India and Russia have recently concluded high-level talks on bilateral trade and key defence projects to which both nations are seriously committed. The Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin along with his delegation was in India and held talks regarding the BrahMos missile as well as the delivery of the refurbished INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier. The two sides have also discussed the ongoing cooperation in supply of defence hardware and issues related to it.
During the visit by Russia’s Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, the issue of BrahMos missile was discussed with the Indian Defence Minister AK Antony. Russia has stated that it will start taking deliveries of the BrahMos missile which is being jointly developed by the two nations. While Russia has indicated that it will induct BrahMos into its armed forces, India has already placed an order worth around $ 3 billion for the missiles.
The Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin also visited the BrahMos complex in New Delhi where he was briefed about the different versions of the BrahMos cruise missiles and their capabilities. While the BrahMos missiles has been inducted into Indian Navy and land forces, Russia still has to induct it into its Navy.
With Indo-Russian defence ties getting hampered due to inconsistency in delivery and cost escalations by Russia, India has categorically told Russia to hand over the refurbished INS Vikramaditya by this December. During a meeting between Defence Minister AK Antony and visiting Russian deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin, India has demanded that Russia must stick to the delivery schedule of the aircraft carrier.
At present, aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya has gone on sea trials after a refit at Russian shipyards and is now expected to be ready for delivery by December this year. The delivery of the aircraft carrier is already three years late. In 2012, India agreed to pay Russia $ 2.33 billion for it’s the refitting after three years of ambiguity in the price quote. The earlier agreement in 2004 had earmarked only $974 million for it. India is also buying 45 carrier-borne MiG-29K naval fighters at a cost of around $2 billion from Russia.
Russia has been India’s biggest defence supplier and currently its bilateral defence projects with India are worth an estimated $15 billion. The two countries are working on co-development programmes such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project, Multirole Transport Aircraft (MRTA) and warship building projects.
While India inducts Russian weapons worth around $ 1.5 billion from Russia annually, Russia may be losing its monopoly in the Indian market as it has failed to adhere to delivery schedules, resorted to unreasonable cost escalations midway through deals and given poor spares support to India. Hence, India has turned to the international market to meet its defence needs as well as maintenance of the equipment brought from Russia.