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Rajnath urges Russian defence industries to jointly manufacture in India

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Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh shakes hands with Minister of Industry and Trade of Russia Denis Manturov during a meeting in Moscow, Russia on Tuesday, Nov. 5, 2019. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Union Minister Rajnath Singh on Tuesday called upon the Russian defence industry to work jointly to modernise India's defence platforms and manufacture equipment to give a massive boost to the two nations' exports to third countries.

The defence minister said the Indian government is encouraging Orignal Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) to make use of the 'Make in India' initiative.

Singh was addressing the CEOs of OEMs from the Russian defence industry after jointly inaugurating the 'India-Russia Defence Industry Cooperation Conference' with Russian Minister of Industry and Trade Denis Manturov in Moscow.

He urged industry leaders to make use of the significant economic reforms undertaken by the government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to improve ease of doing business and opening up the defence manufacturing sector for foreign participation.

"We have set up defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and offer attractive terms for investment. India is ready to explore opportunities and co-production of high-end defence equipment with Russia," Singh said.

"We want collaboration with you to modernise our defence platforms by advanced and emerging technology. Indian MSMEs seek footholds in the global supply chains with support from Russian and other foreign companies," he said.

The defence minister is on a three-day visit to Russia to co-chair the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation.

He added that such industrial partnership can also address 'After Sales Support of Equipment of Soviet or Russian origin' already in service with the Indian defence forces.

Singh highlighted the Intergovernmental Agreement (IGA) on mutual cooperation in joint manufacturing of spares, components, aggregates and other material related to Russian or Soviet origin arms and defence equipment signed between India and Russia in September during the 20th India-Russia Annual Summit at Vladivostok.

He said the IGA defines broad framework of cooperation for manufacturing of spares in India by way of collaboration between Indian industry and Russian OEMs.

Singh assured that India will provide orders for procurement of agreed quantities at mutually decided price for a period not less than five years.

He expressed hope that the manufacturing under the agreement in India will lead to reduction in cost, reduction in timelines of the supplies and progressive indigenisation of spares.

"We will soon share with the Russian side the list of spares and items, proposed to be manufactured in India. I hope that Russia will identify the OEMs in the next few months who can partner in production of these spares. We are eager to see several joint industrial activities in India on the basis of the agreement in near future," Singh added.

He said that he looked forward to his meeting with Defence Minister of Russia General Sergei Shoigu on Wednesday and hoped to discuss mutual steps to facilitate Russian OEMs to take necessary actions for collaboration with Indian industry.

He also invited Russian manufacturers to participate in the forthcoming DefExpo 2020 to be held in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh from February 5-8.

Singh is accompanied by a high-level delegation, comprising senior officials of the Ministry of Defence, and the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce & Industry (FICCI).

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