic IRIGC- M&MTC meets alternatively held in Delhi and Moscow have, over the times, proved salutary to both sides in resolving different military outfit- related issues, especially with regard to reserves and after deals conservation.

Also read At First Summit in 2 Times, India and Russia Will Take Forward Defence Ties, Try to Bridge Differences
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“ Putin’s much-hyped visit failed to deliver substantial results from India’s star material supplier,” said Amit Cowshish, former fiscal counsel to the ministry of defence (MoD) on accessions. This was despite a host of military procurements that had formerly been finalised but remained inconclusive, he added.

Pending contracts

In 2018, for case, India’s MoD had approved the$1.5 billion purchase of Russian 9K338 Igla-S (SA-24 Grinch) man-portable veritably short- range defence systems (VSHORADS) for the Indian Army to plug functional gaps for army units.

The MoD’s Defence Acquisition Council, headed by defence minister Rajnath Singh, had sanctioned the procurement of Igla dumdums and 800 launchers. Of these dumdums were to have been imported directly, 1260 acquired in tackle form for assembling locally by the state- possessed Bharat Dynamics Limited (BDL) in Hyderabad and the remainder licence- produced by it.

Before, Russia’s KB Mashinostroyeniya (KBM) Igla-S had surfaced as L1, or smallest endeavor of three VSHORADS merchandisers, contending for the 2010 tender that included France’s MBDA with its Mistral model and Sweden’s Saab contending its RBS 70NG interpretation.

Other pending contracts include the 2015 Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) to acquire and locally make 200 Kamov Ka-226T‘Hoodlum’ light mileage copters (LUHs) for the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the Army Aviation Corps (AAC). This IGA had imaged the import of 60 Ka-226’s off the shelf and the licensed product of another 140 by the state- possessed Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to urgently replace heritage LUHs that were being operated by the IAF and the AAC since themid-1960s with near-disastrous consequences.

But differences over price and technology transfer issues had remitted the deal, and elderly assiduity officers lately told The Wire that India’s MoD was now “ seriously considering” exercising the option to simply acquire 60 Ka-226Ts in cover- down condition and anteceding their licensed product.

They said that HAL remained “ unintentional” to launch the Ka-226T assembly line at its Tumkur installation near Bangalore, as it would compete its locally designed, albeit long- delayed LUH that had entered its original functional concurrence (IOC) from the Centre for Military Airworthiness and Instrument (CEMILAC) before this time.

Later, the MoD had lately approved the series manufacture of 12 LUHs – six each for the IAF and the AAC – to ultimately replace the in- service licence- erected Cheetah (Aerospatiale SA 315B Lama) and Chetak (Alouette III) rotary platforms that demanded ultramodern avionics and were agonized by poor utility and a high accident rate.

Also read It’s Not Enough to Denounce India’s Defence Procurements. We Need Feasible Alternatives.

HAL anticipates orders for at least 187 of its LUHs – 126 for the AAC and 61 for the IAF – and sanctioned sources said was “ amenable” to the MoD acquiring 60 Ka-226T’s as a “ stop gap” measure till it ramped up product of the indigenous platforms.

The IAF has also been in prolonged accommodations with Russia to land an fresh squadron of 21 binary- machine MiG-29 fighters that were lying in an “ unassembled and mothballed” state for around Rs 60 billion and 12 redundant HAL- erected Su-30MKI’s as reserves for an equal number lost in accidents in recent times.

Once acquired, these 21 MiG-29s would condense three squadrons of 60 MiG-29 Fulcrum-A aircraft-52 single- seat and eight binary- seat fighters – which were instated into the IAF 1986 onwards. These fighters are presently witnessing an upgrade to MiG-29M situations at the IAF’s Base Repair Depot in Nasik, western India, under a Rs crore programme agreed with Russia in 2008.

Accommodations for the add-on MiG-29s comes at a time when the IAF is facing a severe drawdown in its fighter squadrons, from a sanctioned strength of 42 to lower than 30 squadrons. Likewise, consecutive Defence Parliamentary Panels had in recent times advised the MoD that if the IAF didn't “ fleetly” inaugurate fresh fighters, its combat squadron strength would decline further to around 25-27 squadrons by 2022. The IAF is poised to imminently retire 10-12 squadrons of MiG-21‘Bis’ ground attack fighters and an undetermined number of geriatric Jaguar SEPECAT platforms, further cheapening its air combat equality with regard to nuclear rivals Pakistan and China.

India is also believed to have concluded conversations for leasing yet another Design 971‘Akula’ (Schuka-B)- class nuclear-powered submarine (SSN) for the Indian Navy, in addition to the one it had hired in March 2019 for 10 times for$ 3 billion and which is listed for delivery in 2025.

Before, in June 2021 the indian
Navy had returned a analogous SSN to Russia, some 10 months before its$ 1 billion parcel was set to end due basically to conservation issues. Transnational covenants prohibit the trade of SSNs, but plats are permitted handed the boats aren't fitted with dumdums with ranges of over 300 km.
During Putin’s visit, the two sides also failed to decide the long-awaited Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), permitting both colors to pierce logistics and support installations at each other’s bases and anchorages. RELOS has been awaiting check since 2019.

“ The tentativeness and caution displayed by the two sides in attesting material deals wereun-anticipated,” said a two- star Indian Navy officer. This is despite the reality that Russia will remain India’s star defence outfit supplier for decades to come, despite Delhi diversifying its procurements from countries like France, Israel and the US, he added, declining to be named.

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