India, Russia Talk Defence Ties
Image Credit: Government of India

India, Russia Talk Defence Ties


The relationship between India and Russia has changed significantly since the end of the Cold War, but there’s one area in which ties have remained virtually unbroken – defence cooperation.

India, with a defence budget for the current year of Rs. 1.5 trillion ($32.5 billion), imports more than 70 percent of its arms, the vast majority of which come from Russia. It’s against this backdrop that Indian Navy Chief Adm. Nirmal Verma recently concluded a visit to Russia following an invitation from Adm. Vladimir Sergeivich Vysotskiy, commander-in-chief of the Russian Navy.

Verma’s visit was only the latest in a series of high-level meetings between top defence personnel and leaders from both countries, and followed a visit by Vysotskiy to India in January.

During his trip, Verma took in Moscow, St. Petersburg, Vladivostok, Kaliningrad and Severodvinsk, and engaged with numerous senior Russian officials including Deputy Defence Minister A. Antonov. Verma also visited design bureaus and shipyards engaged in constructing ships for the Indian Navy.

According to the Indian Navy, Verma ‘reviewed the progress of the Talwar Class follow-on warships, under construction at the Yantar shipyard, and was reassured that the first warship “Teg” would commence trials shortly and be delivered in six to eight months.’The new frigates in this class, namely ‘Teg,’ ‘Teer’ and ‘Trikand’ are follow-ons of the three Talwar Class warships built for India by Russia and brought into service in the early part of the last decade. With the new ships, the Russian-origin Klub missiles would be replaced by the indigenous BRAHMOS supersonic cruise missile system.

During his visit to the Sevmash Shipyard, where the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov is being retrofitted, Verma noted that ‘significant progress had been made on the Gorshkov project and the ship was shaping up well for the preliminary sea trials.’ A press release by the Indian Navy also noted that Verma ‘made a first-hand assessment of all projects,’ adding that ‘they were progressing satisfactorily and had reached critical stages of maturity.’ He also expressed satisfaction with the quality of construction and repairs, and told Russian media that the Russian Mig 29KUB fighter jet designed for the Gorshkov was sound, claiming that the recent accident involving the aircraft wouldn’t affect India’s arms orders with Russia.

But discussions went beyond just talk of hardware, reflecting the strategic importance that the two sides place on relations. For example, the two sides also discussed increasing cooperation in anti-piracy operations, and they agreed that the INDRA series of exercises still form an important aspect of the bilateral relationship and so should be continued and expanded.

March 6, 2012 at 02:07

excellent analysis man…..

March 6, 2012 at 02:05


Rajeev Aravkar
December 5, 2011 at 23:30

I agree that Indians should be more humble when they start speaking about this Super power thing. China is miles and miles away from India right now and its better to concentrate on your own progress than making the big talk.

But what i would like to add that no two countries can EVER be friends if one is making territorial claims on the other. The String of pearls, who started it ?
Who is making nuclear proliferation just to contain another country. And we could add many more things. THESE ARE THE FACTS.These things have endangered India’s security and need to buy weapons. And as per the Newton’s law, ‘Every action should have equal and opposite reaction’ India is a reactive power and now it is reacting. (BY NOT PROLIFERATING NUKES)

December 3, 2011 at 19:09

United States will be an important country to India but it can only dream of matching Russia, hope India’s younger generation donot forget the great Soviets support in development of this country. Nixon sent his best strike fleet against us but the Russians where already there to guard us with their subs.

December 3, 2011 at 18:59

when people compare India and China they always state numbers, infra, money making companies many forget while China is a major business industry it has used some shrewd what we call unethical practices. China always wins over small countries’ governments. And India corrupt, poor roads not clean, cars not polished or smthin else. Our country has never been good in numbers and never will be, because over scenario is a lot different anyone else where on earth is an culturally, religiously, genetically, ideaoligically and yet harmonius country. And yet our projects have been useful in the past our mission to moon was not another rocket to moon, but it find water on moon. Tomorrow when LCA Tejas comes out it will be not just indigeniously built but also it will have an indigenious engine something only F nations have acheived and mind you China still has to do that. In short we develop technology but that takes a lot of time, advantage of buying is finished goods and huge diplomatic onus. P.S: we dont want China and its ally pyschoistan to catch us napping.

