Toronto, ON, Canada, — India is facing a decision that will affect its military and political future for a long time to come: whether to buy Russian or U.S. military hardware. Cost and capability are critical, but history and political realities cannot be ignored. U.S. high-tech weapons are like a finely tuned sports car, whereas similar Russian weapons are built like a freight truck – rugged and cheap. Third world nations tend to prefer the Russian hardware. Other than being cheap, Russian equipment does not require highly advanced infrastructure for maintenance, and the Russians do not insist on intrusive end-user monitoring.
U.S. weapons are the preferred choice of its allies, of course. Others with deep pockets, such as Arab nations, also buy these weapons. There is a huge marketing and publicity effort under way in India to discredit Russian hardware, partly thanks to defense hardware salesmen with political connections. Also, the Indian military would like to diversify its procurement sources. It will prefer any deal that includes technology transfer.
India’s dilemma: U.S. or Russian weapons
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