SVE NEWS & The Economic Times Sharing Series – India, Russia defence logistics sharing pact likely to be signed by year-end

NEW DELHI: India and Russia are finalising a defence logistics sharing pact that can enable seamless access to each other’s military bases and support facilities, and the formal agreement is likely to be signed at the annual summit planned later this year.

The Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement will simplify interoperability and enable support to military platforms like warships and aircraft and is of significance as Russia continues to be a leading arms supplier to India, with joint exercises also increasing in recent years.

Sources indicated that the pact is currently being negotiated and could be signed at the next edition of the annual summit when President Vladimir Putin is on a visit here later this year. This gains significance as the pact is being planned to be signed close on the heels of the worst Sino-India stand-off along LAC in decades.

Russia has assured steady supplies of weapons following India’s request for a variety of equipment under the emergency purchase clause, including missiles, assault rifles and key ammunition. Under the pact, warships will get access to mutual ports and exclusive economic zones to refuel and pick up supplies.

The Indian Navy, with a significant strength of Russian origin warships, will be able to smoothly transit through for exercises or refits using the agreement while the air force will find it easier to deploy aircraft for joint exercises. Fighter aircraft will also get access as per the proposed pact. There could also be a component of deployment of troops in each other’s country up to a certain number as part of the proposed agreement.

Following the agreement, Russians could use ports like Mumbai and Vishakhapatnam for refuelling. India, of course, could do the same, when it came to Russian ports and airbases. This includes access to northern route and ports in Russian part of Arctic. India is looking at an Arctic station in near future and Russia could be a partner. Russia has also assured India access to energy resources in the vast Arctic region.

The two sides are planning to relaunch Chennai-Vladivostok shipping route as part of their emerging partnership in the Indo-Pacific region. This can feed into defence logistics pact.

India already has similar defence logistics sharing agreements with its largest training partner—the US. A similar agreement was also inked with France—another big ally for joint exercises—in 2018. Australia signed the pact last month while discussions are on to finalise the agreement with Japan.

Sources from: The Economic Times

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