September 22, 2011 at 09:20

Man O man. Do you any clue how it feels to live in society where you have no freedom.not able to voice opposing views…You will no the pain of living in a communist society only if you have experienced it. You are fortunate that You live in Free India and take freedom for granted.

September 22, 2011 at 09:15

Good analysis. There is so much emphasis by Mili-industrial coet?mples propaganda about superiority of US weapons and fighter jets. My question is If the high tech weapons only ,can win a war …why US is 10 years in fight with Taliban who do not have even one obsolete old fighter jet?

August 16, 2011 at 02:35

Hughes: You are bang on target here…Patriotism tends to cloud rational judgement in many a man, and my countrymen are no different. I’d like to think that my travels have broadened my mental horizons to the point that I see how China’s One party system has become it’s biggest boon yet. I’m tired of listening over to the bullshit dished out in India about China. Our media tries to show that being able to pray to a God and being able to protest/strike against the Government is a great boon to us Indians that the Chinese have been sadly deprived of. Well, what do you pray to God for? All our wishes are constructed to ultimately take us towards Prosperity. And prosperity’s exactly what the Chinese Communist Party’s heralded to it’s citizens. Their per capita income(PPP), which was the same as India’s till 1980, is today double of ours. Why would you want to protest against a Government that is doing it’s best to make it’s subjects prosperous? Prosperity’s what is elusive to most Indians, even though they’re allowed to pray for it to some God under our dysfunctional democracy.I’ve even heard some Indians say that good per capita figures of our high and middle class is being ruined by our poor, giving us a bad image overall!! So much for Democracy and concern for your fellow Indian! Jai Hind.

August 15, 2011 at 21:35

China does import almost everything from Russia, Israel, and a little from some European countries ( not allowed officially but in reality it can happen).

There is nothing which China developed itself.

August 7, 2011 at 10:53

CaptainJohann, You are right when saying that the US is using its polical clout in order to sell substandard or not so substandard mil hardware to India. But you like many other Indians appears to be unaware of the true US intent in the Indo/US nuke deal. For the US, the deal is the first step in reeling India into the fast web of the US military industrial complex. Once India is caught up in that web, then the US will ask India to act as a responsible member of the International community and buy only superior US mil hardware. By the way, being asked to act as a responsible member of the world community does not imply what it seems to mean. But it is a polite way of saying that you do whatever the US wants you to do, which as you can see has nothing to do with the interests of the world community. By buying US mil hardware, you will stimulate the economies of the US mil industrial complex into the future, but not your own economy. You will be politely told (though not into your face)that the superior US hardware, unlike your own inferior hardware, will allow you to take part as a commendable stakeholder in the world community. Another point is that you will never use US hardware in order to defend your country without first getting permission from the US. What the US would prefer is that you use those weapons in support of US initiated wars. Does this remind you of another era in Indian history in which the British used Indian worriors in wars that benefited British hegemony around the world, but had zero benefits to India itself. Think about that for a moment. Finally, while you and the US seek an alliance of one another, be careful what you wish for. An alliance may sound good, but you may not like its side effects once you are too deep into it.

