November 19, 2013

India, Russia discuss issues related to aircraft, tank deals

Against the backdrop of issues over the work share in the over Rs 1.2 lakh crore fifth generation fighter aircraft project with Russia, India today said both the sides must give their best for execution of the "significant" programme.

During the Defence Minister-level meeting between the two sides in Moscow, the two countries also decided to extend their strategic partnership and to have the first exercise between their air forces next year.

In the meeting taking place two days after Indian Navy inducted aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya, the Russian side said its naval aviation specialists will train Indian pilots fully for take-off and landing on the warship and the training "in all probability will be held in Goa."

"Referring to FGFA and Multi-role Transport Aircraft (MTA) programme, Defence Minister A K Antony said the two projects are significant because they symbolise going-past the relationship of buyer-seller and both sides must give their best at all phases of the execution of these two projects - design, development and production," a Defence Ministry release from Moscow said.

India is not happy with its share of work in the FGFA project. Though it is investing 50 per cent of the cost of the multi-billion dollar programme, its work share in research and development and other aspects of the programme at the moment is only around 15 per cent.

The two sides are also working towards developing a multi-role transport aircraft.

During the meeting of the Inter Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) between Antony and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, the two countries also reviewed issues relating to T-90 tanks and Sukhoi-30 fighter aircraft projects.

"On the issue of after sales support, both sides felt they should sign long-term maintenance support agreement," he said.

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