Following the in-principle agreement reached by India and Russia for the production of Russian helicopters in India, both sides are carrying out discussions to work out the details to quickly conclude a deal.
Initially the helicopters will be used to cater to the requirements of the Indian armed forces and only after that will exports happen, Russian embassy officials told The Hindu.
This effectively means that the Utility Helicopter deal which was earlier cancelled as a global tender and changed into “Buy and Make” category under the Defence Procurement Procedure (DPP) will go the Russian way.
The Russian Deputy Premier Dmitry Rogozin who accompanied the Russian President Vladimir Putin to India on December 11 has said that “the understanding is to assemble 400 advanced Kamov-226T helicopters per year built by Russian Technologies in India”.
No partner has been identified from the Indian side for partnering and as of now it is open to both public and private sector. “Hindustan Aeronautics Limited is a major player but private sector is also part of the negotiations” sources told The Hindu. However embassy officials did not identify those private players. Defence Ministry officials said the details are being worked out.
On the operational front Russian choppers are known for their ruggedness and Indian Armed Forces have been using them for decades which will help in their quick integration. Russian Mi-17 choppers are the mainstay of the Indian Air Force used in diverse roles from search and rescue to VIP transport.
On the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft of which there was no mention in the recent joint statement, embassy officials have said negotiations to sort out the work share are going on and an agreement is likely as early as January.
Russian officials said that Russia is open for equal work share but stated that “Russia has problems with the Indian demand. If India has the ability to provide certain design knowhow and technologies we are open for equal work. But this may not be so as seen with the case of Light Combat Program (LCA) and the aircraft under development is a Fifth Generation program.”
On the new line of submarines under Project-75I, Russia is open to technology transfer and joint production of diesel-electric submarines. India has submitted its requirements and the Russian side responded with attractive options, sources said.
Russian officials felt that, for advanced defence equipment, India and Russia should reach a governmental agreement under the Inter-Governmental framework on similar lines that India has with the US.