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India Scraps Major Arms Purchase with France, Inks Major Deal with Russia

India's Congress Party has canceled most of its order of 126 French Rafales and opted for a large order of Russian Sukhois

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This article originally appeared at Daily of the Breton State. It was translated by Tom Winter at Fort Russ

India has essentially annulled it gigantic arms contract with France for the purchase and combined construction of 126 Rafale fighter planes; the Indian Prime Minister agreed to buy only

36 of them during his visit to Paris last week, a responsible government source stated. Instead, India will buy 127 fifth generation Russian fighter jets.

It is part of the direct fall-out from the socialist French governments anti-Russian policy, aligned with Washington. Obedient to the US, the Le Drian/Hollande tandem chose not to turn over the Mistral ships to Russia. This about-face on the part of India constitutes a major triumph for Vladimir Putin. Moscow’s revenge against France with will cost Paris 20 billion euros.

India essentially annuls its order

The Defense Minister Manohar Perrikar indicated that if India were inclined toward the purchase of any additional Rafales, this, too, would be through government to government accords. In January 2012, India chose the Rafales in one of its most important arms purchases in decades, for a cost evaluated at 20 billion dollars, but the accord was set aside following M. Modi’s coming into office.

“One car can’t go on two highways at the same time. The other route had numerous problems” said Mr Parrikar, alluding to the former Rafale agreement with France, which had been signed by the former government led by the Indian National Congress Party.

But the minister did welcome the purchase of 36 Rafales as a “breath of fresh air” for the Indian Air force. He did not specify the number of additional Rafales to be acquired after the first ones have been directly delivered from France in two years. But buying up to 126 fighter jets would be a financially "steep hill to climb” he concluded.

Consequences connected to the delivery of the Mistral

The socialist government is paying for its alignment with American diplomacy on the delivery of the Mistral. India, now governed by Hindu Nationalists, has, in effect engaged in a movement of conciliation with China, leaning toward Russia, and disappointing American expectations about any anti-Russian, anti-China axis.

In this new viewpoint ordering French Rafales is going to depend on regular delivery of parts made in France, and also on periodic upgrades that the planes will need, in armament and navigation gear and the like. But given the refusal of France to turn over the Mistral to Russia, India fears finding itself up against US pressure on France to limit such deliveries, or to deliver parts not at front-line level. In sum, the faith and credit in France as arms supplier is largely diminished, and the Indian government has no desire to risk its strategic independence. The order, a marginal one, of 36 units is not likely to endanger Indian aviation -- which will be supplied by another source.

Partnership of the Hindu Nationalists with Russia

If India evokes “budgetary difficulties’ to wrap up a contract estimated at 20 billion with France, a glance at the discussion with Russia in the arena of armaments permits one to see where the evidence leads.

The Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Vladimir Putin in December when the hot issue was the non-delivery of the Mistral on grounds of the conflict in Ukraine. The head of the government of India, determined to enter the Shanghai Cooperation Organization alongside China, Russia, and Iran, and to free Eurasia from US tutelage, told the Russian president he wished to “keep Russia as primary partner in defense materiel.”

The Indian government therefore entered in negotiations to acquire the fifth generation Russian fighter jet, which should be emerging from the factories in 2016. The contract envisioned giving India 127 Russian fighters, of which one knows the Russian industry produces the best in the world. Russia has undertaken to accelerate production in order to deliver the first fighters in 36 months.

Cost? 25 billion Euros. I.e. five billion more than the contract negotiated with France. In sum, the budgetary excuses are a diplomatic means of turning to the oldest and most important military partner of India: Russia.

The two countries have a long history or cooperation in this domain andthey have the intent to resolutely emancipate Eurasia from  American domination, an intent that prevails in the heart of the new Indian government, and which has accelerated the turnabout.

Chessboard Check to the Le Drian/Hollande tandem

This check of the antirussian policies asked for by Le Drian and Holland is not done yet with its consequences for the French arms industry. Le Drian, future candidate in the regional elections of 2015 and current Defense Minister, will do anything to avoid addressing the Mistral question, which has struck a decisive blow to the the shipyards of Saint-Nazaire.

An Atlantist, Le Drian has considerably damaged the interests of Brittany as well as of France, since the cost of the non-delivery of the Mistral has set France back at least 20 billion euros, five times the cost of a Mistral.

The impact of the Russian counter-attack on France is considerable, both for the mid-term and the long term.

Meanwhile, the regime’s press, anxious to assuage the government, prefers to congratulate itself for some days now over the deal with 36 Rafales to India, a matter of not calling to mind the disastrous effects of a foreign policy firmly aligned with Washington.


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