Indo-Russian defence deal


INDIAN Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin signed multi-billion dollar energy and defence pacts on Saturday following talks on the sidelines of BRICS summit at Goa. The twenty agreements signed by the two countries include, among others, joint manufacturing of helicopters in India, supply of frigates and an initial agreement on India’s purchase of Russia’s state of the art defence system, capable of shooting down multiple incoming missiles. As per Indian defence officials, the most modern and lethal S-400 surface-to-air missiles are meant to strengthen India’s defence along its borders with China and Pakistan.
No doubt, this is a deal between two sovereign states but Pakistan has reasons to feel insecure as India has always used its military might against Pakistan. As India is no match to China as far as military muscle is concerned, it is quite obvious that the Indian arms build-up is mainly directed against Pakistan. This is also confirmed by recent events as India has been hurling threats and frequently talks about surgical strikes. The latest Indo-Russian deal comes at a time when there is growing impression that Moscow wants to maintain closer ties with Pakistan in different fields including defence. Russia went for joint military drills with Pakistan despite propaganda and opposition by New Delhi, which wanted Russia to side with it openly in its anti-Pakistan posture. However, Russia did not oblige and joint exercises went through as planned. Russia and India had been in talks for years over helicopter manufacturing and supply of missile system and it seems Prime Minister Modi cleared the deal to given an impression of Russia moving closer to India than Pakistan. Russia too has huge business stakes in the deal as its economy is facing recession. Despite all this, Pakistan should convey to Russia that if it takes into account Indian concerns on some issues then it should also be sensitive to Pakistan’s concern about its legitimate security issues. It is also time for Pakistan to shore up its defence capabilities in collaboration with friendly countries especially China in the face of Indian military build-up. India is undergoing a $100 billion upgrade of its Soviet-era military hardware and for this purpose it is entering into agreements with different suppliers including the United States and Israel. Tel Aviv supplies $1 billion arms annually to India and talks are in advance stages for procurement of sophisticated arms and technology worth $3 billion. Apart from strengthening capabilities of army, steps are direly needed to equip air force and navy so that they could counter moves of the enemy effectively.