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Russian, Indian defense ministers hold talks in New Delhi

RIA Novosti

29/09/2008 12:24 NEW DELHI, September 29 (RIA Novosti) - Russia's defense minister is in New Delhi for talks with his Indian counterpart, a spokesman for the Russian minister said on Monday.

Anatoly Serdyukov and A. K. Antony, who held one-to-one talks in the Indian capital early on Monday, are later to co-preside over a session of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission for military-technical cooperation, starting later today.

"Our meeting will lead to a further strengthening of the traditional friendly ties between our nations and our armed forces," Serdyukov said, adding that "military and technical cooperation between our countries is large-scale and dynamic."

Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission sessions are held annually and alternate between New Delhi and Moscow. The previous meeting took place in the Russian capital in October 2007.

The participants have discussed the implementation of a joint program for military-technical cooperation up to 2010, and preparations for its further extension.

"The Russian party has introduced a new draft agreement for the next 10 years," Serdyukov said.

The current program comprises about 200 joint projects, including the modernization of the Vikramaditya aircraft carrier (formerly the Admiral Gorshkov) for the Indian navy, the transfer of technology for the licensed assembly of T-90 tanks in India, the production of BrahMos missiles and the purchase of Smerch MLRS by India.

The ministers also agreed to establish a joint working group at the deputy defense minister level to coordinate the work of the intergovernmental commission.

Russian and Indian airborne troops have conducted joint INDRA anti-terrorism exercises every two years since 2003. The next drills are scheduled for 2009 in India.

Russia's military cooperation with India goes back nearly half a century, and the Asian country accounts for about 40% of Russian arms exports.

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