Russia to further enhance defence relations with Pakistan including offer to sale Su 35 fighter jets: Report

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Russia to further enhance defence relations with Pakistan including offer to sale Su 35 fighter jets: Report

ISLAMABAD - Russia should develop defence ties with Pakistan in order to punish India for increasing defence relations with EU, Israel and the US, Experts have said, a local media outlet *reported link *on Sunday.

While India remains the largest buyer of Russian arms, it has diversified its sources of military equipment in recent years. This is perhaps best exemplified with the cancellation of the Russian-Indian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft programme (FGFA).

“We informed Russia that India is no longer a participant in this project, but at the same time we told the Russians that they could continue developing it on their own, and we could rejoin them at a later stage,” said Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in July.

Similarly, the Indian Airforce released a special report on the agreement.

“Having studied all aspects of this project, we came to conclusion that it does not meet our requirements, since the FGFA will not be able to create an aircraft that will be able to demonstrate the performance close to that of American fighters US F-22 and F-35,” read the report.

Indian officials had previously expressed strong dissatisfaction with the project owing to high cost and limited stealth technology.

“We do not want to offend the Indians, but I believe that against the backdrop of India’s hesitation about the project of the 5th generation fighter, Russia should promote the Su-35 fighter jet in Pakistan. Otherwise, Chinese, South Korean or even Turkish companies will take this market in about five years,” deputy director of the Russian Center for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies Konstantin Makienko told the Army Standard publication.

“India has removed all moral obligations from Russia with its behaviour, so Russia should get rid of self-restraint in its relations with Pakistan. In the past, we would often decline profitable contracts with Pakistan for the sake of India, but now we should follow our own interests of commercial profit,” he added.

However, experts doubt if Pakistan has the intention and the required resources to even purchase the jets. A potential sale to Pakistan would also further aggravate defence ties with India.

“Russia’s cooperation with India began back during the times of the Soviet Union. Orders from India and China had saved our military-industrial complex, and India always pays attention to how cooperation between Russia and Pakistan develops, considering this cooperation hazardous to its interests at times, Center for Strategic Studies Director Ivan Konovalov told Pravda.Ru, adding that pursuing defence relations with Pakistan would be too risky a proposition.

“Russia cooperates with Pakistan in the field of multipurpose helicopters Mi-8 and Mi-17, which is not a problem for India,” he said.

“There are American, French and Israeli companies operating on the Indian market. Russia takes about 23-25% of the Indian arms market, but India has been strengthening cooperation with other countries. Therefore, if India wants to act independently in the field of arms exports and imports, why should Russia limit her opportunities?” said Konovalov.

“Yet, there are political and military risks there, and Russia needs to decide which partner is more important. Russia and India failed to develop a fifth-generation fighter together. There was another joint project of a military transport aircraft that we could not implement either. Yet, Russia and India have successful joint projects in the development of tanks, missile technologies, aviation and naval equipment. There are many of such projects with India,” he added.

Konovalov said that many options exist for Russia to explore defence ties with Pakistan without raising concerns in New Delhi.

“There are many options for cooperation with Pakistan in the military sphere, but India is more important for Russia. Russia conducts military and technical cooperation with about 70 countries, and India is among the top. We have no contradictions with this country either in political, military-technical or ideological aspects,” he said.