Russia is to supply India with combat helicopters and warplanes worth $2.9 billion under a deal signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi earlier this week.
“We have agreed to further strengthen our partnership in the sphere of military cooperation,” Putin said after a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Monday.
Under the deals, India will buy 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets and 71 Mil Mi-17 helicopters.
The two countries also signed a number of cooperation agreements in the defense and technology sector during Putin’s one-day visit, his first to Southeast Asia since his return to the Kremlin in May.
India is now the world's largest arms importer and Russian-made military equipment makes up some 70% of India’s arms purchases. But Moscow has lost out on a number of deals to Western countries in recent years. Boeing was chosen last month by India over Russia's MiL plant for a major helicopter contract.
New Delhi has expressed dissatisfaction with a deal in the delivery of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which is being refurbished by Russia for the Indian Navy. Russia was due to deliver the vessel in 2008, but work has dragged on and the price has doubled to $2.3 billion.
Putin said on Monday he wanted to see annual trade turnover between Russia and India double from the current $10 billion in the coming years.
“The deepening of friendship and cooperation with India” was among Russia’s “top priorities” in foreign policy, he added.
Meanwhile, Russian Helicopters holding and India’s Elcom Systems Pvt Limited have signed an agreement to set up a joint venture to assemble Russian Mil and Kamov helicopters in India, the Russian holding said on Wednesday.
The agreement was signed during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to India, press secretary Roman Kirillov said.
He offered no timeframe for the joint venture, only saying the first helicopter it will start manufacturing will be the Ka-226T multirole helicopter.
Source: RIA Novosti