June 27
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India, the world's largest buyer of Russian weapons, is looking for alternative suppliers, Reuters claims.

New Delhi has long been talking about diversifying the suppliers of its huge military and even producing more equipment domestically, goals that have taken on new urgency since the Ukraine crisis, two government officials said.

India needs 25.15 billion rupees ($324 million) worth of defense equipment, which it wants to be produced by domestic firms rather than bought from overseas, according to an online platform on which the Defense Department posts its requirements.

"The present world order and geopolitical scenario, which is very, very turbulent, has also taught us a lesson," Air Marshal Vibhas Pande, who leads maintenance operations for the Indian Air Force, said this month.

"If we want to provide certainty and stability ... the only option is to have a totally self-reliant or self-sustained supply chain mechanism established within the country," Pande told defence manufacturers in New Delhi.

Another document says that the Indian Air Force is looking for equipment such as ejection blocks for Russian Sukhoi fighter jets and propellers for Ukrainian Antonov transport aircraft.

According to a senior government official, India intends to produce up to half of its defense equipment at home.

The Indian armed forces employs 1.38 million people and is one of the world's largest arms importers, having spent $12.4 billion between 2018 and 2021, the SIPRI Arms Transfers database shows.

The Indian army is equipped with Russian-made tanks and Kalashnikov rifles. Its air force uses Sukhoi fighter jets and Mi-17 transport helicopters, and the naval aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya was formerly part of the Russian navy.

In recent months, some of India's Western partners, including Britain and the United States, have indicated their willingness to expand their defense offerings to New Delhi.

The army, which is making significant efforts to guard India's long borders with China and Pakistan and has fought wars with both neighbors, is working on a three-pronged approach to preparedness, a second government official said.

The government is looking into which Eastern European countries are using weapons and platforms similar to the Indian military and may be able to provide spare parts and ammunition.

The Indian authorities are also urging their Russian counterparts to implement some of the key projects already agreed upon, the official added. Among them are the supply of S-400 missile systems and a deal to produce more than 600,000 AK-203 Kalashnikov assault rifles at a new plant in northern India.

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