India, Russia Agree to Ink Defence Deals
India and Russia on Wednesday agreed on a slew of proposed defence deals, some of which are likely to be inked during President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December. These include licensed production of 42 SU-30 MKI aircraft in India and procurement of 59 MI-17 V-5 helicopters. These deals were discussed during talks between Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov here. Both sides also agreed to intensify and raise the level of joint Army and naval exercises.
India plans to have a fleet of 300 plus SU-30 jets and has crossed the half-way mark. While the original contracts were for 276 jets, the proposed deal for 42 jets will see the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) manufacturing them here. Similarly, India is already in the process of acquiring 71 MI-17 helicopters for Defence and Home Ministries and plans to acquire 59 more machines.
Serydukov said the two countries were now working to produce 1,000 BrahMos supersonic missiles and Russia was keen to upgrade Russian-origin aircraft of IAF and the Infantry Combat Vehicles of the Army. Brahmos is the first joint venture between the two countries to jointly design and manufacture weapons systems. As regards delivery schedule of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Serdyukov said, “We are expecting the final certification for the aircraft and initial start of production by the year 2020.”