Issues related to the $1-billion Indo-Russian Kamov-226 helicopters, progress of Project 1135-6 frigates for the Indian Navy and T-90 tanks for the Indian Army, among other issues, will top the agenda of talks when Russian minister for industries and trade Denis Manturov, arrives in New Delhi on March 17.
The minister is arriving on a two-day visit. Sources told FE, “Besides meeting with the new defence minister Arun Jaitley, three sets of meetings have been planned for the visiting minister. He will meet officials of Indian Army, Navy and the Air Force. Also, there will be a meeting with the Indian industry captains from the defence sector.”
“The interaction between the Russian side and the Indian armed forces, as well as the industry, is to see how all can work together as a support system,” sources added.
Under the Indo-Russian joint venture inked at the BRICS summit in Goa, 140 Kamov-226 helicopters are to be built in India as part of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Russian government firm Rostec Corporation has a 49.5% stake and state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics (HAL) has a 50.5 % stake.
Last month, during a media interaction at Aero India, HAL chief T Suvarna Raju, responding to a query, had said that “documents related to the deal had been sent to Russian President Vladmir Putin for approval”.
However, deputy director general of Rosoboronexport Sergey Goreslavsky told the media, “There are issues between parties, but these are being tackled.’’
Sources told FE, “The venture has not taken off as it has run into delays related to issues including bank guarantees. Due to US-related sanctions imposed on Russian Rosoboronexports, payments could run into problems and these are issues that need to be ironed out.”
In one of his earlier visit to India, Manturov had said, “Russia is looking forward to invest in India in collaboration with the central government, especially in manufacturing spare parts of aircraft and making defence planes.” Manturov will also discuss Project 1135-6 frigates for the Indian Navy, as Moscow and New Delhi are looking at the possibility of transporting the hulls of the frigates, currently located at the Yantar shipyards in Kaliningrad Oblast, to India for their completion and the installation of engines.
Though no shipyard has been identified yet, sources said, “The Russian private sector is interested in jointly developing the coastal and internal infrastructure in Andhra Pradesh and this too could be on the table for discussions when the minister meets the industry honchos.”