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Indian Defense Contracts With US Premised on Politics Rather Than Military Affairs: Experts

© AP Photo / Evan VucciUS President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi
US President Joe Biden and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi  - Sputnik India, 1920, 23.06.2023
New Delhi signed a MoU with US conglomerate General Electrics to produce jet engines in India, followed by a deal for armed drones inked with General Atomics.
Recent Indian defense deals with the US are politically motivated and not based on the premise of military affairs, two Russian experts told Sputnik on Friday.

Alexander Mikhailov, the head of the Bureau of Military-Political Analysis, made the comments after the US bagged two big-ticket defense contracts from India - a multi-billion deal for 31 Predator armed drones and co-production of GE-F414 engine for the Indian Air Force's LCA Tejas Mk2 fighter jet.

US Competing Against Russia For India Defense Market

The US is a competitor of Russia in the Indian market, Mikhailov explained, highlighting that the Americans are trying to impose sanctions not only on Russian organizations but also on Russian intermediaries, contractors, and clients of Russia.
Those who buy Russian weapons and equipment are also subject to sanctions, he said, adding: "so that they do not buy it".
India is now in a situation where it needs to either become an enemy of America or continue to develop its relations with Russia, he noted.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi greets supporters as he arrives in New York on Tuesday, June 20, 2023. - Sputnik India, 1920, 21.06.2023
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However, India is not buying the latest generation of American aircraft, they are not buying missile weapons as Russia produces them.
The analyst added that Russia exported military technology to India and China, and New Delhi and Beijing compete very seriously with each other and they are always in a state close to a military conflict.
"Therefore, the Americans are playing their game here and it is beneficial for them to drive their wedges between India and Russia, India and China," Mikhailov elaborated.
He pointed out that the Indians are very smart in geopolitics. They have long learned to maneuver between these East-West centers and maneuvered very skillfully back in the days of the Cold War between the Soviet Union and the United States.
Mikhailov also stressed the economics of the drone deal, highlighting that the UAVs were extremely expensive.

Cost of American Drones Compared With Russian Jets

The same MQ-9s cost an average of about $30 million apiece. This is already the cost of a fighter of the Su-30, and Su-35 level in terms of cost. That is, one must understand that these machines are very expensive.
A U.S. Air Force B-1B Lancer bomber, right, flies with an Indian Air Force light combat aircraft Tejas on the inaugural day of Aero India 2021 at Yelahanka air base in Bengaluru, India, Wednesday, Feb. 3, 2021. - Sputnik India, 1920, 22.06.2023
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"But at the same time, mind you, he [Modi] does not refuse any contracts with Russia. He continues military-technical cooperation with Russia. The Indians continue to buy our equipment, and we are localizing the production of certain types of weapons in India. There is more politics here than military affairs," he commented.

Meanwhile, Dr. Alexey Kupriyanov, an expert in South Asia and Indian Ocean studies at the Russian Academy of Sciences, talked of the agreement for the maintenance and repair of the US warships and aircraft in India and if it would pose a risk to India.

Indian Access to American Naval Ships a Demonstrative Step

Kupriyanov said that there is a reservation there that the weapons be used only in peacetime, as is usually done. Most likely, this is just such an improvement in American operational capabilities.
"Most likely, these are not American military bases in India. This must be understood because this is the Indian principled position that there are no foreign military bases on our territory, no extraterritoriality, nothing of the sort," he elucidated.
The Americans understand what this gives, but on the Indian side, this is a demonstrative step, because in general, recently Chinese submarines have become more frequent in the Indian Ocean, and there have been numerous cases when the Chinese requested a call to the port of Colombo for repairs in Sri Lanka, to Burmese ports, the geopolitical expert stated.
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