At the end of talks at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin here, the two leaders hailed cooperation, as officials inked a $1.6 billion deal for India to purchase 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and a $1.3 billion contract for the delivery of 71 Mil Mi-17 military helicopters.
Under one contract – worth around $ 2.2 billion for licence production of 42 Su-30MKIs – Russian firm Rosoboronexport will deliver technical kits to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) to assemble them in India.
“HAL’s total responsibility for this supersonic multirole aircraft has now gone up to 222. This will further boost our confidence and operations as we have already delivered 119 Su-30 aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF)," said Dr RK Tyagi, Chairman, HAL
With this contract, the number of Su-30MKIs in the IAF would go up to 272 in next four to five years with 170 of them already at present in the force. Also, 157 Indian vendors are involved in providing 13,350 components of the aircraft while another 19,450 components are manufactured at HAL’s Nasik and Koraput Divisions,
A joint venture agreement was inked between Elcom Systems Private Ltd. and OAO "Vertoleti Rassi" (JSC "Helicopters Russia"), which aims to set up a modern industrial facility for manufacturing Russian Mi and Kamov helicopters in India. Under the contract for 71 Mi-17V5 helicopters, 59 of the machines would be given to the IAF while the rest of the 12 machines would be used by paramilitary forces in their anti-Naxal operations. These helicopters would be used by the IAF to replace its existing fleet of the older versions of Mi-17 and Mi-8 aircraft in its inventory.
Moscow has been worried recently by New Delhi's increasing preference for Western suppliers, especially after Boeing's Apache helicopter was chosen last month over Russia's MiL plant for a major helicopter contract.
In the recent past, India has also been unhappy with delays in deliveries of some naval equipment, especially the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which is being refurbished for the Indian Navy at Russia's Sevmash naval yard. This was originally expected to be delivered in August 2008, and has now been pushed to the end of 2013, while the price has more than doubled to $2.3 billion.
At the end of talks, Singh told mediapersons, "Russia is a key partner in our efforts to modernize our armed forces and enhance our defence preparedness. A number of joint design, development and production projects are underway in high technology areas."
Russia has maintained its strong positions in the Indian market with $30 billion worth of arms contracts with India signed in 2000-2010 that envisaged supplies of hundreds of fighter jets, missiles, tanks and other weapons, a large part of which were license-produced in India.
Both countries have cooperated on building the fifth generation fighter aircraft and a new transport aircraft and have jointly developed a supersonic cruise missile for the Indian Navy.
When the country is reeling under unprecedented financial stress,such pacts costing huge to the economy could have waited since at present on many fronts our infrastructre is yet to improve and definitely, the amount involved would have made substantial improvement in our infra situation. It would be time for the govt to introspect and take remedial action.
"India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism," says India's Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. Really? Then why we are the ones shedding our blood and bankrupting our country to save Afghanistan? At the same time we have been sending American jobs to India, so that it have the cash to make cozy arm deals with Russia -- all guaranteed to infuriate Pakistan, feed their reckless arm race, and further destabilize the region. But we will not let such minor concerns get in the way to doing business with India. Nay, Congress on its return will get busy finding even easier ways for American companies to relocate to there. Indeed, now that we are broke from Afghanistan we will look into how much money we can save by sending our government call centers to India as well.