India says Russia struggles to meet arms delivery commitments

According to the latest study by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute [SIPRI], the Russian arms industry lost export market share between the periods 2013-17 and 2018-22. And if, in this area, Russia has lost ground compared to the United States, it risks being overtaken by France, the latter having seen its market share increase by 44%.

This trend could be accentuated in the years to come. Indeed, in the years to come, Moscow’s priority should focus on replacing the equipment of its armed forces destroyed during the war in Ukraine, even if it means gaining export market share.

In addition, countries tempted to buy Russian equipment could be dissuaded from placing an order by the threat of sanctions, such as that which the United States authorizes itself to take via the so-called CAATSA law. [Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act]. This device has, for example, “spoiled” the sale of 11 Su-35 fighter-bombers to Indonesia… Which has also benefited the Rafale from French Dassault Aviation.

However, the threat of possible US sanctions has not deterred New Delhi from procuring five Russian S-400 Triumph air defense batteries for $5.43 billion… United to take a measure likely to cool their relations with India, in particular because of its rivalry with China and the importance of its arms market.

Indeed, and according to the SIPRI study, India remains “the largest arms importer in the world”, even if its imports fell by 11% between 2013-17 and 2018-22 under the effect of the “Make in India” policy and… the complexity of its supply processes. And the Russian arms industry is the main supplier of Indian forces.

That said, and despite the purchase of S-400s, this position is seriously eroding, New Delhi having undertaken to diversify its sources of supply, which benefits American and, above all, French manufacturers. “France has supplanted the United States as India’s second largest arms supplier, after Russia,” noted the Swedish institute.

If the armaments industry has so far managed to maintain this first place in India, it is partly thanks to the logistical support of the equipment already delivered, in particular the combat aircraft [MiG-29, Su-30 MKI, etc]. But that might not last… especially if delivery times are not met.

However, this is precisely what the Indian Air Force criticizes [IAF] to Russian industrialists. “Due to the war in Ukraine, Russia is unable to deliver vital equipment that it had pledged to provide,” she said in a statement sent to the Indian Parliament this week. . And to mention, without giving details, a “major delivery” planned for 2023 which “will ultimately not take place”.

It is possible that it is an S-400 battery – two of the five ordered have yet to be delivered – or a batch of spare parts for the Su-30 MKI, of which the IAF has nearly 250 copies. In any case, because of these supply difficulties linked to the war in Ukraine, the latter reduced the amount of its investments dedicated to its modernization by a third compared to the previous budget year.

Another reason likely to push New Delhi to increasingly turn away from the Russian arms industry in the coming years is Moscow’s desire to significantly strengthen its relationship with Beijing, as shown this week , the meeting between the head of the Kremlin, Vladimir Putin and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping.