Home / Robert Farley / Russia-India Cooperation

Russia-India Cooperation


Finishing a book manuscript, and so haven’t had much time for serious blogging recently.  Nevertheless, would like to drag everyone’s attention to Dmitry Gorenburg’s excellent series on Russia’s military relationship with India.  First part examines naval, second part ground and air, third part joint projects.

There’s a lot of interest here.  From a strategic point of view, the Indo-Russian relationship suggests that there’s something wrong with geopolitical scenarios that don’t take balance-of-power considerations between the three Eurasian giants seriously; I’m not looking at any one in particular, of course, but… From a technical point of view, I think it’s interesting how dependent both China and India continue to be on updated Soviet technology. I think that Feng might have more to say on this, but there’s a fascinating contrast between India and China as customers of Russian military tech.  India is a better international intellectual property citizen than China, and also lacks any serious security flashpoints with Russia.  On the other hand, China seems to be interested in pushing beyond what Russian technology can offer, even if major questions about the quality of the product of the Chinese military-industrial complex remain.

Cross-posted at ID.

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  • Daragh McDowell

    Damn… and just a few months after I submitted my thesis (I’m a Russianist.) Haven’t had time to read the Gorenburg articles yet, but does he mention the role of the other former Soviet states, particularly Ukraine and Belarus? It helps explain somewhat the longevity of Soviet technology in the international arms market and in Eurasia. Long story short, Ukraine abd Belarus both had a LOT of gear to easily offload, and enough technical expertise and industrial stock to maintain and service them for their end users.

    • Murc

      One of my friends spent a summer in Kiev shortly after the Ukraine became independent. He went to a number of open-air markets that he said were, basically, the Great Red Army Garage Sale.

      Also I like how you chose to ignore the Ireland thread make your triumphant return in a highly technical post about balance-of-power arms trading, Daragh. :)

      • Anonymous

        Hehehe! Because the Irish thread had over 50 posts by the time I saw it (I do have a life you know) plus its a sensitive topic and I wasn’t sure on the figures Farley posted. Long story short – the way Irish men who served in both World Wars were treated in Ireland was shameful. There are still people today who refuse to wear a poppy out of some ‘principle’ I find too idiotic to even discuss. Plus we have never come to terms as a nation with the fact that bowing out of the fight against Hitler due to the 6 counties was a supreme act of moral cowardice on our part (that also isolated us from the internationa community for a further three to four decades.) But Farley is right – a deserter is a deserter is a deserter. I’ve many relatives in the Irish Defence Forces and I suspect they’d say the same.

    • c u n d gulag

      Daragh’s spot on about that.
      And a lot of their stuff also ended up in Africa, and some in Central and South America. And not always in the good guys hands. In fact, the opposite.

      I was an adjunct from 1993 to late 90’s, and the college had a strong Russian and Slavic Studies Department (I speak Russian fluently, and some Ukrainian, so I hung out with them), and the prof’s had connections in academia in the countries mentioned. Also, their former students were all over the place, from the military, to business, to intelligence.
      And the prof’s told me they all were worried, based on what they were being told, about how little the US really seemed to be have been concerned after the fall of the USSR about the international illegal-arms trade that was flooded with all sorts of Soviet-made stuff. They felt nothing good was going to come of it. Some of the stuff they told me was hair-raising. Thankfully, so far, none of their worst fears, at least in regards to this country, have come true. But who knows about tomorrow?

      • Daragh McDowell

        True dat. And to add to Murc’s comments above, while it would be pretty odd to get any weaponry on Andreevsky Spusk these days, when I was over in 2008 it was pretty easy to obtain everything up to a MiG Test Flight suit (which I still regret not buying…)

    • Indian

      Good prospective and nice article.

  • As long as Russia is not a member of NATO, I think it makes perfect sense for them to be the prime suppliers of their very big, and rapidly advancing neighbors.

  • DocAmazing

    From a technical point of view, I think it’s interesting how dependent both China and India continue to be on updated Soviet technology.

    For durable and rough-and-ready hardware, it’s hard to beat Soviet tech. For economical copies of Soviet tech, it’s hard to beat the Chinese.

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