Thursday, 22 June 2017

India-Russia Strategic Connection




Though India in recent years has increasingly turned to the US for mega arms deals, Russia can take solace from the fact that defence projects worth around $10.5 billion are on the verge of being finalized.

After the news of Lockeed joining hands with Tata to produce F-16 in India, Defence minister Arun Jaitley will be leading a high-powered military delegation to Novosibirsk and Moscow this week, at a time when Russia is keen to restore the long-standing numero uno position in the large and lucrative Indian arms market. Since decades, Russia has been India’s largest and reliable arms supplier, with military-technical contracts worth $65 billion since 1960 during the Congress government in the centre.

Around sixty per cent of equipment with the Indian armed forces is of Russian origin, from MiG and Sukhoi-30MKI fighters to T-90s tanks, kilo-class submarines, Talwar-class frigates and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya. Russia is now facing a stiff challenge from the United States of America, which has bagged Indian arms deals worth $15 billion since 2007.

However, there are some ongoing projects with Russia, such as – Indian Air Force has inducted 240 of 272 Sukoi jets contracted for over $12 billion, with bulk of them being licensed produced by HAL. The Indian army has inducted 1,000 of 1,657 T-90S main battle tanks being contracted for over $4.5 billion, with 1,000 of them being licensed produced by OFB.

Besides this, there are some other projects in pipeline with Russia. The negotiations are on for lease of a second nuclear-powered submarine for $1.5 billion. India currently operates INS Chakra. The purchase of five S-400 Triumf air defence systems for $5.5 billion, the acquisition of 4 Grigorivich-class stealth frigates (two to be built in India) for $4 billion and the joint production of 200 Kamov-226T light utility helicopters for over $1 billion. And of this 140 of them to be built in India.

As reported earlier, India will ink the long-pending final R&D contract for the FGFA – it will require an estimated $25 billion to induct 127 such single-seat jets, only if there is extensive transfer of technology. The cost benefit analysis is still under way. India is yet to be convinced about the economic and technical viability of going in for the multi-billion dollar joint development and production of a fifth-generation fighter aircraft called Sukoi T-50 or PAK-FA with Russia.

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 MyPost

Truck drivers of India

Trucking in India is a world by itself. It is generally believed, within the truck community there is a quiet friction between drivers from the north and south India. One can barely see divers from north, mainly Punjab, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh or Rajasthan spend time or chit chat with those from Karnataka, Andhra, Kerala or Tamilnadu; may be its due to the cultural divide or a mutual suspicion. Most drivers speak or understand 2-3 languages. Dhabas or road-side hotels are the drivers’ favorite eating and resting spot.

As the trucks ply all over the country, even the remote corners, it is one of the best media or vehicle to advertise and spread social messages across the country. One of the most interesting aspects is the lines or messages painted on the back side of the truck. The most common is – Horn Please. Ok! Some lines are funny and some thought provoking. 

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Picture Post:
India Parliament building in New Delhi
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