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India, Russia discuss joint manufacturing projects, including Kamov helicopters and naval frigates

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Union Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman shakes hands with her Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu, in New Delhi, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2018. A PIB Photo via PTI.

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence ministers of India and Russia held intensive talks Thursday on deepening defence ties and joint manufacturing projects, including the Kamov-226 helicopters, naval frigates and projects related to land systems, the Defence Ministry said.

In a meeting of the 18th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) held here, the two sides also agreed to take forward inter-governmental arrangements for facilitating joint manufacturing of spares for Russian origin equipment in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.

The meeting was co-chaired by Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman and her Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu.

In the framework of the bilateral Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership, the IRIGC-MTC meeting discussed a wide range of issues relating to defence equipment, industry and technological engagement between India and Russia as well as after-sales support, upgradation of military equipment of Russian origin, it said.

Shoigu's visit to India assumes significance as a deal was signed between India and Russia to buy Russian S-400 air defence missile system. The two countries have also signed a deal to build two frigates in Goa for the Indian Navy.

Russia's state-owned arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, has also emerged as the lowest bidder for India's USD 3 billion tenders to source short-range air defence missile systems.

India had gone ahead with the S-400 deal with Russia notwithstanding US sanctions on military transactions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

"The ministers expressed satisfaction at the dynamism and progress in bilateral defence cooperation. Intensive discussions were held on joint manufacturing projects, including the Kamov-226 helicopters, naval frigates and projects related to land systems," a statement by the ministry said.

With an aim to strengthen military-to-military engagement and rationalising the functioning of the commission, a revised Inter-Governmental Agreement on restructuring the existing IRIGC-MTC to the IRIGC on Military and Military Technical Cooperation was also signed by the two ministers.

An additional institutional Working Group headed by Chief of Integrated Defence Staff to the Chairman Chiefs of Staff Committee (COSC) and Deputy Chief of the Main Operational Directorate of General Staff of Armed Forces of Russian Federation would also be set up under the expanded commission.

The ministers expressed satisfaction over the progress in structured engagement between their armed forces, including joint exercises, resumption of training exchanges and other interactions in the framework of the bilateral road map on defence cooperation signed in June 2017.

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