Putin makes his intent clear in India
Somehow, that doesn’t make me feel good. I don’t like it…
The run-up to Russian President Vladimir Putin visit was muted, but he has made his intention clear on how he wants to do business in India. The big question now is will American President Barack Obama be able to top Putin’s visit.
In his press conference, Putin made all the right strategic noises and promised to follow up on key aspects. Russia needs India as a consumer of its gas and India needs energy to fuel its requirements.
There is a stark difference between the US’s approach to India and Russia’s. While the former is more business-centric, the Russian President couched his references in a win-win statement.
The two countries have had very long defence relationships. The major suppliers of arms to India in 2009–13 were Russia (accounting for 75 percent of imports) and the US (7 percent), which for the first time became the second largest arms supplier to India, as per SIPRI’s data released in March 2014. The new government has cleared defence deals worth Rs 80,000 crores, and some of them are being signed with the US and European country.
This diversification by India has been followed by Russia’s offer to supply Mi-35 Hind Attack helicopters to Pakistan. Putin ducked the question on developing ties with Pakistan and becoming an arms supplier to that country, saying the ‘transformation’ is taking place with India.
“As I have already noted… a gradual transition from the traditional producer-consumer model to joint development and production of advanced weapons systems. We already have examples of such effective cooperation, by which I mean the production of high-precision up-to-date BrahMos missiles and creation of a multifunctional fifth-generation fighter aircraft,” Putin said.
If Russia is indeed serious about joint development, then it goes very well with the new government’s thrust on ‘Make in India’. This will help create jobs in India, which should be the underlying objective of every defence contracts.
To trump this, the US president will have to come up with something similar or better.
Today we know that Putin is not only interested in India, his interests with with eg. China aren't a secret. Whats more, I've read about his plans about reinforcing his nuclear submarine fleet (article at: https://warsawinstitute.org/ ). So his influence on worldwide politics is stronger than ever.