India stuck between a rock and a hard place
India has long since balanced the relationship between Russia and the United States. India has partnered with Russian military companies to develop joint defense projects, like the T-90 tank and the SU-57, which fell apart. However, both countries successfully produced the BrahMos in a joint venture. India is still working closely with the United States as the US offers deals to boost India’s military to counter China’s aggression.
With the current Russian invasion of Ukraine, India has found itself in a difficult position. As stronger sanctions are targeting Russia’s ability to create military equipment, a high-tech export ban will cause a significant issue for India, which heavily depends on Russian military equipment. The Indian Army is the most dependent, with 90% of its equipment originating from Russia, mainly in the form of tanks. The Indian navy is also tricky as it has leased a nuclear submarine and an aircraft carrier from Russia.
What are India’s options? India is currently electing to boost their internal military manufacturing. A Defense Ministry official says that India cannot sustain itself as the second-largest military, fourth largest air force, and seventh largest navy on imports. Boosting internal military manufacturing seems like the most logical step to increase the military capability to counter China while also continuing good relations with Russia and the United States. It is estimated that 2.1 trillion rupees or $27.8 billion will be placed in domestic defense manufacturers in the next five years.