To Fight China, India Needs to Become “Atmanirbhar”, And Till Then Rely On Friends Like Russia, France And Israel
In late June, Raksha Mantri Rajnath Singh traveled to Moscow to attend the 75th Victory Day Parade that commemorated the defeat of Nazi Germany. During his visit, Singh also concluded an earlier negotiated deal to purchase fighter jets and other arms worth $2.4 billion. The accord followed an agreement reached last year for India to acquire Russia’s S-400 air defense missile system.
By concluding this deal which took place just after the deadly Galwan clash with the Chinese Army on LAC in Ladakh, India not only gave a message to the Chinese but also ignored the American tantrums and dared them to implement their oft repeated threat of something called CAATSA, an American law which has no value outside America.
This clearly shows India’s continued reliance on its all weather friend Russia and also full confidence in Russian weaponry even When there is no no dearth of opportunist suppliers, including the United States.
One of the principal reasons for India’s continued preference for Russians arms stems from from the fact that they have proved to be highly reliable right from 1965 War with Pakistan. Also Russians have been catering to various requirements of ours without political strings attached. They helped India establish its Submarine Arms when UK and USA ditched us after a big promise. Much later the Russians even leased us a nuclear SSGN, helped in development of missile and BRAHMOS, where as USA took lead in establishing MTCR and NSG. Russian MiG 21 became the mainstay of IAF and even on its last leg Shot Down the much touted American supplied F 16 of Pakistan. Today SU30 MKI, a world class fighter is the backbone of IAF fleet. Similarly Russian T72 and T90 lead the Indian Armoured assault and Russian ships have made the Indian Navy a formidable force in the Indian Ocean Region.
India Is Slowly moving on path of self reliance and has made some rapid progress in certain key areas. While modernizing it forces it has also sought to diversify its sources of supply, However for spare parts and upgrades Of All Russian origin Equipment India has to turn to Russia.
New Delhi also takes help of Moscow and two other highly reliable countries France and Israel because for USA, UK and few others political considerations come into play when India seeks to acquire weaponry. The Russians, French and Israel have on the other hand proved to be all weather friend are only too happy to provide India with top-grade weaponry.
U.S. weapons systems, which are claimed to be more sophisticated, have in the past been subject to congressional oversight and vagaries of American Department of State and Department of Defence. Apart from always trying to equate India with Pakistan,
they also try to coerce India with sanctions and other such threats.
There is also one other major factor that explains India’s reluctance to rely on the United States. This reluctance stems in considerable part from U.S. sales of sophisticated weaponry to Pakistan during much of the Cold War and even, on occasion, thereafter. Even though U.S.-Pakistan relations have noticeably cooled over the last several years, Indian misgivings about the past remain alive and well.
Since most of these issues are understandable, it may now be time for USA to recalculate its weapons supply strategies to India. During the Cold War, when India though relied on USSR, it never joined its Camp as such. The Soviet Union willingly supplied advanced weaponry at bargain-basement prices, it accepted Indian rupees in payment, and no strings were attached.
Similarly USA should never try and attach any strings to any weapon supply to India.It should treat India as an equal ally and not like other NATO members. It should also quit equating Pakistan with India forthwith. Also it should never try any threats on India of military or economic sanctions. Finally USA must be ready to supply what India is asking and not try and palm off second rate stuff like F16 in garb of F21.
As two largest democracies we can support each other against any threat to world peace