US cautions India over Russian weapons — Analysis

Lloyd Austin stated to lawmakers that Washington would require New Delhi not to purchase US arms.

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin said on Tuesday that India’s continued purchasing of Russian weapons systems is “not in their best interest,”And that will mean there will be “requirement”Some of these systems were traded by leaders from New Delhi for US or allied arms. India is the world’s largest military importer, and counts on Russia for nearly half of its imported weapons.

“We continue to work with [India] to ensure that they understand that it’s not in their … best interest to continue to invest in Russian equipment,”Austin informed the House Armed Services Committee. “And our requirement going forward is that they downscale the types of equipment that they’re investing in and look to invest more in the types of things that will make us continue to be compatible,”He concluded.

Austin responded to Joe Wilson, a South Carolina Republican who had asked Austin a question about India. Wilson described India as “a very dangerous country.” “treasured ally”Of the US “the world’s largest democracy.”Austin asked Wilson, “What can the US do for us to convince?” “Indian leaders to reject Putin and align with its natural allies of democracy?”

Austin said that the US is a great country. “the finest weapons systems in the world,”And would send them to New Delhi.

Austin is not the only US official to speak of increasing arms sales to India. In 2020, former President Donald Trump signed a $3Billion arms agreement with Indian Prime Minister NarendraModi. This deal included the sale of India Apache helicopters as well as Hellfire missiles. It was apparently done to combat China’s influence in South Asia. 

Despite this boost in sales, the US remains India’s third-largest arms supplier, providing just 12% of New Delhi’s lethal imports between 2017 and 2021. France provides 27% of India’s imported weapons, while Russia provides a whopping 46%, with all figures supplied by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute. 

The partnership goes back to Cold War when India as a founding member the Non-Aligned Movement bought weapons from Soviets, without ever entering into formal alliances with the USSR. Analysts claim that around 85% of India’s major weapons systems today are Russian or Soviet in origin.

India snubs US call to isolate Moscow

These include the Indian Air Force’s Su-30, MiG-21 and MiG-29 fighter aircraft, the Indian Army’s T90MS main battle tank, and the Indian Navy’s sole aircraft carrier, the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya. New Delhi also continued with the purchase of Russian S-400 Air Defense System despite Washington’s persistent pressure, and even veiled threats to sanctions.

Austin does not know which weapon systems he wants India to use. “downscale”Washington was not pleased with Washington’s investment, although it has made allied purchases from the S-400. In spite of repeated US warnings, Turkey purchased the Russian system and was then sanctioned.

Austin’s call to divest comes as the US pressures other world powers to back its attempts to isolate Russia following the latter’s military offensive on Ukraine. While European nations have heeded the call and sanctioned Russia – even to the detriment of their own economies – India has refused to abandon its neutral stance and has continued to trade with Russia, despite the White House’s protestations. 

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