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Russia, India agree to develop fifth-generation fighter

RIA Novosti

24/01/2007 10:30 NEW DELHI, January 24 (RIA Novosti) - Russia and India have agreed to jointly develop a fifth-generation fighter aircraft, a RIA Novosti correspondent reported Wednesday.

During the sixth meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military-technical cooperation in the Indian capital, the sides decided to coordinate a corresponding agreement and sign it in the near future.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov, who is a co-chairman of the commission, said the new multi-role fighter, which is being designed by the Sukhoi Design Bureau, will take to the skies not later than in 2009.

India has also agreed to cooperate with Russia on research and testing of the aircraft for future joint production by India's HAL corporation and Russia's Sukhoi concern.

India and Russia have a long history of military cooperation, which goes back almost half a century. The existing Russian-Indian military-technical cooperation program, which lasts until 2010, lists up to 200 projects worth about $18 billion in all, according to Russia's defense ministry.

Notable deals in recent years have included a contract for the modernization and sale of the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier, and deals for Sukhoi fighters and the T-90 battle tank.

Russia and India also cooperate extensively in the nuclear power sector, with Russia currently building two nuclear power plants at Kudankulam.

In advance of President Vladimir Putin's visit to the Asian nation January 25-26, Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told Russian media that the country was interested in expanding nuclear cooperation with Russia even further.

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