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Defence relation in different perspective

Russia as the main successor state of the Soviet Union inherited the lion’s share of the Soviet MIC. Arms export were considered crucial for the very survival of the cash starved defence industries owing to the paucity of domestic defence order, India emerged as a major buyers of Russian military equipment.

With the end of the Cold War and the demise of the Soviet Union, Russian defense plants lost nearly 80 percent of their funding from the Russian government. At the same time, these defense plants lost export earnings due to the loss of the traditional Soviet block markets as well as the general decline in the world arms market.

During the 1990s, the Russian defense budget dropped to levels that were a fraction of those of the Soviet era, and manifestly insufficient to support all or even many of the existing defense industry firms.

These developments affected the market share of the Russian defence industry in the international market, including in India.

Thousand of highly qualified scientists and technician emigrated abroad. In 1999, only 20 percent of Russian defence industry plants were functioning and that many were about to closed. Machinery and equipment in Russian defence industries are became old and out-dated. It has been pointed out that during 1999 and 2000, less than 5 percent of the machinery was less than five years old, while over 75 percent were more than 10 year old. About one-third of the machinery was more than 20 years old. Aging manpower is another problem. The average age of the workers is mid fifties.

Added to these factors is also the fact that Indian armed forces have often complained about persistent problems with spare parts and maintenance support for the Soviet/Russian equipment. In some systems, their performance has sometimes degraded.

Another problem area is shortage of fund for R & D. Moreover, the Russian defence industrial sector is known for its general lack of transparency. All this is cautioning India policy makers not to risk putting all eggs in one basket and diversify the source for defence supplies.

The easy availability of cheap spare parts is a problem area in defence relationship. The problem existed even during the Soviet period. There were delays and bottlenecks in getting timely supply of spare parts. While the Soviet weapons were cheap, Soviet spare Part were not. Another negative feature of defence relationship has been the indifferent quality of the equipment supplied at times. During the Kargil war of 1999, a majority of the Krasnopol precisionguided munitions was found to be defective. Similarly, other equipment like the T-90s was handed over to India without some of the necessary weapons like missile firing systems.

In 2000, the state arms monopoly Rosoboronexport was created to exercise control over almost all the Russian arms exports and supply of spare parts. Russia adopted free market philosophy. They started demanding unreasonably high prices for their hardware. They started making unreasonable demands. Russian demanded became equal to the Western.

Delay in the supply of Equipment has been a constant problem. For instance, the deadlines set for the supply of SU- 30 MKI were not met. There was also delay in upgradation of MiG-21 to the Mig-21-93 level. Even the Su-30MKI aircraft that India has been received did not have all the Features. Submarine was supposed to arrived in India last year in September, now is expected to arrive next year in March April. The original contract for India to acquire the aircraft carrier was signed in 2004 with delivery scheduled for 2008 after refurbishing. The date has now been pushed back to 2012.