India aims to part ways with Russian weaponry and create distance from Moscow. However, New Delhi is concerned that this move might push Moscow closer to China.
As the publication notes, the world’s largest arms importer is gradually moving away from Russian weaponry and turning towards the West. Additionally, the U.S. seeks to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region, aiming to counter China’s growth and diminish Russia’s influence.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, Russia supplied 65% of the weaponry India purchased, totaling over $60 billion, over the past two decades. However, the conflict in Ukraine accelerated India’s push to diversify its arms base.
Russia, in turn, publicly calls for cooperation with India. Still, India aims to bolster domestic production. Last year, India and the U.S. signed a defense deal, including joint production of engines for fighter jets.
Reuters notes that New Delhi will have to “walk a fine line” in its relations with Russia, as ending cooperation may bring Moscow closer to Beijing.
“Arms purchase buys you influence,” said a retired Indian official.
Experts highlight that India remains concerned about Russia’s ability to continue supplying military equipment amid the prolonged conflict in Ukraine.
It’s worth noting that since the beginning of Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine, the Indian government declared its neutral position on the war. Publicly, India neither condemned Russia’s aggression nor supported it.
According to reports, during the war period, India strengthened its trade ties with Russia, particularly in the oil sector, amid Western sanctions against Moscow.
However, last year, India announced its intention to jointly develop a so-called “peace plan” for Ukraine with France.