India and Russia has agreed on an in-principle arrangement, allowing India to manufacture Russian helicopters locally.
The initial batch of Kamov-226T helicopters will be catering to the demands of the Indian armed forces, with exports to follow later on, say Russian embassy officials.
The deal first made its appearance as a global tender, before being cancelled and was replaced with a 'Buy and Make' clause, under the Defence Procurement Procedure. The deal was finally taken up by Russia.
Earlier this month, India rolled out the red carpet for Russian President Vladmir Putin, accompanied by a large delegation, including arms manufacturers. Both the countries agreed to assemble 400 advanced Kamov-226T helicopters per year, built using Russian technology in India.
The Kamov-226T is a proven twin-turbine utility helicopter, with an interchangeable mission pod, in place of a conventional cabin, allowing the use of various accommodations or equipment configurations.
While the state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) is a likely candidate to partner with Russia, the private sector has also engaged in negotiations, The Hindu quoted Russian embassy officials as saying.
India and Russia have a long client-supplier relationship in defence areas. The erstwhile USSR remained India's main defence equipment supplier, a role recently usurped by USA.
The Russian-built Mi-17 was used extensively in the 2013 Uttarakand deluge for search and rescue missions.
Russia has also admitted to being open to technology transfer and joint production in diesel-electric submarines. India plans to build six diesel-electric submarines for a staggering ₹50,000 crore, in a bid to reassert its dominance in the Indian Ocean Region.