In what could bring further dynamism in India-Russia military relations, a unique mutual military logistics support agreement is being discussed between the two countries. In August, Russia had proposed such an agreement to New Delhi, sources told The Tribune.
The agreement is likely to come up for discussion at the high-level summit tomorrow when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin sit down for talks with their delegations.
If agreed upon, it will replicate what the Indo-US Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) facilitates. The LEMOA allows use of each other military facilities like ports to seek repairs, fuel, logistics etc.
With India and Russia operating so many common-origin platforms like warships, submarines, fighter jets and tanks, it makes more sense and it will help in servicing of equipment at various locations in Russia. And also in the reverse it will help Russians seek such facilities at Indian repair depots.
Besides, the Defence Ministry is busy giving touches to various projects that are pending with Russia. This could define India’s reliance, or some say, military balance between US and Russia. Moscow is the single largest supplier of weapons and military equipment to India.
The Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), had on March 12 released its annual report “Trends in international arms transfers”. Making an assessment for a five-year block (2013-2017) it said, Russia accounted for 62 per cent of India’s arms imports.
India and Russia are set to ink the S-400 “Triumph” air defence missile systems, despite the US threat to impose sanctions under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). India has told the US that the Act is a US law and it does not apply to India. The CAATSA is designed to impose sanctions on countries that have military relations with Russia.
The impending purchase of state-of-the art S-400 Russian air defence missile system, costing Rs 39,000 crore, is at the heart of the present threat of sanctions.
The S-400 missile system can track some 300 targets and shoot down around three dozen targets simultaneously over a range of 400 km. Besides the S-400, the two countries are looking at inking deal for four warships, additional Mi-17V-5 helicopters and also the joint venture between Kamov and HAL to make 200 Ka-226T helicopters. The licensed production of AK 103 assault rifles could also come up with the Ordnance Factories Board (OFB) being the partner in India.