Stratfor, which has a bad reputation in the West, but for some reason, the “intelligence-analytical” organization that is abundantly quoted in our country has published an article entitled “The loss of the Indian market could destroy the Russian military-industrial complex”. The main points are: firstly, our country is losing its dominant position in the Indian arms market, secondly, the loss of orders from New Delhi in the context of a reduction in the military budget will have a devastating effect on the domestic defense industry.
As examples of Russia's likely failures in the Indian market, there are risks of a contract for the supply of 100 (?) Light helicopters, a threat to the ITA medium transport aircraft program and the possible exit of India from a joint project to create a fifth-generation fighter (FGFA). The place of Russia is occupied by other manufacturers, and Stratfor gives examples of their success. These are deals with the United States for the supply of helicopters and transport airplanes, with South Korea for self-propelled howitzers, with Israel for UAVs, air defense systems and anti-tank systems, and an early contract with France on 36 Rafaley.
Admittedly, the article contains several true and new statements. The only problem is that all true statements are not news, and all insights of thinkers from Strafor are wrong. In essence, the text is a collection of truisms, logically contradictory statements and outright false statements. The information given in the report was obtained by careless googling, inference is not original, forecasts and conclusions, to put it mildly, are controversial.
Let's start with the central thesis - about Russia's loss of dominance in the Indian arms market. The article contains a strange statement that in the past five years, Russia "provided 70 percent of all Indian arms imports." Naturally, it does not specify what is meant - the supply or the cost of contracts. This promise is clearly wrong: Russia has never had such a share in the Indian market, neither in terms of supply, nor in terms of the amount of contracts concluded. At best, the USSR had such indicators.
Then the authors make an even stranger statement: “... despite the fact that over the past five years, sales weapons and military equipment, Russia held a dominant position; the United States may have overtaken it in terms of its total sales turnover. ” Let us disregard that it would be good to confirm such statements with numbers. But do Stratfor analysts really not notice the obvious logical contradiction between the two parts of the same sentence? How can you occupy a leading position if someone has already overtaken you in terms of "total sales"? It seems that the experts of the “shadow CIA” have problems not only with the sources of information, but also with the formal Cartesian logic.
In fact, no dominance of Russia in the post-Soviet period was observed. The Indian arms market has always been open and competitive. Already in the 80-s, the British, French and Germans were actively present here. The Israelis entered the 90 triumphantly. Finally, the US broke into 2000. Russia has always been one of equals here. At best, only sometimes the first.
If, as the authors of the report actually do, to identify the concepts of “increased competition in the Indian market” and “loss of dominance”, then such a loss occurred as early as the USSR in 80. In the aftermath of this loss, Russia only from large systems delivered an aircraft carrier, a nuclear submarine, 290 Su-30MKI and Su-30K fighters to India, more than one hundred and fifty helicopters, six frigates, launched and successfully implemented a joint project for the development and production of heavy long-range supersonic anti-ship missiles and so on and so forth. The catastrophic decline of the Russian presence in the Indian market is evident.
However, with an increase in the number of players on it, the relative share of Russia really, as it was ingeniously guessed at Stratfor, may decrease. But it is just as logical to assume that such a relative decline is observed not only in Russia, but also in other arms exporters, except for the newcomer in this market - the United States. But the main thing - the expected reduction in the share does not necessarily mean a decrease in the absolute volumes of Russian exports. So, the statement by the authors of the report that the specified narrowing of the Russian share (we repeat, the numbers in the text are not confirmed) will lead to problems in the national defense industry and will cause a delay in the modernization of the army for a longer period, also contains a logical error.
The mythical “return to 90”
The second fundamentally erroneous thesis of the report is the statement that difficulties in the Indian market, combined with the impossibility of increasing (sic!) Military spending, will almost lead to a collapse of the Russian defense industry. The assumption is based on a single analogy - in 90, and now the economy of the Russian Federation is experiencing a period of low oil prices and budgetary difficulties caused by this circumstance. But that's where the similarities end. Even under the existing financial conditions, there will be no return to the export-oriented model of development and operation of the Russian defense-industrial complex. Of course, exports are very important for increasing the serial production, and with the current exchange rate - and to ensure the financial sustainability of the defense industry. But in principle this applies to one degree or another to the military industry of any country (except, perhaps, the United States) and is true for any period — at least high, though low oil prices.
For all the importance of exports, unlike 90's, it will not remain the only oxygen cushion of Russian defense companies. With all the similarities of the external economic context of modernity and 90-s, our capabilities of 20-year-old and today are fundamentally different. At the very least, the country has turned into the sixth economy of the world and is able to adequately finance national defense in any external situation. Military-political conditions also vary greatly. From partnership Russia has come to a tough confrontation with the West. The reduction of the military budget of the country is inevitable, but the defense industry will not remain without internal orders, and their volume will provide a completely acceptable level of enterprise utilization.
Another difference from 90-x is the changing role of India as an importer of Russian weapons and military equipment. Just as she herself diversified sources of arms supplies, so Russia has greatly expanded its list of clients. If in the 2007 year, India provided 45 percent of all foreign orders of the Russian defense industry, today this share has decreased to about 20 – 25 percent. If in 2000 only two countries - China and India - consumed up to 80 percent of Russian supplies, today this share falls on five to six customers. So, fluctuations in one market - Indian or any other - are far from being so critical for the stability of domestic arms exports.
So, the few figures in the report are doubtful or incorrect. The main conclusions about Russia's loss of dominance in the Indian market and about the possible collapse of the Russian defense industry in this connection are erroneous. Dominance is impossible to lose, because it does not exist for a good quarter of a century. The collapse in connection with this of the Russian MIC is impossible, because, unlike 90's, Indian orders are no more critical, although they remain very important. The examples of problematic Russian-Indian projects prove nothing. In one case (FGFA) - because the project is not. In the second (MTA) - because it seems problematic over the past 15 years. In the third - in the case of the Ka-226 T helicopters - because this project has not really begun yet.
It seems that in front of us is not an attempt to objectively analyze the situation, but a propaganda throw. An episode of a general information war against Russia in general and its arms exporters in particular. No one will be surprised if this opus is not the only one. It is not excluded that today Stratfor charlatans are inventing new discoveries about how Russia is losing the arms market in other regions of the world. For example, in Latin America, where recently the United States has sharply intensified its opposition to Russian military supplies.