India and Russia have inked defence contracts worth $2.9 billion during the summit meeting between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Vladimir Putin. The two key deals signed were the $1.6-billion worth 42 Su-30MKI combat aircraft that India’s Hindustan Aeronautics Limited will produce at its facility under licence from Russia Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi Corporation and the $1.3-billion worth 71 Mi-17V5 medium lift helicopters, of which 59 will go to the Indian Air Force (IAF) and the rest 12 to India’s paramilitary forces involved in internal security duties.
Also, 157 Indian vendors are involved in providing 13,350 components of the aircraft while another 19,450 components are manufactured at HAL’s Nashik and Koraput Divisions.
With a delay of three years in India’s bid to build its own medium lift helicopter, India had first bought 80 of the Mi-17V5 helicopters for the IAF in 2008. About half of this tranche of helicopters have been delivered till now to raise four IAF squadrons at Bhatinda in Punjab, Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir and Bagdogra in West Bengal.
In February 2010, India signed a follow-on deal for 59 Mi-17V5 for the IAF. This deal has now been expanded to add 12 more of the helicopters to make it a total of 71 choppers. These 12 Mi-17V5 choppers will go to the paramilitary forces.
These two contracts apart, India and Russia also signed a private commercial deal to set up a joint venture for manufacture of Mil and Kamov civilian and military helicopters.
This commercial deal was signed between India’s Mohali-based Elcom Systems Private Limited and Russia’s OAO Vertoleti Rassi (JSC Helicopters Russia) to set up a defence industrial base in India.
India and Russia also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in satellite navigation through the Russian constellation of satellites, Glonass. The signals from the Russian satellite will be used to navigate a variety of missiles, including nuclear ones. Glonass is an alternative to the US-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS).
“India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism.
A joint statement issued later said both sides emphasised that the traditionally close cooperation between the two countries in the defence and military-technical field was a major pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership and a reflection of the trust and confidence that has built up between the two countries.
The two sides welcomed the outcomes of the Twelfth Meeting of the India – Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation held on October 10, 2012 in New Delhi.
They expressed satisfaction at the regular bilateral interactions, ongoing military-technical cooperation and ‘INDRA’ exercise between the defence forces of the two countries held in August 2012 and in December 2012.
The two sides also noted that the frigates INS Teg and INS Tarkash were commissioned and delivered by Russia to India in 2012. They also took note of the progress made in the joint development and production of high technology military equipment and projects such as Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Multi-Role Transport Aircraft and BrahMos Supersonic Missile.
Both sides discussed measures required to ensure expeditious delivery of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya to India. The Russian side assured that requisite measures would be taken in this regard.