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India, Russia to review crucial military projects

INS Vikramaditya. An Indian Navy photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): India is expected to take up the issues of progress made in the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier project and pricing of the fifth generation fighter aircraft project during Defence Secretary R K Mathur's meeting with his Russian counterparts in Moscow today.

The Defence Secretary is leading a high-level tri-services team comprising three-star rank officers from the three services, and the status of ongoing projects such as Gorshkov, which is now rechristened as INS Vikramaditya and FGFA are expected to come up for discussion, Defence Ministry sources said here.

In the delegation-level talks scheduled to be held today, the two sides are also expected to discuss the futuristic joint development projects for the armed forces, they said.

The meeting is also expected to discuss the ammunition requirements of the artillery and the tank fleet of the Army and the upgrade of the T-90 tanks.

However, it is not clear whether the Indian side will raise the issue of mishap on its Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhurakshak, which had come back from Russia a few months ago after an extensive refurbishment in a shipyard there and is believed to under warranty till January 2014.

India is planning to involve the Russian side into the investigations in the mishap after the completion of the Board of Inquiry into the matter.

It is learnt that the two sides are also planning to discuss the upgrade of one more Kilo Class submarine INS Sindhushastra, the last of the 10 submarines procured by India from Russia.

India had procured ten Kilo class vessels from Russia in early 1980s and the deliveries were made in 14 years from 1986 to 2000.

On the Admiral Gorshkov project, the Russian shipyards are carrying out the sea trials of the warship and it is expected to be delivered to India by the end of this year.

The FGFA is a co-development project between India and Russia whose Preliminary Design Phase programme was completed on June 19 and the Research and Development contract is under negotiation between the two countries to define the total scope, the work share and responsibilities of each side, and the financial implications of the programme.

The visit by the Defence Secretary to Russia was scheduled in June but had to be postponed as Mathur had just taken over his new responsibility at that time.

The visit by the Defence Secretary is to prepare ground for Defence Minister A K Antony's visit there during the October-November timeframe this year.


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