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Russia agrees to quickly address urgent defence requirements sought by India

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (C) along with Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar after participating in the 75th anniversary of Victory Day in Red Square, Moscow.

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh (C) along with Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar after participating in the 75th anniversary of Victory Day in Red Square, Moscow.   | Photo Credit: PTI

Long-pending deals for AK-203 assault rifles and Ka-226T light utility helicopters figure in discussions

Russia has agreed to quickly address some urgent defence requirements sought by India and this was discussed during the recent trip of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, defence and diplomatic sources said. The long-pending deals for AK-203 assault rifles and Ka-226T light utility helicopters were also discussed in a review of the entire gamut of defence cooperation.

India will present its requirements soon and Russia has assured to address them within a few months, the sources said without elaborating. Mr. Singh was on a four-day visit to Moscow from June 21 for the 75th anniversary of the Victory Day Parade during which he held talks with Russian Deputy Prime Minister Yury Borisov. The request comes in the backdrop of the tensions with China along the Line of Actual Control (LAC) and the large-scale mobilisation undertaken by the armed forces in response to the massive Chinese build up.

S-400 deliveries to start at end of 2021

In a statement after the talks in Moscow, Mr. Singh said Russia had assured that ongoing contracts would be maintained and “in a number of cases will be taken forward in a shorter time”. However, on the S-400 deal, the sources said the deliveries would start end of 2021 as scheduled and it is difficult to accelerate the deal any further. “No further acceleration is technically possible,” a diplomatic source said while the Indian sources said the deliveries would be completed as per the contractual terms.

There is some progress on the AK-203 assault rifle deal which has been held up over pricing, another diplomatic source said. The deal for over 7.5 lakh rifles of which one lakh would be imported and 6.71 lakh rifles manufactured by a joint venture (JV) Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

However, the deal for 200 Ka-226T utility helicopters remains stuck over the level of indigenisation. To reach the indiginisation percentage as specified by the tender, Russia and India are evaluating the possibility of using Indian aviation materials in the production in India which will give the programme a new indigenisation angle and also an impetus to the domestic aero industry.

Transfer to India of a number of crucial technologies

“Another significant feature of the project is going to be the transfer to India of a number of crucial helicopter engineering technologies, including the unique coaxial scheme technologies,” two sources said adding India will have the choice to integrate domestic avionic and weapons.

Of the 200 helicopters, 60 will be imported directly and the remaining will be manufactured by a JV between the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and the Russian helicopters (RH). Several MoUs have already been signed with domestic companies by RH for localising assemblies such as fuselage, blades, radio station and landing gear among others.

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Printable version | Jul 5, 2020 6:15:55 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/russia-agrees-to-quickly-address-urgent-defence-requirements-sought-by-india/article31938828.ece

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