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India, Russia to boost military cooperation

MOSCOW/NEW DELHI (PTI): India and Russia on Monday decided to step up military ties as they sought to firm up a multi-billion dollar deal for the new generation Russian S-400 Triumf anti-ballistic missile system and possible leasing of a second nuclear submarine besides other deals.

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, who is in Moscow for the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission for Military- Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), signed a military-technical cooperation agreement with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu.

Defence Ministry sources said Parrikar's efforts are to firm up major contracts that could be signed during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Moscow in December.

While sources remained tight-lipped about the negotiations for the Triumf missile systems, they said a government to government deal could very well be signed during Modi's visit.

If India signs the deal, it would be the second customer of the prized missile system after China which had struck a USD 3 billion contract earlier this year.

The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300, had previously only been available to the Russian defence forces.

The S-400, manufactured by Almaz-Antey, has been in service in Russia since 2007.

The air defence system is capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and can simultaneously engage 36 targets. It has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

Another key plan is the leasing of a second nuclear submarine.

In 2012, India had leased a 12,000-tonne Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra, for a ten-year period.

Defence sources confirmed that talks have been on for leasing of a second nuclear submarine.

Parrikar also set the stage for the inking of an agreement with Russia during Modi's visit for the manufacture of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.

India also raised the issue of serviceability of Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets and sought for a smooth and reliable supply of spare parts and systems.

The meeting was attended by representatives of the Security Council of the Russian Federation, the Office of the Russian Government, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Industry and Trade as well as federal service on military and technical cooperation of Russia.

"Consolidated position of our states has a stabilising influence on the international situation," General of the Army Shoigu was quoted as saying in a statement by the Russian Defence Ministry.

He added that the important constituent part of the Russian-Indian strategic interaction was the military cooperation.

Shoigu said the most important aspect of this cooperation is the joint exercises.

He called for an increase in the level of joint military training and exercises.

Both countries have shown readiness for effectively combating modern challenges and threats, Shoigu noted.

Speaking about the military and technical cooperation, he noted that Russia and India had achieved the level of close industrial cooperation.

"Looking ahead there is the creation of multirole transport aircraft, a fifth-generation fighter as well as a number of projects in the military naval field," Shoigu said.

On his part, Parrikar expressed condolences to Russia over the loss of lives in the air crash in Egypt.

He stated that Russia had been and remained the leading partner of India in the field of defence.

Parrikar said the intergovernmental commission is the main mechanism of facilitation of cooperation between both countries.

He stressed that cooperation in defence field played a very important role in such a strategic partnership and it was necessary to do everything in accordance to mutual profit and respect in order to develop the partnership.

Parrikar said India wanted to develop the partnership in the way of participation of the Russian military industrial companies in the 'Make in India' initiative.

He said India had taken several efforts to provide opportunity for external participation in 'Make in India' within the defence field. The Indian military industry department is ready to provide future assistance, Parrikar said.

"The parties have positively assessed the course of works on designing of a forward-looking multirole fighter and multirole transport aircraft, licensed production of Su-30MKI and T-90S as well as implementation of the programme aimed for creation and production of Brahmos complexes, modernisation of MiG-29 aircraft and submarines of project 877EKM," the Russian statement said.

The two leaders also noted the great potential of cooperation in the field of missile and naval technologies, aviation and ship industry as well as modernisation of the military hardware of the land forces.

"Moreover, the Ministers of Defence exchanged their points of view concerning the state and prospects of the Russian-Indian military cooperation...A Protocol aimed at further development of bilateral cooperation between Russia and India was signed," it said.


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