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By Kris Osborn - President & Editor-In-Chief, Warrior Maven

The Russian and Indian militaries are somewhat quietly strengthening a partnership which includes joint military drills, technological collaboration and the Indian acquisition of thousands of AK-203 assault rifles.

The Indian military may even acquire Russian-built S-400 air defenses, according to Russia’s TASS news agency. Russian and Indian foreign and defense ministers met recently to discuss extending partnerships in the military sphere, the paper said.

S-400

A Russian S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile system in Red Square, Moscow. Photo: Xinhua

This growing partnership between India and Russia raises interesting questions regarding the global balance of power in light of the U.S. wish to strengthen its own partnership with the Indian military to deter and counterbalance China.

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“Russia and India signed in New Delhi an inter-governmental agreement on a program for military-technical cooperation for 2021-2030. The agreement provides for cooperation among various branches of the armed forces, and also the supplies and development of armaments and other military hardware,” the TASS paper says.

Should there be any kind of unanticipated confrontation between India and China, Russia’s sizeable and formidable land forces would be well positioned to close-in on China from the North. However, Russia is also building its own collaborative alliance with China as well, something which seems to complicate the overall equation in a geopolitical sense. Would it be possible for Russia to maintain close military-to-military ties with both India and China? What about the U.S.?

Could India have divided loyalties? Certainly it intends to safeguard its border with China and, to that end, may be looking at multiple partnership avenues through which to stake a powerful stand against Chinese provocations along the Indian border. The U.S. Navy clearly seems to see India as a critical ally in its need to contain China in the Pacific and strengthen its Naval presence in the region.

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Could India get caught between Russia and the U.S., given the state of tensions between the two superpowers? Certainly seems possible, and it is something which could cause some tensions within India as Russia is in close proximity to India’s sensitive border areas and occupies the same continent. The U.S., however, can very significantly help with India’s Naval presence in places such as the Indian Ocean or Pacific theater. India would be quite challenged to project Naval power into the Pacific and appears to be somewhat aligned with the U.S. “Quad” countries willing to collaborate to contain China in high risk areas such as the South China Sea or Taiwan Straits. 

Kris Osborn is the defense editor for the National Interest and President of Warrior Maven -the Center for Military Modernization. Osborn previously served at the Pentagon as a Highly Qualified Expert with the Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army—Acquisition, Logistics & Technology. Osborn has also worked as an anchor and on-air military specialist at national TV networks. He has appeared as a guest military expert on Fox News, MSNBC, The Military Channel, and The History Channel. He also has a Masters Degree in Comparative Literature from Columbia University.

Kris Osborn, Warrior Maven President

Kris Osborn, President, Warrior Maven - The Center for Military Modernization