India Learns how to say “Ouch” in Russian
The government of India has learned a harsh lesson on the perils of placing trust in Vladimir Putin’s Russia. Now it, like Russia, stands humiliated before the world. Its decision to buy a squandron of MiG fighters and an aircraft carrier from Russia will likely go down as one of the stupidest decisions in the annals of military history.
Last week, India and the world learned that “Russia has grounded a major chunk of its MiG-29 fleet due to structural defects.” India already has 60 of these planes in its arsenal, and is due to get 16 more for its Russian carrier, with an additional purchase of 30 being contemplated. But delivery was supposed to occur this month, and now has been postponed indefinitely after the tail fins of two MiG’s disintegrated in flight last year, causing spectacular crashes. And delivery of the carrier itself is now uncertain, as Russia has tried to jack up the price by a whopping $2 billion.
Russia admits that nearly 100 MiG inspections have revealed planes that are unsafe to fly since those crashes, roughly half of all those that have been tested. Last year, Algeria rejected a shipment of 15 MiGs for inferior quality, a move that humiliated Russia in the extreme.
India’s MiG squandrons are crucial to its defense of its Western border with Pakistan and Kashmir, and as a result India is now exposed as fundamentally vulnerable. Rather than striking fear into the hearts of India’s rivals in Pakistan, the Indian air force is now instilling only fits of convulsive laughter mixed with perhaps some pity. What will happen if India ever gets the chance to put to sea with Russia’s aircraft carrier — much less if it is ever force to actually use the carrier in battle — is too horrifying to contemplate.
Any nation who does business of this kind with neo-Soviet Russia richly deserves the suffering it gets. It is totally inconsistent with India’s status as the world’s largest democracy to provide financial support to the neo-Soviet dicatorship of Vladimir Putin, and we urge the government of India to see that not only is it betraying the principles of democracy by dealing with Putin, it is betraying its own basic national security interests.
India, meet Russia. Russia, India.