Russia Losing Out in Indian Arms Market

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Russia continues to be one of the top weapons exporters around the world, having sold products worth $7 billion by September 2012, states official agency "Rosoboronexport." Yet when it comes to one of the largest global arms markets -- India -- historically active Russian sales have take a serious setback.

Moscow recently lost the fourth consecutive Indian tender for the supply of military aircraft -- the winner in the contest for six aerial refueling tankers was European A330MRTT over Russian IL78MKI. Previous Russian losers in the Indian market included MiG-35 fighter planes, as well as Mi-28NE and Mi-26T2 helicopters.

The defeat in four Indian weapons tenders, including recent attempted sales of refueling aircraft, cost Russia approximately $14 billion of lost profits. Such numbers point to the continuing importance of India -- and Asian market in general -- as the key area of military sales and acquisition. Russian military exports continue to do well on the global market -- second only behind the United States -- yet Indian refusal to purchase Russian equipment points to the changing technological and political priorities of New Delhi, which recently started prioritizing military purchases from the United States and Israel.

Such series of defeats in the Indian tenders indicate a systemic crisis in the military-industrial and arms export complex of Russia, states Part of it is ill-conceived export policy and Russia's actual marketing strategy. If the United States brings to the international exhibitions actual working samples of their products, Russia, as a rule, "teases" potential buyers with booklets and toy plastic models of its weapons. Even simulated air combat, which is so popular in the West as part of weapons marketing, is rarely seen with Russian equipment.

Yevgeny Bendersky is the Senior Strategic Advisor for International Operations at Jenkins Hill International, LLC and a RealClearWorld contributor.
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