India today voiced confidence that its agreement with Russia on a 10-year military and technical cooperation from 2011 would help enhance the operational capability of its defence forces in the next decade.

The agreement which was among the three defence pacts signed between India and Russia after the annual summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev provides for acquisition, licensed production, upgrades and modernisation of defence equipment as well as the development of new and advanced weapon systems.

“The agreement would help enhance operational capability of Indian Defence forces in the next decade by providing various Defence equipment systems,” Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told newsmen wrapping up the prime minister’s talks with the Russian leadership that also included prime minister Vladimir Putin, who as the earlier Russian President sowed the seeds for Russia’s strategic partnership with India.

“it will also facilitate capacity development of the Indian Defence Industry,” she said.

Taking bilateral defence ties to a new high, the agreement on After Sales Support for the Russian Arms and Military equipment supplied to India is being seen by Indian officials as an excercise to facilitate timely and adequate supply of spares and services for maintaining a high level of readiness and integrated maintenance of Russian made military equipment supplied to India.

Ms. Rao noted that Indian and Russian leaders have focussed on priority areas of bilateral partnership and how the two countries intend to take this forward through intensive efforts in the coming months ahead.

At the India-Russia CEO’s Council meeting last night, Rao said the Russian co-chair of the council Vladimir Evtushenkov spoke of the prospects for cooperation in the field of telecommunications.

The potential for collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry was also stressed at the meeting, she said.

The prime Minister at a news conference yesterday underscored how India could help in supplying affordable drugs to Russia because of the excellent know-how it had in this field.

Both Singh and Medvedev spoke of the potential for India and Russia to forge ties in the pharmaceutical industry.

The Indian co-chair Mukesh Ambani spoke of the opportunities for Russian participation in the infrastructure development sector and cooperation in pharmaceuticals, including joint development of new technologies in the Health sector, as also telecommunications.