India is looking to domestic firms and eastern European nations for military gear and ammunition, as the world’s biggest buyer of Russian arms seeks alternative suppliers at a time when Moscow is fighting a war with Ukraine and facing sanctions, Report informs citing Reuters.
New Delhi has long talked of diversifying the suppliers to its huge armed forces, and even making more equipment at home, objectives that have taken on new urgency since Russia’s invasion, two government officials and a defence source said.
India has identified 25.15 billion rupees ($324 million) worth of defence equipment it wants domestic firms to make this year, and avoid buying abroad, according to an online platform where the defence ministry lists its needs.
“The present world order and geopolitical scenario, which is very, very turbulent, has also taught us a lesson,” Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, who leads maintenance operations for the Indian Air Force, said this month.
“If we want to provide certainty and stability … the only option is to have a totally self-reliant or self-sustained supply chain mechanism established within the country,” Pande told defence manufacturers in New Delhi
However, he did not specifically mention the conflict in Ukraine, which Moscow calls a “special military operation”.
The Indian air force is looking for equipment such as ejection pods for Russian-designed Sukhoi fighter jets and propellers for Ukraine-made Antonov transport aircraft, another document showed.
Within three years, Pande said, the air force aimed to source all tyres and batteries for critical aircraft fleets from domestic firms such as MRF.
India aims to produce as much as half its defence equipment at home, a senior government official said on condition of anonymity.
The defence ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on India’s reliance on Moscow for military hardware and whether the war in Ukraine, and Russia’s slow progress, were concerns.
India employs 1.38 million people in its armed forces and is one of the world’s largest arms importers, spending $12.4 billion between 2018 and 2021, with Russia accounting for $5.51 billion, the SIPRI Arms Transfers Database shows.
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