There are various reasons why Moscow and Islamabad have decided to hold their first ever joint military exercise. This is enough to worry India in the long run. India has been over the years the biggest buyer of the Russian hardware .
Moreover, if one looks back the Defence relations between India and the Russian Federation have a historical perspective. The Soviet Union was an important supplier of defence equipment for several decades, and that relationship was inherited by Russia after the break-up of the Soviet Union.
In 1997, Russia and India signed a ten-year agreement for further military-technical cooperation. That agreement encompassed a wide range of activities, including the purchase of completed weaponry, joint development and production, and joint marketing of armaments and military technologies
The co-operation was not limited to a buyer-seller relationship but includes joint research and development, training, service to service contacts, including joint exercises. The last joint naval exercises took place in April 2007 in the sea of Japan and joint airborne exercises were held in September 2007 in Russia.
India’s ties with Russia in defence were strengthened with the Brahmos missle programme and fifth generation fighter jet programme . Both countries signed a defence deal worth $2.9 billion during President Putin’s visit to India in December 2012.
In the airforce the ties resulted in buying from Russia An – 32 planes and Mig – 21 and army bought tanks . In 2001, India purchased 310 T-90S tanks from Russia, of which 124 were delivered complete (42 featured the early cast turrets seen on Russian tanks) and 186 were to be assembled from kits delivered in various stages of completion with an emphasis on shifting production to domestic means. That meant effectively that for India , Russia was a happy shopping destination.
For the last 15 years the Indo- Russia ties were strong . But complaints , started emerging as the Russian planes developed snags . The Russian built planes were not upgraded to meet the modern day requirements. The most notable among them was the Mig -21. It has crashed many a time leading to loss of precious human lives. The A N – 32 has been a complete disaster. The fatalities involving Russian planes have earned the ire of defence experts. The are of the view that the Russian systems are old .
It is is in this given scenario that India were looking forward to find a new partner. And Israel and US came to fore . Israel is likely to give India the advanced AWACS aircraft. The AWACS are advanced radars mounted on an aircraft to give 360 degree coverage to detect incoming aircraft and missiles at long ranges. India is currently negotiating deal with the US to buy the F- 18 in the near future. Now it has inked deal with France to buy the Rafale fighter Jets worth Euro 7.87-billion ( Rs 58, 000 crores) equipped with latest missiles and weapon system besides multiple India- specific modifications that will give the IAF cutting edge capability over arch rival Pakistan.
These combat aircraft, delivery of which will start in 36 months and will be completed in 66 months from the date the contract is inked, comes equipped with state-of-the-art missiles like ‘Meteor’ and ‘Scalp’ that will give IAF a capability that had been sorely missing in its arsenal.
With India Looking away from Russia when it came to defence buying , It has given apparently a miffed Russia the opportunity to poke at India by a veiled threat by tying up with India’s arch rival Pakistan.