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Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMD)

India to get delivery of INS Vikramaditya by Dec 2012: Antony

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

New Delhi, Oct 5, IRNA -- India will get delivery of its much-awaited aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya from Russia by December next year, Defence Minister A K Antony has said, amid reports that Moscow will hand over the leased Nerpa nuclear submarine next month.

The vexed issue of the delivery of these frontline advanced weapon systems was resolved after crucial parleys between Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov in Moscow last night, pti reported today.

'We hope that the induction (of INS Vikramaditya) will take place, on schedule, by December 2012,' Antony told Indian reporters there, saying the Indian navy is 'keenly awaiting the induction of the aircraft carrier.'

'We also hope that activities on the MiG-29K are completed to achieve synchronisation with the aircraft carrier,' said the Defence Minister, who co-chaired the 11th session of the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) yesterday with Serdyukov.

'Our bilateral military-technical cooperation is now on the even track,' Antony declared as the two Defence Ministers dwelt at length on New Delhi's concerns in delay in export clearance for the spare parts of weapon systems procured from Russia.

The supply of spare parts, which include ammunition for main Indian battle tanks like T-90 and SMERCH multi-barrel rocket system, has been a major issue as reports have said that Indian army formations are running short of critical war reserves.

'This (delayed export clearance) has been affecting supplies of defence equipment and spares,' Antony, who is in Moscow on a three-day visit, said.

The Defence Minister skirted a question about the delivery of Akula II class nuclear attack subamrine, but the local media there said the Nerpa nuclear submarine to be leased to India for 10 years, will be delivered next month.

With the delivery of the Nerpa, the Indian navy would be deploying a nuclear submarine after a gap of more than two decades. New Delhi is also simultaneously carrying out tests of its indigenous nuclear submarine INS Arihant.

Antony said that concerns over delay in some naval projects like the construction of three Talwar Class stealth frigates were expressed during the meeting and the Russian side has assured to address them.

The minister, however, said 'distinct improvements' have taken place in the pace of progress of many critical projects in the last one year.

Antony expressed satisfaction at the 'wholesome outcome' of Moscow parleys.

'The project for joint development and production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, BrahMos missile system, licensed production in India of T-90 tanks and SU-30 MKI aircraft are proud examples of our strong relationship.

'We are sure that the success of these projects would be models for the implementation of several other projects of mutual interest,' he said, describing the defence relationship with Russia as unique.

Russia is the only country with which India has a long-term programme of military-technical cooperation till 2020.

'Where in a foreign visit, except in Moscow, you see the Defence Minister travelling with Defence Secretary and Secretary Defence Production,' Antony said, impressing on the scope and significance of defence cooperation with Russia.

'The area of cooperation is so wide that issues of different kinds are normal. We have our concerns and they have their concerns. But there is a desire on both sides to address them,' he said.

Aftersales service was one of the areas of concerns for India, caused by the lengthy Russian procedures for export approval of critical military spares, while the Russians were concerned about Indian offset requirements.

In the protocol signed after the 11th session of IRIGC-MTC, the two sides noted with satisfaction that during the period under review various diligent steps have been taken 'to deepen interaction in the development of defence technologies, modernisation of military equipment and joint manufacture of military-purpose products.'

Antony expressed India's concern at the tardy progress made in the design and development of the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MTA).

The two sides agreed to accelerate the progress of this Project and they would be meeting on it later this month.

With regard to the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), being jointly designed and developed by India and Russia, both sides noted that the first stage of the preliminary design contract has been successfully completed and the second stage of the PD Contract is to be finalized before September, 2012.

The training programme for the Indian engineers covering nearly 20 courses was completed in July, 2011.

Both sides agreed to continue discussions for finalisation of the R&D contract as per the agreed time lines of the general contract inked in December, 2008.

The minister said the Russian side has also articulated some new projects, which could be of interest to India.

'We have agreed to consider them on receiving written offer,' Antony said without divulging any detail.

Islamic Republic News Agency/IRNA NewsCode: 30596713

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