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Defence Ministers of India, Russia set to hold crucial talks


The Nerpa nuclear attack submarine. A file photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): India and Russia are set to hold crucial negotiations for speeding up deliveries of key weapons systems, including transfer of Nerpa class nuclear submarine on lease, and finalise the agenda for the bilateral summit scheduled for December-end.

Defence Minister A K Antony, who arrived here on a three-day visit, last night, is to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov on a wide range of issues pertaining to the inter-services cooperation.

During the talks, Antony is widely expected to set the defence agenda for the bilateral summit scheduled for December-end.

The two sides are expected to discuss the issue of deliveries of key weapons systems, including transfer of Nerpa class nuclear submarine to India on a 10-year lease.

It is believed that the two ministers would also discuss the joint use of Ayni airbase near Tajik capital Dushanbe, which has been modernised by the Indian Air Force.

On his way to Moscow, Antony's aircraft had made a technical halt at the Ayni base.

Antony and Serdyukov would also co-chair the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC-MTC) on military cooperation.

IRIGC-MTC is the nodal body for steering the defence cooperation under the long-term military-technical interaction programme till 2020, the only such programme New Delhi and Moscow have with any foreign country.

With irritants like cost-escalation and delay in the delivery of Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier becoming the matters of the past, the Indo-Russian military cooperation is now on the even track, sources here said.

They noted that the modernisation of the vessel to be inducted as INS Vikramaditya is now running two months ahead of schedule and Russia would be able to deliver it by December 2012 deadline.

The two sides are to focus now on joint development and production projects like fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and multi-role transport aircraft for the military (MTA).

After the success of BrahMos cruise missile joint venture, the two sides are poised to transform their military cooperation from a 'buyer-seller' relationship to joint partners, as India continues to remain 'numero uno' client of the Russian defence industry, in spite of opening of the Indian arms market to the US and other Western powers.

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India  Russia  Submarine  

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