India-Russia to bolster defence ties

Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoygu held a bilateral meeting in Moscow on Thursday to discuss ways to reinforce defence cooperation between the two sides. “The talks were aimed to reinforce defence cooperation between the two countries focusing specifically on Military Technical Cooperation,” the Defence Minister’s official Twitter handle said.

The Defence Minister also met her Chinese counterpart General Wei Fenghe, who was appointed in March as the Minister of National Defence and the State Councillor. However, officials said it was a mere courtesy meeting during the plenary session of the 7th Moscow Conference on International Security.

Ms. Sitharaman also met Vietnamese Defence Minister General Ngo Xuan Lich on the sidelines of conference.

Ms. Sitharaman began her first visit to Russia as Defence Minister with a meeting with Russian Minister of Industry & Trade, Denis Manturov. “The discussion focused on enhancing defence production cooperation and creating synergy between the defence industries of the two countries,” officials said.

Proposal for MRO

During her visit, Ms. Sitharaman is expected to propose to the Russian side to consider setting up MRO (maintenance, repair, overhaul) facilities for Russian systems in India under the “Make in India” scheme, and to convert India into a hub for Russian spares for rest of the region.

The two sides are also expected to finalise a major deal for supply of transport helicopters, worth over $1 billion for 80 more MI-17V-5 helicopters.

From the Russian side, the latest offer is of a squadron plus of MIG-29 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. Besides, the two sides are expected to discuss the purchase of S-400 air defence missile, as well as the acquisition of Kamov-226T helicopters, for replacing the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters.

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Printable version | Jan 17, 2022 1:46:56 AM |

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