New Delhi: Russia has intensified the attacks on cities in Ukraine and India has rightly focused on the safe evacuation of its nationals and students from the war-torn country. In the long run, however, India will have to think about risks involved in depending on a range of defence supplies from Russia which is facing global sanctions.
It is a wake-up call for India to think about its dependency on Russia in civil and military areas, including fighter aircraft, submarines and other systems.
India-Russia defence cooperation has widened as well as deepened over the past few years. With Ukraine too, India has an ongoing programme for up-gradation of AN-32 transport aircraft which are being used by the Indian Air Force. In a scenario of war and conflict, uncertainty has gripped the defence sector and supplies and deliveries to India are most likely to be adversely hit.
India also faces the prospect of sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) as Washington has not taken kindly with the S-400 deal. Deliveries of S-400 began last December and are said to be still underway but uncertainty over adhering to the timeline appears to have set in.
Defence trade of India with Russia has crossed 15 billion dollars since last four or five years and India has nearly 60 per cent of its military inventory which is of Russian origin.
In this scenario, deliveries in the defence sector face a certain delay and India also faces the threat of sanctions from the U.S.