Amid India's longest-ever border standoff with China, the nation's military is rushing to provide winter gears and weaponry to thousands of troops in the high-altitude region Ladakh amid freezing conditions. India has expedited several defence purchases, including that of air defence missile systems and 33 fighter jets from Russia..
As India continues to acquire winter gear amid boiling tensions with China, Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar will visit Moscow on Monday to ensure the replacement of weaponry and discuss the progress of a new project. The visit is to review weapon purchase orders and discuss the manufacture of AK-203 assault rifles in India, in addition to other reasons, sources informed Times Now. The visit also comes ahead of a scheduled visit by Russian President Vladimir Putin to India for the annual bilateral summit between the two countries. The two countries have marked several high-level visits following India’s border stand-off with China, which began this spring, with Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Sigh visiting Moscow twice and external affairs minister S. Jaishankar visiting to attend a Shaghai Co-operation Organisation meeting. During the visit to Moscow in June, Rajnath Singh urged the Russian side to expedite the delivery of air defence missile systems and spare parts for the military equipment. Sources in New Delhi confirmed that the two countries are also in the advance stage of negotiations for India to acquire Russian made Sprut light tanks at cost of around $68 million. India also hopes to receive a short range air defence missile system at an early date. Russia continues to remain one of India’s largest defence equipment suppliers despite the threat of sanctions from the US. The Indian defence ministry recently approved the purchase of 21 MiG-29 planes and a dozen Su-30 jets from Russia, worth over $2.43 billion. The India-China tensions have yielded one of the biggest military logistics exercises in years, entailing a build-up of thousands of troops, vast quantities of ammunition, winter supplies and food in sub-zero temperature Ladakh, where tensions escalated in June following hand-to-hand combat between the armies.