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India is seeking to distance itself from its largest arms supplier after Russia’s ability to supply munitions and spares was hobbled by the war in Ukraine, but must step carefully to avoid pushing Moscow closer to China, Indian sources said.
The world’s biggest arms importer is slowly turning West as the United States looks to strengthen ties in the Indo-Pacific region, hoping to contain an ascendant China by weaning the South Asian nation off a traditional dependence on Russia.
Russia supplied 65% of India’s weapons purchases of more than $60 billion during the last two decades, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, but the Ukraine war hastened the impetus to diversify its weapons base.
“We are not likely to sign any major military deal with Russia,” said Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Russia expert at New Delhi think tank the Observer Research Foundation. “That would be a red line for Washington.”
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