Despite US sanctions, India’s defense industry ordered two Talwar-class frigates which will be delivered to New Delhi in 2024. But could competition from the USA get in the way?
As part of a $2.2 billion deal with Moscow, the pair of warships, currently under construction at the Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad, will be delivered in two years.
Further more two additional frigates will be built domestically at India’s Goa Shipyard under a technology transfer agreement.
India’s naval ties with Russia can be traced back to the mid-1960s when, following the 1962 Indo-China war, the government embarked on a plan for defense modernization after suffering a humiliating defeat.
New Delhi’s efforts to solicit interest from the United States and Britain during the Cold War were largely unsuccessful, so India turned to the Soviet Union — sparking the rapid development of Indo-Soviet naval ties.
Soviet support during the 1971 war with Pakistan then firmly established Indo-Russian defense ties and paved the way for future cooperation.
In the 50 years since, India has received a Kiev-class combination cruiser and aircraft carrier, destroyers, stealth frigates, conventional and nuclear submarines, maritime reconnaissance aircraft and naval helicopters from Russia.
The nature of India’s defense cooperation with Russia has, therefore, also evolved from a simple ‘buyer-seller’ relationship to one of joint research, development and production of advanced technologies and systems.
For example take the BrahMos anti-ship missile. Regarded as the world’s fastest cruise missile, it is one of the major successes of this Indo-Russian research efforts.
Other joint ventures between Moscow and New Delhi include the development of fifth-generation fighter aircraft, as well as the domestic Indian production of the Kamov Ka-31 naval helicopter, T-90 tanks and Su-30MKI aircraft.
At the same time, India’s thriving shipbuilding industry has made leaps in design and construction. In an effort to keep pace with China’s rapidly advancing PLA Navy, India has aspirations to grow from 130 ships to become a 200-ship force by 2027.
Under that vision, the country will boast three carrier battle groups, 500 aircraft, and 24 submarines — six of them nuclear.
As the world’s leading importer of arms, India has been wooed by other major global suppliers and received offers of state-of-the-art defense equipment from Israel, France, the UK and the USA — all of which have been keen to promote strategic partnerships with New Delhi in the Indo-Pacific region.
The USA has also threatened India with sanctions over a major deal with Moscow to acquire a batch of S-400 missile defense systems, though it has not imposed any measures on New Delhi yet.
RT. com / ABC Flash Point News 2020.