NEW DELHI --- While terming India an “exclusive strategic defence partner”, Russian Defence Minister General Sergey Shoigu reaffirmed his country’s commitment to extending all possible support in enhancing India’s defence capabilities, including cooperation in advanced and cutting-edge technology.
Russia has agreed to assist India on upgrading its formidable fleet of Su-30MKI jets with advanced weapons and avionics, which will lend the aircraft unmatched stealth features.
As per a consensus reached at the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC) meeting, Russia will provide support in developing a prototype at a state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) facility, industry sources said.
“The Su-30 MKI upgrade programme will start soon", sources said without revealing details about the programme.
Sputnik had reported in the recent past that the entire fleet of 272 fighter jets will be upgraded and equipped with advanced weapons systems such as the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile, the R-27P high-range infrared homing system, and Russian air-to-air missiles.
The 19th IRIGC-M&MTC meeting was co-chaired by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu on Wednesday.
“The Russian defence minister underlined Moscow’s commitment to extend all possible support in enhancing India’s defence capabilities, including cooperation in advanced and cutting-edge technology", the Indian Defence Ministry said it in a statement.
The Russian side also affirmed its readiness to operationalise the joint venture lndo-Russia Rifles Private Limited for the manufacture of world class Kalashnikov AK 203 rifles in India.
The two countries also agreed to conclude a logistical support agreement that will provide immense help in servicing equipment at various locations in Russia.
The much-anticipated agreement will provide support to the Indian Armed Forces as around 70% of equipment and platforms like warships, submarines, fighter jets, and tanks are of Russian-origin.
“The ministers directed the respective teams to work closely for early conclusion of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support", the Indian Defence Ministry said.
Russia has also agreed to India’s request to constitute specific working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms.