India, Russia ink new defence deals

Tuesday, December 25, 2012
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh meeting President
of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin in New Delhi
New Delhi: India and Russia signed new defence deals worth around $4 billion (Rs 22,000 crore) during President Vladimir Putin's short visit to India on Monday at the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit. 

The signed agreement will equip the Indian Air force (IAF) with Mi-17 and Su-30 MKI aircraft.

India will shell out nearly $3 billion ( Rs. 16,666 crore) to add 42 Su-30 MKI fighter planes to the IAF's fleet of 230 Sukhois.

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh undertook an extensive review of bilateral cooperation, especially in the field of nuclear energy and discussed ways to expedite an agreement for nuclear reactor 3 and 4 at Kudankulam.

“Negotiations for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam have made good progress. We intend to continue implementing the Roadmap for cooperation in the nuclear energy sector that was signed during President Putin’s visit in 2010 as the then Prime Minister of Russia,” Manmohan Singh was quoted saying in a government press release.

The venue of the meeting between the two leaders was shifted at the last minute from Hyderabad House to 7, Race Course Road, the official residence of the Prime Minister in view of the large-scale protests after the gangrape incident in the Capital.

India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism, terrorism and external interference.

Besides, defence pact Mr Putin and Mr Singh also talk the security situation in the region, including Afghanistan.

India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism, terrorism and external interference. We reviewed the ongoing developments in Afghanistan, and agreed to work together against threats posed by extremist ideologies and drug trafficking.,” said Mr. Singh.
“We also discussed the situation in West Asia, and agreed to continue consultations, “he added.

All key bilateral issues, including defence, space, trade and investment, science and technology, education, culture and tourism were discussed in the meeting which also witnessed Russians raising their concerns over the issue of Sistema.

However, official sources only said "the issue (Sistema) was discussed" and did not divulge any more details.

Sistema, with investment of $3.1 billion, has 56.68 per cent stake in Shyam Sistema Teleservices (SSTL) whose 21 out of 22 licences were cancelled by the Supreme Court on February 2 as irregularities were found in their allocation.

Russian Government, which has a stake of 17.14 per cent in the company, has since been expressing concern and pressing India to ensure protection of Sistema's investment.

Both the country discussed regional and global issues, on many of which there is a marked congruence in our approach.

“Our consultations in international for a, such as the UN Security Council and BRICS, have deepened during the year,” said Mr. Singh.

India welcomed Russia's recent accession to the WTO and both sides agreed that it provided further opportunities to augment bilateral trade and investment and business-to- business linkages. "In this context, they called upon Russia- India Chief Executive Officers Council's meeting at the earliest," a joint statement said.

Notably, the year 2012 marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia.
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