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India's Defence Relations With Other Countries

Published on Thursday, September 21, 2017
India's Defence Relations With Other Countries

Defence for any country is important to maintain its sovereignty as well to protect itself from the other nations. In the context of India, Defence includes Army, Navy and Airforce. Since the independence, India maintains strong defence relations with many countries.

Some of the Major Defence partner countries of India are

  1. Russia
  2. USA
  4. JAPAN

Which are explained as follows


  • Defence cooperation is an important pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership. The defence relation between Indian and Russia is guided by the Programme for Military-Technical Cooperation signed between the two countries which is valid till 2020. 
  • The Apex structure in this mechanism is India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), which was set up in 2000. Under it, the two Defence Ministers meet annually, alternately in Russia and India, to discuss and review the status of ongoing projects and other issues of military-technical cooperation 
  • From the time independence, Russia plays crucial role in the defence needs of the country. 

Some of the contribution of Russia to Indian defence are

1. Brahmos Missile: Brahmos supersonic cruise missile has been designed and developed by India (DRDO) & Russia. It has top supersonic speed of Mach 2. It is two-stage missile, the first one being solid and the second one ramjet liquid propellant. It is capable of carrying a warhead of 300 kilograms, both conventional and nuclear. Brahmos missile stands as an important landmark in the defence relations between India and Russia

2. INS Vikramaditya:  It is India’s first aircraft carrier 

3. Akula class nuclear submarines- Recently India signed to lease Akula class-II submarines from Russia 

4. In 2016 India has signed a defence deal with Russia to purchase five state of art S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defence systems. S-400 ‘Triumf’ long-range air defence missile system is one of the most advanced long-range defence systems in the world. It has capability to destroy incoming all airborne targets at ranges of up to 400 km. Another important feature of S-400 Triumf is its capability of firing three types of missiles

5. Kamov 226-T helicopters: Kamov 226T is a light multipurpose helicopter designed for work in difficult conditions like high mountains, hot climate and marine areas. Another important aspect of Kamov 226-T is it is made in India under Make in India initiative

6. The two countries are also engaged in joint design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.

Every year Joint exercises between the two Armed Forces are held under the title "INDRA". From 2017 onwards both countries decided to conduct trilateral exercises in the name of INDRA. It will be India’s first bilateral military exercise with any country involving all three services

Defence relations with USA:

  • Till the end of cold war in 1991, most of the defence needs of India are catered by Russia. India’s formal cooperation with US in the area of defence started 1995. 

US defence relations with any country is guided by four agreements. They are

1. General Security of Military Information Agreement (GSOMIA), was signed by India and the U.S. in 2002. The agreement enables the sharing of military intelligence between the two countries
2. The second agreement, the Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA), was signed by the two countries in 2016. The LEMOA permits the military of either country to use the others' bases for re-supplying or carrying out repairs.
3. The Other two agreements that have not yet been signed are the Communications and Information Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geospatial Intelligence.
One of the important contribution to India by US in the field of defence is M-777 Ultra-Light Howitzers

Recent Changes: The years 2016 and 2017 are landmarks in the defence history of India and US because LEMOA agreement was signed in 2016. Recently, The US House of Representatives has passed National defence authorization act, which designates India as Major defence Partner. It puts India on a par with the closest allies and partners of the US. The designation of this status is unique to India, a non-NATO ally of US. It will facilitate US to transfer of advanced defence technology to India. It will also strengthen institutional effectiveness of US-India Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTII)

Another significant feature in India-US defence relationship is Exercise Malabar. It is joint trilateral navel exercise between India, Japan and US


  • India has established full diplomatic ties with Israel from 1992. Though before 1992 India had defence relations with Israel it gained further momentum from 1992. The rise of Islamic extremist terrorism in both nations has generated a strong strategic alliance between the two 
  • Now, Israel became the second-largest source of defence equipment for India, after Russia. 
  • From the defence point of view, Israel is an important country for India
  • Recent Visit of PM Modi to Israel (first PM to visit Israel) has opened a new chapter in the history of India-Israel defence relations 

Some of the important defence contribution to India by Israel are

1. LR-SAM Barak-8: India and Israel jointly developed most advanced Long Range Surface-to-air missile Barak-8. It has the capability to identify and neutralize various forms of aerial threats like rockets, UAVs (Unmanned aerial vehicles) etc.
2. Israel is the largest supplier of Drones and UAVs to India
3. Indian Govt brought Advanced Israeli Phalcon AWACS which Detects Hostile aircraft, Cruise missiles even before radars.

