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Defence pact with Russia to boost defence capability: India

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Dec 8, IRNA -- India on Wednesday voiced confidence that its agreement with Russia on a 10-year military and technical cooperation from 2011 would help enhance the operational capability of its defence forces in the next decade.

The agreement, which was among the three defence pacts signed between India and Russia after the annual summit talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev provides for acquisition, licensed production, upgrades and modernisation of defence equipment as well as the development of new and advanced weapon systems.

"The agreement would help enhance operational capability of Indian Defence forces in the next decade by providing various Defence equipment systems," PTI reported quoting Indian Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao as told newsmen wrapping up the prime minister's talks with the Russian leadership that also included prime minister Vladimir Putin, who as the earlier Russian President sowed the seeds for Russia's strategic partnership with India.

"... (it) will also facilitate capacity development of the Indian Defence Industry," she said.

Taking bilateral defence ties to a new high, the agreement on After Sales Support for the Russian Arms and Military equipment supplied to India is being seen by Indian officials as an excercise to facilitate timely and adequate supply of spares and services for maintaining a high level of readiness and integrated maintenance of Russian made military equipment supplied to India.

Rao noted that Indian and Russian leaders have focused on priority areas of bilateral partnership and how the two countries intend to take this forward through intensive efforts in the coming months ahead.

At the India-Russia CEO's Council meeting last night, Rao said the Russian co-chair of the council Vladimir Evtushenkov spoke of the prospects for cooperation in the field of telecommunications.

The potential for collaboration in the pharmaceutical industry was also stressed at the meeting, she said.

The prime Minister at a news conference yesterday underscored how India could help in supplying affordable drugs to Russia because of the excellent knowhow it had in this field.

Both Singh and Medvedev spoke of the potential for India and Russia to forge ties in the pharmaceutical industry.

Meanwhile, After protracted re-negotiations, India and Russia have ended the stalemate over contentious price and technical issues for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier which had become an irritant in bilateral ties.

"There has been excellent progress in negotiations on technical issues and there has been a successful conclusion," Foreign Secretary Nirupama Rao told reporters at the end of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin on the second day of his three-day official visit to Moscow.

Details of the final price fixed for the sale of the aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya were not disclosed.

Indian officials said a price satisfactory to both sides has been worked out for the refitting and delivery of Admiral Gorshkov.

Indian and Russian defence officials have been negotiating the price for the purchase of the refurbished USD 2.2-billion aircraft carrier for several years.

Moscow was asking for USD 2.9 billion for the aircraft carrier, nearly thrice the price that was originally agreed between the two sides in 2004. But New Delhi wanted the price to be scaled back to USD 2.1 billion.

Delays in refitting the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier and huge cost overruns have been a particular concern with India. It had also put at unease the otherwise time-tested relationship between the former cold war allies.


End News / IRNA / News Code 830219

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