Russia has lost a great share of its economic, scientific and technical potential over the period of the USSR's breakup and reforming
India has always been Russia's permanent partner in military and technical cooperation. However, today it rather prefers military technique produced in the West, the tactic that is painful for Russia indeed.
Delhi wants to equip the Indian Air Force with US F-16 and F-18 all-purpose pursuit planes. India plans to adopt 126 fighters of this type instead of the Russian MiG-21 they are having now. The USA is ready to discuss even more fundamental issues with India: the previously secret spheres such as army command, early warning system and anti-missile defense. India has already got a wide range of America's proposals meant to extend the military-technical, nuclear and space cooperation between both countries, spokesperson for the Indian Foreign Ministry Navtej Sarna says.
These new tendencies are really distressing for Russia: India has always been Russia's key partner in military and technical cooperation. The volume of military and technical cooperation between both countries has reached $33 billion since 1960. In addition to supplies of military technique, Russian and Indian experts are working on new armament systems. Today, even Israel concludes military contracts with India to bigger sums than Russia.
The situation seems to be logical, however. Russia has lost a great share of its economic, scientific and technical potential over the period of the USSR's breakup and reforming. As a result, the competitiveness of the Russian military technique has declined on world markets.
Professor of the Russian Academy of Sciences, member of the Council for foreign and defense policy Major-General in reserve, Pavel Zolotarev, says: “Russia's positions are weak as concerning many parameters.” In an interview to PRAVDA.Ru Pavel Zolotarev cited the example of China. “Russia supplies military technique to China, but Russia's electronics is poor. That is why China purchases electronics in the US.”
In all contracts concluded within the past years India stipulates that Russian military high-tech equipment must be equipped with radio electronics produced by other countries. It is said that Russia managed to conclude a contract for supplies of Su-30MKI to India only because France and Israel were also invited to participate in the contract. At that, India equipped the machines with some of Indian equipment.
The popularity of Russian arms abroad is seriously marred with their poor quality. Experts state that reclamation for Russian arms increased ten times in Russia and twenty times abroad. Pavel Zolotarev also adds that only military technique that is adopted and actively operated by the producer is in demand on the world market. “Because of financial problems, Russia does not purchase and adopt new military equipment. That is why it is impossible to find out its faults for further improvement,” Pavel Zolotarev says. And the Russian defense complex suffers serious losses when faults of military equipment become evident when it is already exported. The Russian defense complex subsists only on export today when Russia and the USA are the key rival arms exporters. And Russia is gradually losing its positions there, the expert adds.
Earlier, Russian arms were popular because of the low price. But today the situation is changing, and the price is going up for several reasons. At the same time, the USA offers reasonable prices for second-hand military technique (this is the type of USA's relationship with Poland).
Still, Russia is rather strong in some sector of the world arms market. Now, India is ready to conclude a contract with Russia for supplies of 400 T-90C tanks. But it is stipulated that the tanks must be equipped with French devices. Russian tanks are rather competitive today because this sphere is not so speedily developing as aviation. Experts emphasize that Russia needs new research and development work and purchases of new military technique for the Russian army to consolidate its positions on the world market of arms.
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