Defence relations with France:

  • Under Project 75, six Scorpene submarines are being built with assistance and technology transfer from DCNS of France Kalvari, first of the Indian Navy’s Scorpene class stealth submarines built under the Project 75, under collaboration with France 
  • Recently India and France signed have signed an agreement to purchase 36 Rafael fighter jets. This is the first fighter aircraft deal signed by India with other countries since the purchase of Sukhoi aircraft from Russia in the late 1990’s. These aircrafts is capable of carrying out all combat missions such as interception, air defence, in-depth strikes, ground support etc. 
  • Exercise Shakti is the joint military exercise between Indian and French armies 

Defence relations with Japan:

  • India and Japan have close military ties particularly with regard to security in Indian Ocean
  • India is planning to buy the US-2 ShinMaywa aircraft from Japan for its navy. India is also negotiating to purchase US-2 amphibious aircraft for the Indian Navy 
  • The Malabar trilateral exercise between Japan, the U.S. and India 
  • Recently, India and Japan agreed to setup Defence cooperation which is an important milestone in India-Japan defence relations 

Defence relations with Bhutan:

  • Virtually All the defence related matter of Bhutan is overseen by India. Under the 2007 India-Bhutan Friendship Treaty, both countries have agreed to cooperate closely with each other on issues relating to their national interests. The Indian Military Training Team (IMTRAT), headed by a Major General also plays a critical role in training Bhutanese security personnel. 
  • Moreover, the Eastern Army Command and the Eastern Air Command of India have integrated protection of Bhutan into their role. 
  • Recent Doklam issue once again highlighted the defence relations between India and Bhutan 

Questions based on India defence relations:

Question 1. 

Which of the following country is the World’s largest importer of arms?
a. USA
b. China
C. India
d. Russia
Ans: India
Explanation: As per recent report of SIPRI (Stockholm International Peace Research Institute) India remains as World’s largest importer of arms accounting 14% of global arms imports, followed by China 4.7%

Question 2. 

Project 75 is the joint venture between India and
a. Japan
b. France
c. Russia
d. USA
Ans: France
Explanation: Under Project 75 India will construct 6 Scorpene class submarines with Air Independent Propulsion System for Indian navy by 2022 with the assistance of technology transfer from France

Question 3. 

The name of Second Scorpene class submarine that is built under Project 75 is
a. INS Kalvari
b. INS Khanderi
c. INS Virat
Ans: INS Khanderi
Explanation: INS Kalavari is the first Scorpene class submarine that is built under project 75

Question 4. 

Long Range Surface to Air missile BARAK-8 was jointly developed by India and
a. Israel
b. USA
c. Russia
d. France
Ans: Israel

Question 5. 

Which is the only country that India conducts tri-services military exercise
a. Russia
b. Israel
c. Japan
Ans: Russia
Explanation: India and Russia for first time are going to conduct tri-services exercise known as INDRA, involving their armies, navies and the air forces in October 2017. Before this Exercise, INDRA is only a naval exercise between India and Russia

Question 6. 

Which of the following option correct about Exercise MALABAR
a. It is a joint exercise between India, US and Israel
b. It is a joint exercise between India, US and Japan
c. It is a joint exercise between India, China and Israel
d. It is a joint exercise between India, Russia and Israel
Ans: b

Question 7. 

Recently M777 ultra-light howitzer artillery guns are in news, which of the following that supply M777 guns to India
a. Russia
b. France
c. US
d. Japan
Ans: C
Explanation:  Indian Army will get its first artillery guns called M777 nearly after 30 years from the induction of Swedish Bofors guns. It will be deployed in high altitudinal ranges in Ladakh

Question 8. 

Which is the largest defence partner of India?
a. USA
b. Russia
c. Israel
d. Japan
Ans: Russia
Explanation:  Despite India expanding its military ties with the US, Europe and Israel, Russia remains India’s number one defence partner. Russia supplies 68% of India’s arms import while US supplies 14%

Question 9. 

Recent Doklam issue is in between which countries?
a. India, China and Pakistan
b. India, Bhutan and Myanmar
c. India, China and Bhutan
Ans: C
Explanation: Doko La (Doklam) is a strategical tri-junction of India, Bhutan and China

Question 10. 

Which of the following is the largest exercise in terms of troop’s participation in series of military training exercises undertaken by India with various countries
a. Hand in Hand
b. Surya Kiran
c. Shakti
Ans: b
Explanation: Surya Kiran is the series of bilateral military exercises between India and Nepal

Most common facts for Indian defence relations with other countries:

1. Exercises:

Name of the Exercise
Countries involved
India and Singapore Navy
Indian and Australian Navy
Mithra Shakti
India and Srilanka armies
Nomadic Elephant
India and Mongolian army
Indian France Air Exercises
Inter service military exercise involving all the services
Of Indian armed forces (army, navy and air force)
Hand in Hand
India and China
Indian and Brittan
Surya Kiran
India and Nepal

2. Indian famous defence deals with other countries:

Name of the defence equipment Name of the country involved
Rafael fighter jets
Brahmos missiles and Akula class submarines
Scorpene class submarines/ Project 75
Kamov helicopters
S-400 Triumf air defence systems
Aircraft Gripen (Yet to finalize the deal)

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