The Indian armed forces are incapable of operating effectively without Russian-supplied weapons and equipment, according to The Economic Times, citing a report from American policy research institute Congressional Research Service (CSR).
The report revealed that many defense analysts from India and other nations think that the country’s continuing acquisition of Russian armaments remains “one of the few levers of influence” that India still possesses.
Furthermore, the influence of Russia on the armed forces of India allegedly comes through the willingness of Moscow to export high-powered weapon systems and technologies that no other nation would provide to India.
The report also noted that some Indian planners have seemingly concluded that the air defense systems being offered by the US as a replacement for Russian-made S-400s have fewer capabilities than the Russian defense system.
The CSR report comes ahead of US President Joe Biden’s decision whether or not to impose sanctions on India for purchasing Russian military equipment and violating the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act.
‘Largest Russian Arms Importer’
Since 2015, there has reportedly been a steady decline in Russian arms imports by India. However, the Asian nation remains the largest importer of Russian weaponry, accounting for nearly one-third of all Russian arms exports.
The CSR also indicated that Russia accounted for roughly half (49 percent) of Indian imports between 2016 and 2020.
“Four of the Navy’s 10 guided-missile destroyers are Russian Kashin class, and six of its 17 frigates are Russian Talwar class. The Navy’s sole nuclear-powered submarine is on lease from Russia, and eight of the service’s 14 other submarines are Russian-origin Kilo class,” the report pointed out.
Additionally, the report disclosed that the Indian Army’s main battle tank force is composed predominantly of Russian T-72M1 and T-90S. The Air Force’s 667-plane FGA fleet is also 71 percent Russian-origin.