Eight Indian Defence Programmes That Russian Invasion Of Ukraine Will Impact
Here are eight Indian defence programmes that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will impact.
The sanctions imposed by the US and the European Union on Russia will complicate India's defence imports from the country. Due to the fighting in Ukraine, the Russian defence-industrial complex will be focusing on meeting the needs of the country's defence forces. This means that the delivery of the equipment that India has already paid for may also get delayed, although there is little clarity on this at the moment.
Moreover, Russia's invasion of Ukraine also complicates India's defence relationship with Ukraine, which has not received much attention in media commentary. Although relatively small, India's defence ties with Ukraine are critical for both existing equipment and new systems. Whether the Ukrainian defence industry will survive the Russian invasion is a question no one has an answer to, except maybe the Kremlin.
Here are eight programmes that Russia's invasion of Ukraine will impact:
1) AK-203 Assault Rifles
In December 2021, India and Russia signed an agreement to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles at a new facility in Amethi's Korwa. Under the deal, which is worth Rs 5,124 crore, 601,427 of the 7.63x39mm assault rifles were to be procured for the Indian Army to replace the INSAS. However, the programme is already behind schedule and is likely to be delayed further due to the Russia-Ukraine war.
In October 2018, India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia to buy five S-400 air defence missile systems. The first unit, which was delivered by Russia last year, is being operationalised in the Punjab sector. The delivery of the remaining units of S-400 and support for their operationalisation could be delayed due to the war.
3) INS Chakra
In 2019, India and Russia had signed a $3 billion deal for a 10-year lease for the new nuclear-powered attack submarine or SSN. This boat has to be delivered to India by 2025. Given that the Russian SSN that India had leased and commissioned in 2012 was returned in 2021, India is now without a nuclear-power attack submarine for approximately four years. As India is building its own fleet of SSNs, it urgently needs a platform it can train its crew on and deploy for operations.
No other country except Russia is likely to lease India an SSN, least of all the United States, which has been pushing India to reduce its dependence on Russian defence equipment. Last year, the US and the United Kingdom had signed a deal with Australia to provide SSNs to the country.
4) An-32 Upgrade
In 2009, India had signed a $397 million contract with Ukraine to upgrade 105 An-32 aircraft of the Indian Air Force, which were approaching the end of their 25-year service life. The AN-32s form the backbone of the IAF's medium-lift transport fleet. While 45 aircraft were to be upgraded in Ukraine, the remaining were to be upgraded in India. Already running behind schedule, the programme will now come to a halt.
5) Grigorovich-Class Frigates
India may also face difficulty in the operationalisation of the four Grigorovich-class frigates (Project 11356) purchased from Russia as the boats are to be equipped with Ukrainian gas turbines. Ukraine banned the supply of gas turbines to Moscow after Russia invaded and subsequently annexed Crimea in 2014. In 2016, India negotiated an agreement with Ukraine under which it would buy the gas turbines and spare parts from Kyiv and transport them to Russia to be fitted onto these frigates. (Read: How India Got The Warships That Russia Was Building For Its Navy)
The Defence Acquisition Council approved the procurement of 21 MiG-29 jets for the Indian Air Force from Russia. These aircraft, which were lying mothballed in Russia, are to be upgraded to the latest standard before entering service. However, there has been no progress on this acquisition since the approval was granted to this project in July 2020.
Along with the approval for the purchase of these aircraft, the government had also approved the upgradation of the 59 MiG-29s in service.
Both these projects are likely to get delayed due to the war.
7) Su-30 MKI
Along with the approval for MiG-29s, the Narendra Modi government had also given the go-ahead for the purchase of 12 Su-30 MKIs to replace the aircraft lost in accidents over the years. A deal is yet to be signed for the procurement of these fighters from Russia.
8) Ka-226T Utility Helicopters
The Ka-226T project has not made much progress for years due to disagreements between India and Russia over issues linked to the transfer of technology and indigenisation. While there is speculation that the project will be shelved, a formal decision is still pending. The delay that the war is likely to cause may act as the final blow for the project.
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