Russia on Wednesday agreed to India’s request to constitute specific teams to ensure proper maintenance support and supply of spares for crucial weapon platforms, ranging from the S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets and T-90S main-battle tanks, being acquired for the Indian armed forces.
The 19th India-Russia intergovernmental commission on military and military technical cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC), co-chaired by defence minister Rajnath Singh and his counterpart General Sergei Shoigu in Moscow, also directed their teams to “work closely for an early conclusion” of the bilateral reciprocal logistics support pact.Calling India “an exclusive strategic defence partner” for Russia, Gen Shoigu reaffirmed his country’s strong support to India in the field of counter-terrorism and its “security interests in the region”. He also underlined Moscow’s commitment to extend all possible support to enhance India’s defence capabilities, including cooperation in cutting-edge military technology, under the “Make in India” policy.
The official statement said the two countries expressed “satisfaction” on the progress in implementing ongoing contracts concluded in the recent past. The biggest such contract is the $5.43 billion (Rs 40,000 crore) deal for the five squadrons of the S-400 systems, which was inked in October 2018.
TOI on Wednesday had reported that India wants Russia to speed up the delivery schedule of the S-400 systems, which can detect, track and destroy hostile strategic bombers, jets, spy planes, missiles and drones at a range of 380-km. The S-400 systems are slated for delivery from October 2020 to April 2023.
This has come after India recently paid the first instalment of around Rs 6,000 crore for the S-400 systems after some delay because New Delhi and Moscow had to work out a payment mechanism to get around Washington’s sanctions regime against acquisition of Russian weapon systems.
“Gen Shoigu agreed to the Indian defence minister’s request to constitute specific working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms,” said the statement. Russia also “affirmed its readiness to operationalize at the earliest” the joint venture to manufacture Kalashnikov AK-203 rifles in India. Under the JV, around 7.50 lakh assault rifles will be manufactured in the ordnance factory at Korwa, which falls in the Amethi district of UP, as was earlier reported by TOI.