Daily Management Review

United States Attempts To Lure India Away From Russia By Displaying F-35s And Bombers


United States Attempts To Lure India Away From Russia By Displaying F-35s And Bombers
This week, the US brought the F-35, its most advanced fighter jet, along with F-16s, Super Hornets, and B-1B bombers to India for the first time in an effort to lure New Delhi away from Russia, its longtime military supplier.
India, which is frantically trying to update its largely Soviet-era fighter jet fleet in order to increase its air power, is worried about Russian supply disruptions brought on by the conflict in Ukraine and is under pressure from the West to sever ties with Moscow.
The largest American delegation in the 27-year history of the Aero India show in Bengaluru, which ends on Friday, highlights the expanding strategic partnership between the United States and India.
Russia, who has been India's top weapons supplier since the days of the Soviet Union, had a minimal presence in contrast. State-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport shared a booth with Almaz-Antey, United Aircraft, and tanks, trucks, radars, and airplanes in miniature.
Despite the fact that Russia hasn't brought a fighter jet to Bengaluru in ten years—since India started considering more European and American fighter jets—Rosoboronexport had a more prominent location for its stall in earlier iterations of the show.
The second aircraft carrier of the Indian Navy is already receiving fighter jets from Boeing F/A-18 Super Hornets, and the air force is also receiving Lockheed Martin's F-21, an upgraded F-16 created for India and unveiled at Aero India in 2019.
Tensions with China and Pakistan have brought a $20 billion air force proposal to purchase 114 multi-role fighter aircraft into sharp relief, which has been on hold for five years.
According to an Indian Air Force (IAF) source, India is not considering the F-35 "as of now," but the first-ever display of two F-35s at Aero India was a sign of Washington's growing strategic importance to New Delhi.
According to independent defense analyst Angad Singh, it was "not a sales pitch" but rather a signal of the value of the bilateral defense relationship in the Indo-Pacific region.
"Even if weapons sales aren't the cornerstone of the relationship, there is a cooperation and collaboration at the military level between India and the U.S.," he added.
The nations that are permitted to purchase F-35s from the United States are chosen carefully. Rear Admiral Michael L. Baker, the defence attache at the American embassy in India, responded that New Delhi was still "very early in the stages" of deciding whether it wanted the plane when asked if it would be offered to India.
Requests for comment regarding the IAF's interest in F-35s were not answered by an IAF spokesperson.
Before the show, state-run Russian media outlets reported that Moscow had given New Delhi arms worth roughly $13 billion over the previous five years and had placed orders for another $10 billion.
In the last six years, the United States has authorized the sale of arms to India totaling more than $6 billion. These sales include transport aircraft, helicopters like the Apache, Chinook, and MH-60, missiles, air defense systems, naval guns, and P-8I Poseidon surveillance aircraft.
In addition, India wants to increase domestic defense equipment production in partnership with multinational corporations, initially to meet domestic demand and ultimately to export advanced weapon platforms.