The Indian Air Force (IAF) has declared that Russia cannot provide the necessary defense equipment it promised due to the conflict in Ukraine.

The Indian Air Force has confirmed that New Delhi is concerned that the Russian incursion into Ukraine in February 2022 may disrupt military equipment deliveries from India’s primary supplier.

For decades, India has relied upon Russia (and the Soviet Union before it) as its primary source of arms and defense supplies.

India has invested billions in arms imports, with Russia accounting for approximately $17.29 billion from 2001-2011 alone, as indicated by the SIPRI Arms Transfer Database. 

Arms Imports
(Source: Source: SIPRI Arms Transfer Database)

For the last twenty years, New Delhi has endeavored to reduce its reliance on Moscow and has instead turned its attention to France, America, and Israel.

Historically, India has relied heavily on Russian defense systems to keep its armed forces up-to date-and well-equipped with the latest technology. This close relationship between India and Russia has existed since the country’s independence in 1947.

The Indian Air Force has always considered Russia as the primary supplier of its aircraft fleet. Over time, the two countries have co-developed several advanced fighter jets, such as the Su-30MKI and MiG-29UPG, now central components of the IAF’s arsenal. The same is true for armored vehicles, air defense systems, and other types of military hardware – most of it coming from the Russian Federation.

To keep its armed forces up-to-date and well-equipped, India has also had long-term arrangements with Russia for co-developing and transferring military technology. This partnership was significantly impacted by the Ukrainian conflict in 2014, which disrupted supply lines due to economic sanctions imposed on Russia. Despite this, India continues to rely heavily on the Russian defense industry and actively pursues joint development projects. While there may be some delays due to the sanctions, India hopes its relationship with Russia will remain strong and profitable as they continue developing new weapons systems tailored specifically for the Indian Armed Forces.