India-Pakistan: November 18, 2000



After months of speculation, India has finally signed the long-awaited $3 billion arms deal with Russia. The deal covers:

@ 140 or more Su-30MK long-range fighters to be built in India under license. India previously ordered 40 of these, of which 18 have been delivered and the other 22 are due by 2002 (at which time the first 18 will go back to Russia to be upgraded to the improved standard of the other 22). The Indians acknowledge that this purchase alone will start a major arms race with Pakistan.

@ 310 T-90S main battle tanks, of which 124 will be bought outright from Russian factories and the rest will be built from kits (with some Indian components) at the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi. The final price is yet to be set for this buy as the Russians want more cash than India has offered.

@ The old carrier Gorshkov will be sold to India, after the Indians pay Russia $750 million to refit and rebuild it. The ship will gain a 12 degree skijump bow to support STOBAR (Short Take Off But Arrested Recovery) operations. India is negotiating separately to buy 20 MiG-29Ks and six Kamov helicopters to form the air group.

@ India and Russia have signed yet another deal for cooperation in peaceful nuclear energy, a deal that the US regards as a thin veil for the steady flow of nuclear weapons technology to the Indians. Russia is building two huge 2.6mw reactors in Tamil Nadu for $5.2 billion and has refused US pressure to cancel this project as it needs the cash.

@ India and Russia have set up a joint military-industrial commission that will ensure Russia invests money in Indian defense industries and jointly markets Russian-designed weapons produced in India. This commission is also to work out another huge arms sale including S300PMU1 anti-aircraft missiles, BM9A52 Smerch multiple rocket artillery, and the lease of four Tu-22M Backfire Bombers.--Stephen V Cole


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