Indo-Russia talks to focus on security

New Delhi, Jan 22 | Updated: Jan 23 2007, 07:47am hrs
Getting an assurance on product support in naval equipment sourced from Russia is believed to be the topmost agenda of bilateral talks between defence minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Sergei B Ivanov on Wednesday.

The two sides will also take up Sino-Indian border and other security concerns, Russian arms supply to China, and the possibility of further transfer of Russian arms and technology to Pakistan through China.

According to senior ministry officials, sensitive issues pertaining to defence cooperation were also likely to figure during the talks.

India and Russia are believed to be engaged for several years in sensitive negotiations over the sale/lease of Tu-22M3 Backfire strategic bombers and two Akula class nuclear submarines to enhance Indian Navys blue water capability, although both Russian and Indian officials and diplomats have been for some time declining to comment.

At the 6th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), headed by the defence ministers of India and Russia, will take off here in New Delhi on January 24. Russian deputy prime minister and defence minister will be co-chairing the commission meeting with Antony. Presently defence minister AK Antony is on a five-day visit to Moscow till January 26. The Commission in its deliberations covers areas like interaction between the two armed forces, military technical cooperation, supply of defence systems, upgrading of equipment, licensed and joint production and joint development.