Su-35 nudge?

Top guys in Israeli and Russian establishments such as Deputy NSA Maj Gen (ret) Amos Gilad and Ambassador Alexander Kadakin respectively are fond of saying where military supply and security cooperation is concerned that “the sky is the limit”! But the sky has a limit — restricted to the belt around the earth with oxygen — beyond which’s space. Which’s to say Moscow has reached its limit, and is starting to make things very sticky for India. One of the costs of relying on outside powers — any external supplier — for armaments, as I have been stressing over the years, is the country puts itself in a tourniquet that can be turned tight any time. Kremlin has already indicated with its sale of the Mi-35 attack helicopters to Pakistan that it will not hesitate to push India into a hole. With the news that Su-35 fighter-bomber with AESA radar — that the Strategic Forces Command had sought as dedicated manned bomber element in the strategic triad, is now being offered Islamabad. It exposes Indian pigeons to the Paki cat.It may well be that this is a tactic to nudge New Delhi into choosing this aircraft as the MMRCA need that 36 Rafales cannot meet with full TOT and all the aircraft produced here to meet “Make in India” strictures. But the threat is real of the Russians substantively arming Pakistan with frontline armaments to make up for the loss of Indian sales. But lots more is at risk. To-date Russia has been the only country that has helped India out in its most sensitive projects — Arihant SSBNs, Agni missiles, etc. It is not the sort of assistance available in the market or that any other country will be willing to give for love or money. Assuming India will eventually reach the point of arms independence despite resistance from an imports-loving Indian military, then it is now in the transition stage when some hand-holding will still be required. However, an alienated Russia may imperil the larger strategic objective. The Modi government has to be very careful that in its desire to court the West it doesn’t take the wrong step.

About Bharat Karnad

Senior Fellow in National Security Studies at the Centre for Policy Research, New Delhi, he was Member of the (1st) National Security Advisory Board and the Nuclear Doctrine-drafting Group, and author, among other books of, 'Nuclear Weapons and Indian Security: The Realist Foundations of Strategy', 'India's Nuclear Policy' and most recently, 'Why India is Not a Great Power (Yet)'. Educated at the University of California (undergrad and grad), he was Visiting Scholar at Princeton University, University of Pennsylvania, the Shanghai Institutes of International Studies, and Henry L. Stimson Center, Washington, DC.
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7 Responses to Su-35 nudge?

  1. mnas dhar says:

    Russia can sell the Su-35 to an economically insolvent Pakistan at their own peril. Let us assume they do take that risk, how many squadrons can they sell….1 or 2 at most. India is the largest buyer of outdated, expensive and low quality Russian tech. Up to 30% of Russia’s arms exports find there way into the Indian defense forces. If this is there way of playing hardball to force our hand on the PAK-FA issue or the MMRCA , they should realize that we can play that game too.

  2. archit says:

    Arent we buying a whole lot of stuff including lots of the untried and very expensive PAK-FA, which they wont share the design with us for love or money? Didnt they blackmail us over the Gorshkov Deal ? Then why hold the hand of such ppl?

    • The West is even worse. France has taken our money in the past but not delivered technology in TOT deals. The US hardfware can be grounded anytime the Administration of the day decides India is going against its interests. So, what have we left?

  3. Rahul Gupta says:

    Looking the the present scenario…. It seems we are being fooled by the west as well as our old ally Russia….. & we cannot see it or perhaps trying not to see it.

  4. Shaurya says:

    Let us wait and see what ACTUALLY happens. A wise man has said most of these reports are just that – report. They never see the light of the day. So relax.

  5. Rahul says:

    The Russians should understand that 2015 is not early 1990’s when India was not a darling of Western capitals….These blackmail and pressure tactics which is a replica of their efforts in early 90’s to sell Su-27 to PAF eventually leading India to buy an upgraded version, Su 30MKI wil not work in 2015…Agreed the geopolitics of this region has changed a lot during the intervening years, maybe Russia needs Pakistan more these days compared to 1990’s but these sort of pressure tactics will not lead us to abandon Rafale and settle for untested(from IAF’s pilot perspective)Su-50’s…..

    I am more concerned about a news report originating in Chinese media outlets that China has test flown the world’s first hypersonic plane yesterday and it is not the WU-14…Whether it was a manned aircraft or unmanned one is not clear though….And we are still waiting for Tejas Mk1 FOC….


  6. Veer says:

    What are the consequences of getting cozy with Western imports ? How would this affect joint projects such as Brahmos II, PAK-FA ?

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