Russia and India Collaborate on Igla-S Anti-Aircraft Missile Production

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In a recent development, Russia has inked a deal to supply Igla-S hand-held anti-aircraft missiles to India, marking another chapter in their long-standing defense partnership. The contract not only entails the provision of Igla-S systems but also grants India the license to produce these man-portable air defense systems (MANPADS) domestically.


Alexander Mikheyev, the head of Russia’s state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, confirmed the agreement, stating, “We have already signed the corresponding document, and now, together with an Indian private company, we are organizing the production of Igla-S MANPADS in India.” The move underscores the collaborative efforts to strengthen India’s defense capabilities.


Russia remains a key player in India’s defense landscape, accounting for 45% of the country’s arms imports from 2018 to 2022, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI). France and the United States follow, providing 29% and 11%, respectively.


Despite Russia’s dominance in arms supply to India, recent challenges in Ukraine have impacted its military reputation. The war showcased setbacks for Russia against a smaller yet highly motivated and well-equipped Ukrainian military.


Beyond Igla-S, Mikheyev revealed ongoing collaborations, stating, “Rosoboronexport is working with Indian private and public enterprises to organize joint production of aviation weapons and integrate them into the existing aviation fleet in India.” However, specific details about the involved Indian companies and the commencement of production remain undisclosed.


In a broader context, the defense ties include the supply of Su-30MKI fighter jets, tanks, armored vehicles, and shells to India. Additionally, the collaboration extends to the joint production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles, a venture that commenced at the beginning of the year.


The latest agreement not only reinforces Russia’s role as India’s primary arms supplier but also signifies a strategic move towards self-reliance in defense manufacturing through licensed production. The collaborative efforts between the two nations continue to shape the defense landscape in the region.

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