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India, Russia discuss measures to boost joint production in defence

India and Russia have agreed on way to simplify export clearances to take forward joint manufacturing in defence. This was among various issues discussed during the 18th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu on Thursday.

“The two focus areas of the discussions were on further expanding military to military and defence industrial engagement between the two countries,” a defence source official said on condition of anonymity.

India is keen on moving from license manufacturing of defence equipment to joint production under Make in India. This includes allowing Indian companies, both Defence Public Sector Undertakings (DPSU) and private sector, manufacturing spares for Russian systems in India. “We have worked out some formats for end use clearances,” the official stated.

Eventually India is keen that its companies supply components and spares to export to third world countries. “There is a larger shift to that,” the official explained.

The two sides also agreed to take forward inter-governmental arrangements for facilitating joint manufacturing of spares for Russian origin equipment in India, under the ‘Make in India’ initiative, Ministry of Defence (MoD) said in a statement.

In this regard, four military -industry conferences were held between Russian manufactures and Indian companies to take the process forward.

Military to military cooperation

To enhance military to military engagement and rationalise the functioning of the joint commission, a revised Inter-Governmental Agreement on restructuring the existing IRIGC-MTC was also signed by the two ministers.

“An additional institutional working group headed by chief of Integrated Defence Staff (IDS) to the chairman chiefs of staff committee and deputy chief of the main operational directorate of general staff of armed forces of Russian federation would be set up under the expanded Commission,” MoD statement added.

The two countries signed a bilateral road map on defence cooperation in June 2017 for enhancing joint exercises and resumption of training exchanges.

India signed several big ticket defence deals with Russia recently and more are in the pipeline. In a reference to the threat of US sanctions Russian Defence Minister said in a statement, “Despite the pressure from individual States, we have signed a large package of documents and landmark contracts for supply of S-400 Triumph anti-aircraft missile systems and construction of Project 11356 frigates.”

Stating that India is ready to “deepen military and technical cooperation” with Russia, Ms. Sitharaman said that such cooperation has a “long history”.

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Printable version | May 17, 2021 10:42:52 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/india-russia-discuss-measures-to-boost-joint-production-in-defence/article25735772.ece

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