Armenian Selection of Indian Defense Radar Systems is Symbolic Step Away from Russian Dominance
On March 2, Indian government sources disclosed that India had been awarded a $40 million defense export contract by Armenia, over other contenders from Russia and Poland. Per the agreement, India’s Defense Research and Development Organization (DRDO) and state-owned Bharat Electronics Limited (BHEL) will supply four indigenously-produced weapons-locating radars (WLR), called “Swathi” that have been modeled after the American, ANTPQ 36/37 radar system. The sale is noteworthy, considering Russia has, by a large margin, been the country’s dominant military supplier (and dominant also in other strategic sectors, such as energy, power and rail). Under the leadership of current Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan, however, the government has looked for ways to break free from the often overbearing patronage of Moscow.
Not surprisingly, the Armenia-India deal has been viewed with caution by Russia’s state-owned Sputnik News Service, which stated,
“…such diversification of purchases will not change the status quo of Russian weapons in the Armed Forces of Armenia.”
Moscow has shown disdain for foreign military presence in Armenia in the past. In December 2018, Russian Foreign Minister, Sergei Lavrov said that a joint document was being drafted that would guarantee that Armenia not host any foreign military personnel. Around the same time, Russian officials were allowed to inspect U.S.-funded facilities in the country.