The change of government in India will not affect the high level of cooperation with Russia
In the general parliamentary elections in India, which took place in nine stages from 7 April to 12 in May this year, the party of former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh lost Bharatiya Janata Party (BDP - Indian People’s Party), which took precedence in 283 districts. She received an absolute majority and will be the first in 30 years party, which will be able to form a government on its own. Russian President Vladimir Putin congratulated BDP leader Narendra Modi on his success in the campaign and his nomination for the post of prime minister. During the telephone conversation, both sides emphasized the continuity of the traditionally friendly Russian-Indian relations, which are steadily developing on the basis of the Declaration on Strategic Partnership.
The Indian Ministry of Defense hopes that the new government formed by the BDP will speed up the implementation of the protracted agreements on the acquisition of various military products (MPPs), carry out reforms in the defense-industrial complex (MIC) and reduce the dependence of the national armed forces on imports, which currently time is about 70 percent of total military purchases.
According to the Defense News, New Delhi plans to increase the limits of its share in the foreign direct investment program FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) from 26 to 49 percent. “The new government inherited a rather unstable Ministry of Defense and a significant amount of outstanding work on major agreements,” said Anil Jai Singh, military analyst and Commodore of the Indian Navy in reserve. - The new Minister of Defense should first of all review the protracted programs that are essential for the combat readiness of India, and in the course of consultations with representatives of the armed forces, prioritize the requirements. He should also make sure that the officials and staff of the Ministry of Defense are working together to complete the tasks on time. These measures will in themselves serve as a positive start and show that in case of a delay it will be necessary to bear responsibility. ”
The military expects the Ministry of Defense to quickly resolve issues related to the combat readiness of the armed forces. “Over the past years, too cautious approach to procurement has been applied, especially to those that were carried out through open competition. As a result, tenders worth $ 7 billion were canceled. The acquisition of vital weapons was thus suspended, ”one of the senior military officials lamented.
May 26 Modi was appointed Prime Minister. He will probably start reforms immediately, speed up the decision-making process and increase the intensity of the work of the bureaucratic apparatus. “It’s not surprising that the new government relies on domestic production,” said military analyst, Rahul Bhonsle, brigadier of the Indian Army Reserve. - Most likely, the dependence on imported drug products will last another ten years, since there are deficit problems that need to be addressed purposefully. This dependence can be mitigated if the focus is on technology development, increasing the limits of Indian investments under the FDI program, tax stimulation of the national producer, increasing the share of local products in the structure of the DPR. ”
“If India seeks to achieve the status of a regional power, it should reduce the share of imported drug products. In addition to high-tech products, the country, unfortunately, is acquiring even relatively simple small arms, in particular assault rifles and carbines, ”said Venkataraman Makhalingam, a military analyst and brigadier general of the stock. If the new cabinet continues to strive to strengthen the armed forces in order to counter China and Pakistan, greater funding, radical changes in the defense industry, as well as making the decision-making process more responsive will be needed.
Experts believe that Arun Dzhetli, who became the new Minister of Defense of 26 in May on a temporary basis, will accelerate the implementation of the purchase of defense products. He will manage the defense ministry and the Ministry of Finance until the formation of the new state administration is completed, after which he will be approved by the Minister of Defense on a permanent basis. According to observers, the combination of the two posts shows that the leadership of India intends to allocate a greater amount of money for the purchase of various military items.
According to information from the Ministry of Defense in the draft of the new budget, which the Modi government will present approximately in July of this year, the volume of military spending will increase by 15 percent. The previous administration has approved a budget for 2014 – 2015 financial years in the amount of 34,65 billion dollars.
Rao Inseit Singh has been appointed as Minister of State in charge of defense (junior position compared to the Jetley post). He will probably supervise the production of MPPs, but no official announcements have been made up to the present. Singh joined the BDP winning party shortly before the elections, and before that, in 2004 – 2009, he was the state minister responsible for defense production.
Experts also believe that in the near future the government of Narendra Modi will acquire a whole gamut of American military products on the waiting list. Relevant contracts worth 2,6 billion dollars are ready to be signed since last year, since the previous cabinet postponed the approval of agreements due to lack of funds. It is expected that contracts for the purchase of AH-64D Apache helicopters (Apache) worth 1,6 billion dollars, CH-47 Chinook military transport helicopters for 833 million and light guns from BAE Systems (BAE Systems) are expected to be finalized. ) on 583 million. Former Secretary of Defense Arakkaparambil Anthony not only froze the tender on a number of contracts, but also transferred 1,3 a billion dollars from the funds allocated for the purchase of weapons to various payments to the personnel of the armed forces.
Along with the allocation of funds for the purchase of temporarily deferred contracts, the new Minister of Defense will have to allocate 12 billions to the program to acquire the MMRCA (Medium Multirole Combat Aircraft) fighter aircraft, the contract for which is in the final stage of discussion and is expected to be issued before the end of this year . The Rafale fighter of the French company Dassault Aviation (Dassault Aviation) is now the most preferred fighter version of this program. "The Ministry of Defense should accelerate work on several programs for the purchase of weapons due to the fact that the dollar against the Indian rupee significantly decreased for a certain period of time," - said the representative of the Indian Air Force.
