Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu met in New Delhi on Wednesday as part of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation. This was the 16th such meeting between the defence ministers of the two countries.
The meeting was held in the backdrop of the recent meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin where the two agreed on defence deals – supply of S-400 Air defence systems, Project 1135.6 frigates and joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.
The current meeting was to "review all aspects of our defence cooperation." Parrikar noted that the subgroups had submitted their reports.
Parrikar highlighted that military technical cooperation was "progressing well," but the two countries must give more thrust to traditional military-to-military cooperation. He suggested "more focus" to this aspect of their relationship.
The Defence Minister also suggested "enhancing" the pace and depth of the exchanges at the level of Chiefs, training of personnel in each other's institutions, joint military exercises between all armed forces.
Parrikar said that the two countries can "work out the modalities of increasing the military-to-military cooperation and draw up a roadmap for implementation."
He appreciated Russia's support for India's effort to do away with terrorism and said that the Modi government recognised Russian "efforts to eliminate terrorists in West Asia." The minister also said that terrorism cannot be defeated with 'double standards'.
Meanwhile, India and Russia made progress on the recently-concluded defence deals. "We note progress in our large projects such as joint construction of Ka-226 helicopters, BrahMos cruise missiles, S-400 Triumph air defence systems," Shoigu was quoted as saying by Sputnik. He also noted that the two countries were ready to expand the "sphere" of military-technical cooperation.
The two countries have been reportedly discussing issues related to after-sales service of military hardware that India had previously purchased from Russia.
Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and Sukhoi Su-30MKI upgrade
Among the host of other defence deals, India and Russia also discussed the critical Sukhoi/HAL Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the upgrade of the Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter.
"We discussed... the FGFA project and [upgrade] of Su-30 MKI which is presently India's priority," a Sputnik report quoted Indian Defence Ministry sources as saying.
The Indian FGFA will be based on the current Russian T-50 prototype jet, which is in testing. The T-50 is a fifth-generation fighter aircraft with stealth features including weapons inside the weapons bay.
INS Chakra II
Russian media had reported that Moscow had agreed to lease a second nuclear-powered submarine to India. India currently uses Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine, INS Chakra. It was handed over to the Indian Navy in 2011 and was commissioned in 2012.
IAF Chief in Russia
Air Chief Marshal Arup Raha is on a six-day official visit to Russia. He will hold talks with senior military leaders and discuss a wide range of bilateral issues on the ongoing defence cooperation, said a statement
He will also be visiting various Air Force and defence establishments.