Russia’s Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin was in Delhi to co-chair the 20th meeting of Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC).
While addressing a few reporters, he spoke about potential joint projects in civil aircraft manufacturing and plans to establish a working group to examine the feasibility of a free trade agreement between India and the Customs Union (Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia).
Are there any plans during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s trip to India in December to sign a new agreement in nuclear energy?
We are working on a strategic agreement that will include, in particular, Russia’s participation in the development of nuclear energy in India, and we hope to have this document ready by the time of the visit.
What will be included in the strategic agreement?
At the moment, the authors of the future document are summarizing all of the projects that were discussed during the meeting of the intergovernmental commission. We observed a positive reaction, on the part of our Indian colleagues, to our proposal to develop high-tech cooperation, primarily in aerospace. India is interested in Russia’s short and medium-range MC-21 airplanes. We also discussed the possibility of assembling the Sukhoi Superjet-100 airplane in India. Interest was also expressed in possible aircraft engine manufacturing projects.
In addition, in the coming weeks, we agreed to hold separate consultations on cooperation in space exploration. These will involve manned space missions and deployment of projects in India connected to the use of the Russian navigation system GLONASS.
We are also looking at the possibility of joint-production in India of GLONASS signal receiving modules and introduction here of the ERA-GLONASS satellite monitoring system for transport vehicles, used for automatic notification of emergency services in case of accidents and other emergencies.
Space instrument engineering was also discussed. We hope that before Vladimir Putin’s visit, or immediately after it, we will have reached a mutual understanding on the alignment of our space programs.
These and other projects will be detailed in the strategic agreement, which I have already mentioned. We provisionally call this – the “strategic vision,” which we would like to consider and adopt during the visit.
It seems that these Russian projects fit nicely into the Indian agenda – “Make in India”. Do you agree?
The agendas of Russia and India coincide. We are also committed to “Make in Russia,” and are currently implementing an import substitution program. And this is something that is long overdue.
As for our relations with India, Russia was the first to propose to not just deliver finished products to the Indian market, but also to establish assembly and manufacturing plants in the country, together with the transfer of technologies.
Please tell us more about the Indian interest in the MC-21 and the Sukhoi Superjet-100?
I would like to repeat that the Indian side made it clear that they are interested in the MC-21 airplanes. The first flight of this airplane is scheduled for 2016, and the beginning of mass production – for 2017. It will carry 180 passengers and have a range of 5,000 km. Thus, it is an ideal aircraft for India.
As for the Sukhoi Superjet-100, we are talking about the possibility of building production plants in India for the needs of the Indian market, and even possible joint-entry into the markets of other countries.
We also view joint projects in helicopter manufacturing as very promising. Russian helicopters have established a good reputation in India. In addition, we must keep in mind that Western helicopter manufacturers were hit with a number of scandals, and this has had an impact on their dealings with partners. Indian partners must be treated with great respect and one must understand their own interests in increasing their domestic industrial capacity.
Our proposal concerns the possibility of using various models of the Ka-226, for both civil and military purposes. This helicopter is unique. Its high-altitude performance characteristics are in fact unique, with no analogues in the world, which is important for India’s mountainous terrain.
Our Indian colleagues also have a great interest in working on joint energy projects, including liquefied natural gas.The Russian state corporation Rusnano has come up with its own new project, proposing the establishment of a joint investment fund with capital of $1–2 billion, contributed on a parity basis, which could be used to finance start-ups in high technology. This proposal now needs to be studied by the Indian side.
Has there been any progress on the establishment of a working group to examine the prospects for a free trade agreement between India and the Customs Union (Belarus, Kazakhstan and Russia)?
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj informed us that the Indian side has approved the creation of such a working group. This means that we will begin working on this right away.
The working group will submit a report to the intergovernmental commission about the feasibility of signing such an agreement.