Analysts say that the search for additional funds for the purchase of weapons for the Indian armed forces is one of the main problems that the new cabinet of ministers will have to solve. Acceleration of the procurement procedure, development of the national defense industry, major changes within local manufacturers are included in the list of tasks that require quick solutions. “The main shortcomings of the current system of procurement of military products remain non-observance of the time frame, lack of transparency in management and relevant skills, blacklisting, prohibiting a number of companies from participating in public tenders, and corruption,” said military analyst Venkataraman Mahalingam.
“We need to consider the possibility of creating an independent expert group to conduct all defense procurement. It may include representatives of both state-owned companies and the armed forces, who possess the necessary skills. This will allow to combine advanced technologies and experience in the use of technology, which is a key factor in the development of production of weapons-of-care products, ”he added.
Experts are unanimous in saying that the country needs to reduce its dependence on arms imports. At the same time, the Indian defense industry complex has certain difficulties, forcing it to strengthen its ties with foreign manufacturers. “The problem of creating joint ventures should be solved from the point of view of economy, but not management. In order to attract partners, it is necessary to create conditions in which the reliability of the Indian side and its ability to control industrial production will not be in doubt. These measures imply the necessary protection of intellectual property, increased participation of foreign companies and the possibility of easy withdrawal of profits, ”said Mahalingam.
According to Indian experts, it is necessary to accelerate the acquisition of military equipment for weapons programs by submarines of the 75I project, artillery, air defense systems, means of fighting submarines, MMRCA fighters. In the light of recent political changes, it is interesting to know the opinion of one of the prominent organizers of the Indian defense industry, Dr. Sivathan Pillay, who for a long time has headed the BrahMos Aerospace, an Indian-Russian joint venture engaged in the development and production of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles. Recently, the head of BrahMos Aerospace was in Moscow with a brief visit dedicated to the meeting of the company's board of directors, and agreed to answer a number of questions from the Russian media.
Describing the situation as a whole, Pillay noted that at the last election the democratic process of change was clearly manifested. The nation objectively needs progress, and the main task of the new government is to make India a strong, economically prosperous country with strong military potential. The basis for this can be formed due to the policy of accelerating various processes and high technologies. Only technologically developed countries will dominate the world.
“The power of technology leads to economic and military power. It should be noted that India did not take part in the industrial revolution, which is why it did not reach the level of development of Western states. This is the reason for a certain lag. At the same time, today India has a second chance, for that it is necessary to make a breakthrough. We can adapt new ideas and technologies, this process will help accelerate cooperation with any technologically developed power or powers. In this context, BrahMos is a case in point. It is a joint venture in which both parties apply the most advanced available technologies and jointly develop new ones. The main concept of the project is teamwork, merging of the parties, ”Pillay said.
In his opinion, the creation of such enterprises is the best sign of friendship between the two states: “Who can we trust from other countries now? Your country is today a superpower, despite the fact that its development has been slowed down due to the 90 crisis. Today, the pace of development of Russia is accelerating. Industrial ties between our countries as strategic partners are becoming closer and closer. Both states, for example, decided to create a joint military-industrial commission, which is rare. This is the type of relationship that can be described as trusting.
The results of the recent elections give India the opportunity to make a real breakthrough, and we must seize this opportunity. In making progress, Russia and India really need to be together. "BrahMos" - this program is important, but it alone is not enough. We need new aspects of cooperation, primarily in the field of nano-and information technologies. I would also identify other areas in which countries can cooperate: hypersonic aircraft, agriculture, biotechnology, dual-use technologies, space. In all these areas can be established close cooperation. There are certain prospects for joint cooperation in micro and nanoelectronics, as well as in the field of software development. Science in India is well developed, there are enough brains, human resources are also significant. India is a country that seeks progress. Your country is also trying to regain lost ground. Therefore, for Russia and India it is advisable to discuss a significant comprehensive program of joint work. ”
New Delhi is now expanding sources of various technologies, including from the United States, Britain, France, Israel. These countries talk a lot about the possibility of cooperation, but the real results on the integration of Western defense technologies in the Indian industry are not very much. But Russia is really transferring to the partner important defense technologies.
Sivathanu Pillay believes that India is an attractive enough for long-term cooperation, as it is experiencing a serious need. “Over the next five to six years, about 150 billions of dollars are required to be spent on the purchase of military products. The country needs to consider the experience of other countries. Many states cooperate with us, but they first of all seek to sell finished products and thereby capture our market. Cooperation with western partners has been established, but they only want to carry out a simple sales process without transferring high-tech production. And Russia is the only one that, as we see, is in favor of joint development, for example, of a fifth-generation fighter, an MTA multi-purpose transport aircraft and many other vehicles.
