India makes a strategic shift away from Russia over militarty weapons procurement
India is aiming to distance itself from its primary arms supplier, Russia, due to challenges in Russia's ability to provide munitions and spares caused by the Ukraine war. However, Indian sources emphasize the need for cautious navigation to prevent strengthening Russia's ties with China.
As the largest arms importer globally, India is gradually shifting towards the West, aligning with the United States in bolstering Indo-Pacific relationships. This strategic move seeks to diminish India's historical reliance on Russia and, in turn, contain China's growing influence in the region.
Over the last two decades, Russia has supplied 65% of India's weapons purchases, totaling more than $60 billion, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. The conflict in Ukraine has accelerated India's determination to diversify its weapons procurement.
Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Russia expert at the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, asserts that India is unlikely to engage in significant military deals with Russia, as doing so would be perceived as a red line for Washington.
Despite Moscow's offers, including advanced platforms like Kamov helicopters and Sukhoi/MiG fighter jets with potential joint manufacturing in India, the sentiment remains steadfast. Anonymous sources, including a recently retired senior security official, express these views, emphasizing the sensitivity of the matter.
While Russia has publicly encouraged India to enhance defense ties, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shifting his focus toward domestic production, leveraging Western technology—a significant departure from the traditional reliance on Russian arms. Both the foreign and defense ministries of India and Russia have not provided comments on this evolving scenario.