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Russia asks Indian companies to provide parts and services to their defence equipment customers amid Ukraine crisis and sanctions: Report

According to a report by the Indian Defense News, ROSTEC, the Russian defence conglomerate in charge of Moscow's weapons industry, has contacted several Indian firms for supplying artillery, tanks, air-defence systems, and other exported equipment to their customers

The ongoing conflict in Ukraine has affected Russian defence export earnings as well as the country’s own military assets. Moreover, Russian defence firms are unable to fulfil the service commitment they have made to their overseas customers. Because of the distribution network crisis, the Russian defence industry has turned to the Indian arms industry to source spares and human capital for their clients as specified in their agreements.

According to a report by the Indian Defense News, ROSTEC, the Russian defence conglomerate in charge of Moscow’s weapons industry, is said to have contacted an unspecified number of Indian firms about supplying them with artillery, tanks, air-defence systems, and other exported equipment. There is also a demand for Indian engineers with technical knowledge of these mechanisms, as India has extensive experience in using, manufacturing and servicing Russian equipment.

According to open-source intelligence (OSINT), ROSTEC contacted the following Indian companies: Armoured Vehicles Nigam, Advanced Weapons & Equipment India, and Yantra India, all of which are indigenous public-owned enterprises with production lines throughout the country. However, Yantra India, Armoured Vehicles Nigam, or Advanced Weapons & Equipment India did not comment on this issue.

Over the last few decades, these companies have been known to manufacture Russian military material under licence from Russian companies. The Indian companies have supposedly been asked to assist Russian industries in honouring contract terms with their clientele as well as supplying the Russian military equipment in the ongoing military confrontation. The war has hindered ROSTEC’s supply network, with sources to their armed services and export equipment claiming a significant toll, particularly in Southeast Asia.

In addition, because of the sanctions levied by the United States and the European Union, South Asian and African clients appear reluctant to sign contracts with Russian industries. Regulations appear to have discouraged South Asian and African clients from entering into contracts, particularly those involving the maintenance of components that have already been supplied, as they panic about becoming barred from Western capital market segments. As a result, these countries also are turning towards India for spare parts and servicing of Russian military equipment.

Russia’s United Shipbuilding Corporation (USC) has specifically asked Indian companies, Krasny Defence Technologies (formerly known as Krasny Marine Services) and Crown Group, to provide the qualified expertise to both maintain and operate Russian arms and warships in multiple Southeast Asian countries. The Indian Defense News has reported that Lieutenant Commander Suresh Nanda (Retired), the son of a former Indian Navy Chief, Admiral S.M Nanda, heads Crown Group and has reportedly had connections with USC in India for many years.

India has already expressed interest in assisting Russian customers in South East Asia and Africa. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) has expressed interest in maintaining and servicing the Malaysian Su-30 MKM fighter jets. HAL, as one of the leading manufacturers of Russian-origin Su-30 aircraft, recently claimed it could provide the RMAF with the appropriate help for the Su-30 MKM battle group, which is currently experiencing low maintainability due to the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict. HAL signed a contract on August 18 to establish a facility in Kuala Lumpur.

Uganda in Africa also has signed a contract for the servicing and technical assistance of its Sukhoi Su-30MK2 fighter jets with Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) in India. According to the Ugandan news website The Independent, the MOU was executed on March 4, 2022, by Charles Lutaaya, commander of the Uganda Peoples Defence Forces, and the Indian High Commission in Uganda.

Up till now, servicing has been handled by United Aircraft Corporation of Russia, more notably the Komsomolsk-on-Amur Aircraft Plant. Ugandan jets were refurbished at the facility after accidents in 2012 and 2016. Regarding the justification for the switch from Russian to Indian maintenance support, neither the Ugandan military nor HAL have made any statements. Six Su-30s were initially owned by the Ugandan Air Force, however one crashed in 2020, killing both pilots.

Girish Linganna, an Indian Defence Analyst, said, “India is one of the largest users of former Soviet and Russian equipment outside Russia and has immense expertise in maintaining Russian equipment. It has been building the Russian Su-30s in its Nashik plant. Coincidently, 11 Base Repair Depot (11 BRD) of Air Force Station at Ojhar, also in Nasik, has been overhauling the Mig-29s for a long and has accumulated a lot of indigenized parts for the aircraft. HAL manufactures RD-33 Series-3 Engine for the IAF Mig-29s. India can offer its services for the maintenance of Russian Su-30 and Mig-29 aircraft to operators in Asia and elsewhere. The Indian Air Force is also retiring its MiG-21s by 2025. India can offer spare parts and repair services to interested users around the globe.”

In the midst of the continuing geopolitical unrest, India is treading a fine line in its relations with Kremlin, as well as with the latter’s military and energy industries, while retaining its status as America’s key ally in Southeast Asia.

Ayodhra Ram Mandir special coverage by OpIndia

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OpIndia Staff
OpIndia Staff
Staff reporter at OpIndia

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