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'India not planning to go for Russian ABM system'

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File photo of Prithvi Air Defence (PAD) to Air Defence (AD) Target Interception Mission. DRDO photo

MOSCOW (PTI): India is developing air and missile defence systems indigenously and it may not be interested in the Russian Patriot class S-300 and S-400 anti-ballistic missiles systems, a senior arms exporter said today.

"India is developing its own air and missile defence systems based on the scientific principles of other countries and has gone quite far in this. That's why they are not interested in simple purchases," Vladimir Komardin, Deputy General Director of RosOboronExport state arms exporter, said.

Komardin, who will be leading the Russian delegation at the Aero India-2009 air show at Bangalore on February 11-15, said that India, however, is buying self-propelled "Osa-AKM", "Strela-10" and "Buk" as well as "Tor", "Tunguska" and portable "Igla" missiles for air defence of its armed units.

Speaking at a news conference here, Komardin said India with huge market was a like a "lucrative bride" for Russia and other arms exporting countries.

Responding to a question, he said advanced multirole fighter MiG-35 fielded by Russia in the Indian global tender for the acquisition of 226 fighters has a clear edge over its US rivals F-16 and F-18, which hardly meet the requirements of the 21st century.

Komardin did not rule out that the Government of India could put the fighter tender on backburner due to global meltdown.

Russia also offers organic air defence systems. "We offer these as well," Komardin said.

When asked about the supply of 80 Mi-171 helicopters to India, he said, "the first batch will be shipped by 2009 end." Russia's S-300 and S-400 systems belong to the group of medium and long-range means of air defence.

S-400 can engage targets at a distance of up to 400 kilometres, as well as ballistic missiles with a range of up to 3,500 kilometres, supersonic and other state-of-the-art airborne means of attacks.

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