August 7, 2011 at 06:18

Rishabh Rekhade: Thank you for your well balanced reply. Let me also thank you for not attacking my comment as some kind of anti-India agenda on my part. I am not against India at all. The central concern of my original comment was to jolt India into realising that in order for India to become an economic superpower, it must build supreme infra systems from north to south, from west to east and in between. Where I diverge from you is your implication that India’s poor infra is the result of noise Indian democracy. Frankly, this is like saying that I don’t have my homework because the dog ate it. And even if your theory of a noise democracy were to be true, then western Europe after world war two would not have been able to built their infra systems where previously they had none. I also disagree with your other point upon which you imply that the structure of the government either impedes or doesn’t impede the cosntruction of infra systems. The noise American democracy used the power of eminent domain to take land from private citizens so as to built our infra systems. The citizens didn’t like it, but it was the best thing for our country and its economy. And finally, please discard the the excuse of a noise democracy alltogether. Because if you don’t, you will impede the progress of your nation. Furthermore, stop pointing your finger at China’s one party system. We have a saying that when you point a finnger at another country, there are always three other fingers pointing back at your own country. Which is to say that it is easier point your at another country’s shortcomings, because it makes you feel good about yourself, but it also allows you to cast a blind eye to the mountain of problems that your country faces. You may not like China’s one party system, but what they are doing is quite visitionary. It is an economic visition that will position China well into future. Let me give you an example of how China’s modern infra are transforming the country. I talked to a group of business people in Shanghai who told me that because of high speed railways and expressways, they were able to travel cities located as far one thousand miles away. While there, they discovered that most of those cities were not selling the kind of products they sell at their home base. So they decided to open new stores in this new cities and sold their goods without much competion. The result is that they are more wealthier and have many more employees than they did before. This is how supreme infra systems impacts a country’s economy. And among developing countries, China’s infra system has no equal.

Rishabh Rekhade
August 6, 2011 at 06:17


India is in a group of nations reffered to as potential superpowers. The group consits of India, China, Brazil, South Africa and the Russian Federation. Now most of the countries are well-established regional powers but India with its geographic proximity to China has always had that fact challenged.
China’s infrastructure is better than India’s, partially because their economic liberalisation occured at least 5-7 years before India’s did. Another reason is the structure of the government, China is a one party communist state which doesn’t suffer from the bueracracy that democratic India does.

Having said that, India does score on some other points over China. The most important of that is freedom of speech. While India boasts of one of the most liberal media, China continues to suppress information.

They both are incredible countries in their own spheres, India would always take time to develop as a nation in its entirety, just owing to its diverse cultures. I may be wrong but in my opinion you will find more diverse people in Mumbai than in Boston or Shanghai.

On topic: India made quite a few brutal diplomatic errors during the Cold War by alienating itself to the United States. Today, India must find a balance between how much they depend on any nation.

August 6, 2011 at 01:48

Much of what I hear from Indians all the time is that India is superpower. But then I have to ask this question, what kind of superpower that must import 70% of the weapons it needs to defend itself? America doesn’t, Russia doesn’t and China doesn’t. I just spent four months traveling in both India and China. And this is what I observed: China has first world infra systems-from railways to highways, seaports, airports and much much more. By contrast, Indian infra is so backward and primitive that I made a promise to never to visit the country again. Under these conditions, I find dubius that any self-respecting Indian would make the claim that India is superpower. When I returned From China to my home in Boston, and when comparing Chinise infra with our poor American infra, I was confused as to which country that is a developed one and which country is a developing one.

August 5, 2011 at 17:59

Russia thinks that Americans have scored over them due to Indo/US nuke deal. But it forgets the bad vibes created in India by Yeltsin years and his pro/US foreign Minister forgetting what all achived during Brezhnev era and Kurushev years.India used to take Soviet Union veto for granted on evey major issue of its concern.

Now both nations have to move forward and they complement with Russia becoming an Oil exporter and having recovered from the pro/US strategy. They now know what is good for their national interest.
Americans are using thir political clout to sell moth balled Trenton warship, 40 year old naval helicopters and not state of the art which they sell to Japan or Koreans.The uS doesnot understand India is a behemoth inspite of its corrupt dhothi clad politicos as the MMRCA deal has shown.
Hope Russia shows interest in 5th generation fighter jets as the Brahmos success story has shown

duke chan
August 5, 2011 at 10:53

Let’ s contain China. Beautiful move.

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