India-Russia Strategic and Defence Partnership – All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC

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  • July 22, 2020
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India-Russia Strategic and Defence Partnership

Search 23rd June, 2020 Spotlight here:   


General Studies 1

  • World History

General Studies 2:

  • India and its neighbourhood
  • Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests.

In News: Mr Singh arrived in Moscow on a three-day visit at the invitation of the Russian Ministry of Defence to attend the 75th Anniversary of Victory Day Parade. His visit to Moscow is the first foreign visit from India of an official delegation after the COVID pandemic.

  • Mr Singh’s visit to Russia comes in the midst of the escalating border standoff between India and China, particularly after the killing of 20 Indian Army personnel by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15.
  • The relations between India and Russia are one of “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” and the ongoing military contracts between the two sides will be maintained and in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time. 

The Contracts

Ongoing contracts will be maintained and not just maintained, in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time. 

The Military and technical cooperation has been the key areas of the privileged Strategic Partnership between the countries. Russia has been the main and the preferred supplier of military platforms to India for seven decades.

  • In October 2018, India had signed a USD 5 billion deal with Russia to buy five units of the S-400 air defence missile systems, notwithstanding warning from the Trump administration that going ahead with the contract may invite US sanctions.
  • Last year, India made the first tranche of payment of around USD 800 million to Russia for the missile systems. Moscow was to begin the delivery of the system by the second half of next year.
  • Russia has been one of India’s key suppliers of arms and ammunition. However, it has been a long-standing grievance of armed forces that supply of critical spares and equipment from Russia takes a long time affecting maintenance of military systems procured from that country.

Why is it required?

  • Russia has deferred delivery of lethal S-400 missiles to India due to the Covid-19 pandemic. China, which is also a strategic partner of Russia, already has S-400 systems in its arsenal which can detect, track and destroy any hostile weaponry.
  • According to a newspaper report, the Indian government has commenced the process of filling up gaps in defence readiness, stocking-up supplies and developing inventory profile based on worst-case scenarios, including a two-front conflict with China and Pakistan.

The S-400s

  • One of Russia’s most sophisticated long-range surface to air missiles and arguably the most versatile in the world with over half a dozen types of surface to air missile each specialised in intercepting different types of targets at different ranges.
  • Makes use of an advanced cold launch system and is capable of guiding up to 160 missiles simultaneously and engaging up to 80 targets at a time – including combinations of ballistic and cruise missiles and all types of manned and unmanned aircraft.

The platform is prized for its advanced capabilities against stealth aircraft and will allow Indian air defences to threaten advanced next-generation jets fielded by China’s People’s Liberation Army Air Force such as the Chengdu J-20 – as well as upcoming Pakistani stealth fighter being developed with China under Project AZM.

75th Anniversary of Victory Day Parade

Victory Day marks the end of World War II and the victory of the Allied Forces in 1945. Adolf Hitler had shot himself on April 30. On May 7, German troops surrendered, which was formally accepted the next day, and came into effect on May 9.

2.3 million Indian troops had helped the Allies win the Second World War.

India and WWII

Role of Indian Army

  • Approximately 2.5 million Indian soldiers served in World War 2. Over 36,000 Indian soldiers lost their lives, 34,000 were wounded and 67,000 were taken prisoners of war. Indian soldiers of the British Army earned 17 Victoria Crosses, the highest military honour under the British.
  • Noor Inayat Khan –The well-known Spy was tortured and executed by Germans.
  • The Indian soldiers, on the ground, fought courageously in every battle and built an envious reputation which the Indian Army has carried forward to this day. Their exploits were seen in East and North Africa, Italy, Burma, and as far out as Singapore, Malay Peninsula, Guam, and Indo China. The role played by Air Force pilots from India are legendary and well documented. Pilots like MS Pujji and Prithpal Singh’s feats are among many who left their mark. The list of names and achievements is indeed long.
  • In the East, the Indian soldiers, as part of the British Indian Army, fought against the Japanese and were responsible for ultimately securing South East Asia that included Singapore, the Malay Peninsula and Burma.

Contributions beyond Army:

  • Indian doctors and nurses were deeply involved on the British soil and other countries. In 1939, the Indian Comforts Fund (ICF) was established at India House in Aldwych that was run by Indian and British women. Between 1939 and 1945, the ICF supplied over 1.7 million food packets to soldiers and Asian prisoners of war, besides putting together warm clothes and other supplies.
  • The nation contributed by collecting food and other material to support the war. Kolkata was the Allies’ Rest and Recreation point, where American and British soldiers stopped to rest and recuperate before heading back to war .
  • India was also home to Italian POWs. As early as 1941, a batch of Italian POWs, which included four Generals, arrived by ship at Mumbai. Ranchi, capital of Jharkhand today, had a camp where POWs were housed.

Nationalist leaders views during World War II

On 1 September 1939, 2nd World War broke out. The British Government without consulting the people of India involved the country in the war. The Congress vehemently opposed it.

As a mark of protest the Congress Ministries resigned in all the seven Provinces on 12 December 1939

  • The Indian National Congress, led by Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel and Maulana Azad, denounced Nazi Germany but would not fight it or anyone else until India was independent.
  • Congress launched the Quit India Movement in August 1942, refusing to co-operate in any way with the government until independence was granted.
  • In Singapore, Bose formed the Azad Hind Fauj (Indian National Army or INA) to conduct a military campaign for the liberation of India. 

Connecting the Dots:

  1. In what ways, World War II was different from World War I? Analyse.
  2. Give a brief description of the manner in which countries aligned themselves after WWII. What were the implications of this alignment for the world at large? Examine.
  3. Discuss the contribution of Indians in the two World Wars.

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