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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

Russian defense minister indicates Moscow not to oppose sale of BrahMos

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Jan 23, IRNA
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov indicated on Tuesday that Moscow would not oppose sale of BrahMos cruise missile, jointly developed by Russia and India, to some specific countries.

"Russia has nothing to do with putting obstacles towards sale of BrahMos missiles to some specific third countries," Ivanov, who holds the rank of deputy prime minister in the Russian cabinet and is widely tipped to succeed President Vladimir Putin early next year, told a press conference in Bangalore, PTI report said here.

His comments are seen as significant as only last week a top Russian defense official, Colonel General Anatoly Mazurkevich, said Moscow was not keen on its export to other countries, describing the missile as 'highly lethal' and capable of upsetting the balance of forces in any region where they may appear.

Mazurkevich had said: "India is one thing, she is our strategic partner and poses no military threat to Russia, but we are not keen on giving it to other countries, be it China or any other friendly nation."

Ivanov said there has been no change in the Russian position vis-a-vis BrahMos missiles. "We have discussed the issue with the Indian party," he said.

Ivanov, who holds the rank of deputy prime minister in the Russian cabinet, said India made its interest known to participate in the fighter programme for some years now.

"As far as I know, recently the Government of India has made a final decision on the design of their (India's own) aircraft (fifth generation)," he said.

Ivanov said he believed the issue (joint development of the fifth generation fighter) would be raised in the Commission's meeting in New Delhi tomorrow, and also included in the agenda of Putin.

Ivanov also said Russia would very actively participate in the proposed tender by India to acquire 126 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force, adding, MiG-35 would be positioned in this context.

He said the Russian Federation would bring in MiG-35 fighters to India for next month's Aero India 2007 to be held in Bangalore.

"MiG-35 is equipped with superb engine. It can be made in India.

HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Limited) can be in-charge of production and maintenance of the engine. This reduces the cost," Ivanov said.


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