14:51 GMT +321 September 2019
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    Demand for Russian Weapons Grows as Langkawi Exhibition 2017 Kicks Off

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    The 14th Langkawi International Maritime and Aerospace (LIMA) exhibition 2017 has attracted over 555 participants from 36 countries. A total of 101 aircraft, 61 ships and boats will be on aerial and static displays.

    Reports coming in from LIMA suggest that new contracts are being signed for supplies of Russian arms to countries of Southeast Asia. The regional market is one of the most important for Russia despite its geographical distance.

    According to expert from the Center for Strategic Research Anton Tsvetov, the growing demand for Russian weapons speaks not only of the quality of Russian equipment but also of regional tensions.

    The terms of contract for the supply of 12-18 multi-purpose SU-35 fighters of the 4+ generation are being discussed with Indonesia. The same fighters are being supplied to China. Other potential buyers include Venezuela and Vietnam.

    Furthermore, it has become known that a contract for the purchase of two diesel-electric submarines of project 636 Varshavyanka is being discussed with Indonesian partners. Last year, the last of six such submarines was delivered to Vietnam in the framework of a flagship contract for Russian-Vietnamese military-technical cooperation.

    The representative of Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) also reported on the supply of an additional batch of Yak-130 combat training aircraft to Myanmar.

    Russia’s participation  at the exhibition in Langkawi is another reminder that the Southeast Asian market is of great importance for Russian weapons. The largest buyer of Russian arms remains Vietnam, but for countries such as Malaysia, Russian technology, especially aviation, is critical for combat capability of the armed forces.

    According to Tsvetov, the first steps are being taken in the direction of military-technical cooperation with partners such as Thailand and the Philippines as the munitions and military equipment are one of the few markets in Southeast Asia where Russia is highly competitive.

    “The relatively inexpensive but high quality weapons can compete in developing markets of the region without bringing “the baggage” in the form of political demands or set standards in the field of democracy or human rights,” the expert said.

    In this sense, growing tension in Southeast Asia accounts for the growth of the defense needs.

    At the same time, obtaining military assistance from the United States is fraught with a loss of trust with China and has some internal limitations as well. Russia’s motives, in turn, are not being questioned in Beijing.

    The expert stressed that it is important to understand that for Russia, arms deals in Southeast Asia  are still more centered around commerce than politics. However, arms exports remain an important tool whose promising political influence should not be underestimated.

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    Tags:
    business, export, military, technology, Yak-130, Su-35, Anton Tsvetov, Langkawi, Malaysia
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