MOSCOW: Russia has signed a contract to supply Igla-S handheld anti-aircraft missiles to India and allow production of the Igla there under licence, the Russian state news agency TASS quoted a top arms export official as saying today.
The Igla-S is a portable air defence system (MANPADS) that can be fired by an individual or crew to bring down an enemy aircraft.
“We have already signed the corresponding document and now, together with an Indian private company, we are organising the production of Igla-S MANPADS in India,” TASS quoted Alexander Mikheyev, head of the state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, as saying.
India is the world’s largest arms importer and Russia remains its largest supplier despite the damage to the reputation of its army and weaponry from the war in Ukraine, where Russia has suffered numerous setbacks at the hands of a smaller but highly motivated and Western-equipped military.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia accounted for 45% of India’s arms imports between 2018 and 2022, with France providing 29%, and the US 11%.
Another Russian state news agency, RIA, quoted Mikheyev earlier as saying that “Rosoboronexport is working with Indian private and public enterprises to organise joint production of aviation weapons and integrate them into the existing aviation fleet in India.”
No details were provided about which Indian companies would be involved or when potential production would start.
Mikheyev said Rosoboronexport and Indian partners had provided the Indian ministry of defence with Su-30MKI fighter jets, tanks, armoured vehicles, and shells.
At the beginning of the year, India and Russia also started joint production of AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles.