Lesson from Ukraine: Be battle-ready with own weapons, says Army chief

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The three forces have been holding meetings with different suppliers and stakeholders to immediately equip themselves from other sources.

New Delhi: Army Chief Gen. Manoj Mukund Naravane on Tuesday (March 8) said the biggest lesson for India from the ongoing conflict between Russia and Ukraine is to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapons.

“The biggest lesson is we have to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapons. The wars wouldn’t just be non-kinetic and would be fought in the physical domain also,” he said in a series of television interviews.

“We have to be ready to fight future wars with indigenous weapons. Steps towards Aatma Nirbhar Bharat in defense have to be taken more urgently. Wars in the future should be fought with own weapon systems,” he stressed.

India is a major importer of defence equipment and spares from Russia and to an extent even from Ukraine.

The three forces have been holding meetings with different suppliers and stakeholders to immediately equip themselves from other sources. Efforts are also being made to ensure that whatever possible content can be indigenised is being done on a war footing.

India has a strong link with Ukraine’s military aircraft Antonov. In 1984, India became the launch customer for AN-32 military transport aircraft. Designed to withstand adverse weather conditions, AN-32s are used to ferry cargo and personnel to every terrain, including the Himalayan frontier. Even today, India operates over 100 AN-32s, though they are waiting for an upgrade to fly safely.

India is dependent on both Russia and Ukraine for the supply of critical defence equipment. IAF operates Russian-made Mi-17 and Mi-8 helicopters, and more than 70 per cent of the Indian military arsenal is of Russian or Russian origin.

INS Vikramaditya, the Indian Navy’s sole operational aircraft carrier, is a refurbished Soviet-era ship. Moreover, four of the Indian Navy’s 10 guided-missile destroyers are Russian Kashin-class. Six of its 17 frigates are Russian Talwar-class. Its lone nuclear-powered attack submarine, INS Chakra, is an Akula-class vessel.

The majority of the Air Force’s fighter jets are Russian. It operates 272 Su-30MKIs and over 100 MiG-21 Bisons.

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