India is today one of the largest arms importers in the world. The volume of this market is huge - tens of billions of dollars per year. Despite the fact that the total share of India in world imports weapons has declined in recent years, it is still a tasty morsel for many arms manufacturers around the world.
The so-called volume of intentions for the purchase of weapons abroad from India is greater than from any other country in the world. As of 2019, this amount of intent exceeded $ 85 billion. These are general plans for the import of weapons for the coming years. For comparison: for the country that occupies the 2nd place in this indicator, Saudi Arabia, it corresponds to approximately $ 50 billion.
As you can see, the Indian market is leading by a wide margin.
Among the main partners of India in the military-technical sphere is the Russian Federation.
At the same time, many companies belonging to the military-technical partners of India, such a partnership is largely annoying or at least unnerving.
Why so when billions of dollars are at stake?
The reason is simple. Since the late 1990s, India has been advocating the principle of "diversification of supply." This principle is associated with the 1999 Kargil War. This is another border conflict that erupted at that time between India and Pakistan. Then India was going to concentrate impressive military forces in Kashmir. However, there were certain problems that New Delhi was quick to blame, including foreign arms suppliers. Among those who "inherited" from the Indian politicians and senior military men who tried to shield themselves were Russian suppliers. And then it was decided that "the more suppliers India chooses, the better the situation will develop in the military-technical market." India expected that an increase in the number of foreign suppliers would cause additional competition, and the country's armed forces as a result would receive the latest equipment and technologies.
The number of companies supplying military equipment to the Indian market has indeed grown. But the mentioned nervousness arose among the companies themselves. The fact is that Indian customers began to set more and more new requirements. Consideration of proposals in the framework of tenders has become an extremely protracted event. An example is the tender for the purchase of more than 100 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force.
Consideration of options, among which there are Russian Su-35s with MiG-35s, has been going on for more than 5 years. During this time, 36 French Rafale were ordered, but in the end it turned out that each of these fighters costs the Indian budget an incredible amount of $ 200 million. For such an amount, it was possible to purchase about 3 Russian Su-35s with weapons and not spend money on re-equipping infrastructure (including tankers), since the Indian infrastructure "knows" what Russian technology is.
At one time, the nerves were surrendered by the Swedes, who offered the JAS 39 Gripen for the Indian Air Force. When the terms of the tender were again changed in India, the Swedish company announced that it was withdrawing from the tender:
We came to the conclusion that it would be difficult for us (Saab, approx. “Military Review”) to comply with the terms of the updated Indian tender.
However, after some time, Sweden still decided to return to the offer of its fighters for the Indian market.
Now the nervousness is manifested in the American manufacturer Lockheed Martin. The other day in India, they said that they are refusing to purchase F-21 fighters. And Lockheed Martin was planning to produce these fighters specifically for the Indian Air Force as a deep modernization of the F-16. It was planned to open a plant in the Indian territory. But in New Delhi, they decided that instead of buying the F-21, it was necessary to mass-produce their own LCA Tejas fighters. An additional 83 such combat aircraft are ordered.
Regarding how Indian customers work with those who offer them their products, readers of Military Review are actively speaking out. Some comments are worth mentioning.
The master is the master, what else can one suggest. There are many options, from simple, they want the best, to elementary corruption, lobbying the interests of the one who paid the most. Nothing unusual, new.
Regarding military purchases from India, seven Fridays a week ... Bargain for favorable terms of the transaction.
There are comments in the European segment of social networks that all the problems with the “throwing” of India under military-technical contracts are connected with political tensions within the country itself.
It is about the action of the clan caste system. To put it simply, every political force wants to “snatch its own piece,” including both economic and political rating.
Representatives of one clan occupy positions in the leadership of the Ministry of Defense, representatives of another do not. As a result, there is an underhanded struggle that looks like the indefiniteness of the Indian state in the issue of signing this or that contract.
They choose a long time, require a lot, already during the execution of the contract they may try to introduce additional conditions.
One such example is the FGFA contract (the fifth generation fighter program that was planned to be implemented by Russia and India in a joint version). While some circles were in favor of continuing cooperation with the Russian Federation to obtain the latest fighter, from others every time they heard statements about its shortcomings. This despite the fact that the final version of the fighter at that time, in fact, did not exist yet. As a result, India left the project (Su-57), and today can’t decide how to “get” a fifth-generation fighter. To build on their own, tens of billions and many years of work will take. And in China, they are already flying ... which hits Indian vanity very painfully.