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India, Russia to extend military cooperation till 2020

Indian Defence Minister A K Antony with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov. File photo.

MOSCOW (PTI): India and Russia are set to sign a pact on Thursday to extend their military cooperation programme till 2020 as Indian Defence Minister A K Antony and his counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov discussed a wide range of issues, including upgradation of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.

Inaugurating the 9th session of the Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation co-chaired by Antony, Serdyukov declared that closest defence cooperation with India would remain the “key pillar” of bilateral strategic partnership.

Antony, who arrived here Tuesday on a three-day visit, had over one hour long meeting with Serdyukov, instead of the initial 30 minute one-to-one session.

Gorshkov upgradation, modernisation of the older fleet of Sukhoi Su-30 warplanes, serial production of T-90S main battle tanks in India under transfer of technology were among some of the key issues reviewed by Antony and Serdyukov, Russian Defence Ministry spokesperson Irina Kovalchuk said.

The Intergovernmental commission co-chaired by the defence ministers of the two nations is the apex coordinating body of long-term defence programme for the development and delivery of new weapons platforms and weapons.

India is the only country in the world with which Russia has this type of long-term defence cooperation programme.

Under the initial programme signed in 1995 and later extended till 2010, Russia had developed Sukhoi Su-30MKI multirole air-superiority fighters, Talwar Class stealth frigates and provided blueprints and know-how for the indigenous Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) Project for building INS Arihant nuclear submarine and is to shortly lease Akula-II class nuclear submarine to India.

According to sources, some of the slipping projects like Gorshkov upgradation would now be extended beyond the current programme.

The focus would be on the joint design, development and production of a hypersonic version of BRAHMOS cruise missile, multi-role transport aircraft for the military and fifth generation fighter aircraft, which would provide India an access to cutting-edge technology.

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