As Western sanctions have caused the Rouble to plummet to record lows, Moscow is hunting for weapons verses goods deals.
Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov was in Thailand last week talking to the Thai Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister Prawit Wongsuwon where he proposed military cooperation and countertrade.
Gen Prawit suggested both sides form a joint working group to consider Thai weaponry needs and that Russia considers countertrade deals for Thai farm products for mutual benefit, the Bangkok post reported.
Gen Prawit said Russia had started to import frozen pork from Thailand last December and he hoped it would import more Thai farm products, food and natural rubber in the future.
A Russian source told Defenseworld.net that the free fall of the Rouble was making imports of goods from Europe, even those not under sanctions, impossibly expensive for Russian companies. “We dont have a choice but to turn to low cost markets such in Asia and South America for import-export, said the source.
Russia’s biggest markets are India and some countries in South East Asia. In India, it is executing several large contracts worth billions of dollars whose price was decided in hard currency much before it was slapped with sanctions. So it may not offer weapons for food deals.
However, in countries such as Thailand, Malaysia and Indonesia where it is offering its helicopters, aircraft and land systems, making countertrade offers may prove attractive for the buying country as well.