The big debate in India these days is about Russia’s growing relations with Pakistan. The military exercise, & then news about Russia becoming a partner in the CPEC. During the recent Heart of Asia conference the Russian delegation was asked to comment on both these matters, & it did answer.
Senior Russian diplomat & President Putin’s envoy to Afghanistan Zamir Kabulov said, “Russia has a different history with Pakistan. We are trying to explore cooperation with Pakistan primarily to counter terror. But Russia’s ties with Pakistan will not be at the cost of our special & privileged strategic partnership with India. This has been explained by our highest leadership to India’s topmost leadership.”
Recently the Pakistani media ran a report that Russia had become a part of the CPEC along with Pakistan & China, & had been allowed the use of the Gwadar Port. This claim of the Pakistani media was denied by the Russian foreign ministry. Kabulov said, “I myself drafted that rebuff. I am also in charge of South Asia desk in the Russian foreign ministry & I am not aware of it. I do not know from where the suggestion to use either Gwadar or CPEC emerged. There is no such proposal.
“Russia-Pakistan military ties are commercial in nature. With India our military partnership is deep & we offer long credit to India for acquiring military supplies. Therefore the nature of the two relationships is different.” He also said that ties with Pakistan will not be at the cost of India.
Brief History of India-Russia military ties
- By 1960 India had received more military assistance from the Soviet Union than China.
- In 1962 the Soviet Union transferred technology to co-produce the Mikoyan-Gurevich MiG-21 fighter jet which had earlier been denied to China.
- As a guarantee against possible Chinese entrance into the 1971 War, India & the Soviet Union signed the ‘Indo-Soviet Treaty of Friendship & Cooperation’.
- In 1997 India & Russia signed a 10-year agreement for further military-technical cooperation.
- Some joint military programmes include –
- BrahMos missile programme
- 5th gen fighter jet programme
- Sukhoi Su-30MKI programme
- Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
- Some major purchases/leases by India include –
- 12 S-400 Triumf
- 200 Kamov Ka-226 to be made under ‘Make in India’
- Over 1000 T-90S Bhishma to be built in India
- Leased Akula-II nuclear submarine
- INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier
- $900 million upgrade of MiG-29
- Joint military exercises –
- INDRA – It is a joint, bi-annual naval exercise started in 2003. It involves live firing drills as well as air defence & anti-submarine operations. It also focuses on counterpiracy, terrorism, & drug-smuggling operations.
- Avia-INDRA – It is an annual exercise conducted by the air forces of the two nations. The objective is to improve operational interoperability. Aircrafts used are – Su-30MKIs, Su-30SMs, MiG-21s, Mi-17 & Mi-35 helicopters.
– Vinayak Jain