India has a very large market. It is necessary to improve the industry, since everything ultimately rests on technology. No country is capable of developing without them. And you can get them only with real long-term multilateral cooperation. In the 60s, let’s say, the process of production of military products at its own facilities was launched. In the 70s, the construction of equipment was carried out through acquired licenses for MiG aircraft, Tanks, ships. Currently, India independently produces military equipment, but to a large extent this growth is provided by Russia. If we can work together, join forces to create a new product, this will give India a significant advantage in the field of cost savings. The country seeks to expand cooperation in the fields of electronics, hypersound, nanotechnology, security, including information. We can create new products and modernize the country, this is a significant difference from previous years. The space industry and energy production are developing, which entails further improvement. Energy production means that its source is needed. New fuel sources such as helium-3 can be used. We are also working on the possibility of obtaining energy from space. New manufacturing centers are being established in the province. Normal fuel is too dirty, we need less harmful. Energy, drinking water - all these aspects can be solved by using high technology. In general, it seems to me that the slogan of the recently elected government is "The future of India is the new India," Pilley said.
A few years ago, India organized several tenders in the defense sphere - MRCA aircraft, combat helicopters, heavy helicopters, tanker aircraft, etc. But the contracts for them have not been signed yet.
“The updated Ministry of Defense defines the basic requirements, analyzes and makes a decision. Mentioned tenders were held by the previous government. The new Department of Defense will make decisions faster and resolve all the above issues. The decision of the question from whom to buy and with whom to cooperate depends directly on the policy of the government. I believe that the pace of construction of military equipment with the advent of the new leadership will increase. In this context, Russia is a country with which it is beneficial to cooperate. From the point of view of the government, there are many external players on the market. I believe that you should not buy everything from third-party players. Before you there is a very good example - BrahMos, which proves that India can be a leader in the production of technological products. This product was the result of joint work. Could India alone create the BrahMos in its modern form? No, but we have proven that cooperation can be fruitful. In the conditions of the modern world order, cooperation is one of the most optimal forms, it can make India a great power. On the whole, what our armed forces will acquire depends on a thorough technical assessment process, which will be carried out by the armed forces, as well as on the cost, ”commented Dr. Pillay.
He also touched on the prospects of bilateral cooperation within the framework of the BrahMos program, emphasizing that it will develop in the direction of hypersonic aircraft (GLA). “It is hypersound that is a promising technology. Its ammunition dramatically reduces the time for a retaliatory strike from the enemy. Therefore, it is assumed that a hypersonic version of the BraMos cruise missile will be created. At the same time, the technology of hypersonic aircraft is universal and can find its application also in space and civil aviation. In particular, when creating reusable spacecraft, ”he stated.
Pillay also drew attention to the fact that currently in the world several states are already developing developments in the field of GLA. “Relatively recently, China conducted successful tests of such a device; a number of works are carried out by the United States. There are many scientific groups in Russia that are working on the creation of the GLA. They also made a breakthrough in their work, ”he said. The scientist stressed in this regard that the joint Russian-Indian development of hypersonic devices will greatly facilitate the implementation of this task.
Within the framework of such cooperation, work was carried out on the basis of the Moscow Aviation Institute to create new materials. The Indian side is studying new principles of management and control, as well as conducting relevant ground tests. “At the moment, the results of preliminary studies can be considered positive. These successes have been largely achieved thanks to the Russian-Indian partnership, ”believes Pillay.
It is assumed that, taking into account the existing Russian developments, a bilateral cycle of works on the creation of a GLA will take about nine to ten years. “A cycle of ground tests of integrated technologies is currently underway. Bench tests will take about four to five years. We will improve the sample and apply new materials, ”the scientist informed. According to him, the flight test period will take about the same time, and the stage with the use of new configurations of the device will probably last a little longer.
The BrahMos missile noted a significant export potential. His confidence is based on the fact that, in addition to outstanding tactical and technical characteristics, the joint development has a high level of universality. The product can be launched from ground launchers, as well as surface and submarine-based. A version of the air-based "BrahMos" is being developed for use as a part of strike aircraft. “The list of potential buyers is quite large. These weapons can be sold to many states, but our approach is to choose reliable partners. I believe that in this regard, the appropriate measure would be the functioning of a joint Russian-Indian commission. It is necessary to identify those partners who will become our allies for a long time, and form strategic relations, ”Pillay added.
He also spoke about the sanctions imposed by Western countries against Russia in connection with the situation in Ukraine. In his opinion, these measures can serve as a stimulus for the development of the Russian economy, including the defense industry. “There is a positive moment in the sanctions, which forces the country to develop, relying only on its own strength. For example, after the end of the Second World War, the USSR made such a breakthrough, based on wartime technologies, that it could then become one of the world leaders in the field of science and technology, ”the Indian expert recalled. Under the conditions of sanctions, people are becoming more active, the creation of new technologies is rapidly accelerating, and a period of new opportunities has come for Russia, Dr. Sivathanu Pillay concluded.