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Indian Air Force says Russia can’t meet arms deliveries due to Ukraine war

Russia is unable to honor its arms delivery commitments to India because of the war in Ukraine, the Indian Air Force (IAF) said, placing a potential strain on New Delhi’s relationship with its largest defense supplier as Moscow attempts to ramp up weapons production.

An IAF representative told an Indian parliamentary committee that due to the Ukraine war a “major delivery” from Moscow “is not going to take place.”

The admission, published in a report by India’s lower house of parliament on Tuesday, is the first official confirmation by Indian authorities amid swirling rumors and reports in local media suggesting shortcomings in Russian capacity.

“They have given us in writing that they are not able to deliver it,” the representative said, according to the report.

CNN has contacted the Russian Embassy in New Delhi but did not receive a response at the time of publishing.

The report did not mention the specifics of the delivery.

The biggest ongoing delivery is the S-400 Triumf air defense system units India bought in 2018 for $5.4 billion. Three of these systems have been delivered and two more are awaited, Reuters reported.

IAF also depends on Russia for spares for its Su-30MKI and MiG-29 fighter jets, the mainstay of the service branch, according to Reuters.

Russia is the world’s second-largest arms exporter, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI).

Earlier this month, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced a large-scale effort to build up capacity to produce more weapons for the war in a move he said was “urgently needed.”

Strained relations: New Delhi has strong ties with Moscow dating back to the Cold War, and remains heavily dependent on the Kremlin for its military equipment — a vital link given the ongoing tensions along India’s shared Himalayan border with an increasingly assertive China.

The admission by the IAF is “very serious,” according to Harsh V. Pant, vice president of studies and foreign policy at the New Delhi-based think thank Observer Research Foundation.

“I think it underscores the problems that (India) has been bedeviling this relationship for quite some time,” he added. “And the Ukraine crisis has accelerated the trend that India, for a very long time, has been trying to diversify, and was concerned about its overdependence on Russia.”

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