Indo-Russia defence tech panel extended

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Sep 29 | Updated: Sep 30 2008, 07:01am hrs
India and Russia on Monday took a significant step in cementing their strategic ties as both the countries agreed to extend the tenure of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) by another ten years on the expiry of its present term in 2010.

Addressing a joint press conference with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov, after inking the protocol on IRIGC-MTC, defence minister AK Antony, said an apex committee will be formed to iron out problems on a fast-track basis on different issues related to the ongoing and proposed projects for acquisition, joint development and production, joint defence R&D and interaction between the defence forces of both countries including joint exercises. These relate to the additional $1.2 billion Russia has demanded for the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier that India has purchased for $1.5 billion and delays in the indigenous production of the T-90 main battle tank due to Moscows refusal to transfer crucial technology.

Antony further said that the apex committee, jointly headed by defence secretaries of both countries, would meet at least once in six months and its first meeting will be held in Moscow before the visit of the Russian President in 2008.