Defence deals will be the key topic of discussion during the forthcoming 17th edition of the India-Russia annual summit. Besides upgrade of the Su-30 MKI and 28 Kamov helicopters, agreements related to the purchase of the S-400 Triumf advanced air defence missile system and an IL-78 multi-role tanker are on the list.
Also, both sides are likely to sign an agreement on the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project or the perspective multi-role fighter (PMF), the talks for which were restarted this year.
A new company is expected to be set up between the two countries for the Kamov Ka-226T helicopter, to be implemented under ‘Make In India’, where 140 helicopters will be made here under a contract estimated to be close to $1 billion.
Ready with a detailed work-share agreement, the FGFA project between the two countries that was put on hold over issues related to work-share, research and development, is expected to take off again. Russia has agreed to share state-of-the-art technology as part of the deal of producing at least 100 aircraft in India.
The Defence Acquisition Council under defence minister Manohar Parrikar had cleared the purchase of S-400 air defence systems from Russia in December 2015. However, no final go-ahead has been sent to Moscow from New Delhi. If the deal on S-400s is finalised during the summit, India will become the second country in the world to have this latest missile and this will also be the biggest deal between the two countries since 2011, when India had ordered 140 Su-30 MKI fighter planes.
PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will be meeting for the annual summit during October 15-16, coinciding with the BRICS summit in Goa. This will be the third annual bilateral summit where Putin and Modi will meet.
Russia lately has not been able to meet India’s delivery schedule, and issues related to transfer of technology and poor quality of spares are some of the problems India faces. However, Russia has been India’s biggest arms supplier for decades, selling military hardware worth $45 billion since early
1960s. Compared to Russia, since 2007, the US has sold military hardware worth $15 billion to India.
While Russia is helping India build indigenous nuclear submarine — though there has been no confirmation from either side — India is in talks to lease a second Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine from Russia.
“The price negotiations for leasing the submarine is at an advanced stage and for about $1.5 billion,” said a source.