Russia’s Economic Development Minister Maxim Oreshkin will travel to India this month for a wide-range of talks including on the International North-South Trade Corridor (INSTC) and upgrading fighter-jet technology. “We would like to discuss infrastructure development in the corridor (INSTC),” Russia’s Transport Minister Maksim Sokolov told PTI today on the sidelines of Singapore Airshow Aviation Leadership Summit here. Asked about American defence firm Lockheed Martin’s plans to set up F-35 jet manufacturing plant in India and the ageing Russian jet technology, he said upgrading fighter-jet technology would be discussed by Oreshkin-led delegation, members of which will have a deputy transport minister. India produces Sukhoi jets based on Russian technology.
Elaborating on Russian-Indian historical relationship, Sokolov stressed on the importance of the two countries in pursuing the development of INSTC as they were already leading players in all economic fields in their respective regions. He said INSTC calls for development of road, rail, maritime, civil aviation and logistics network links between North and South which would have significant economic developments, matching in importance to other corridors including the China-designed Belt Road Initiative.
Sokolov stressed on the need for development of aviation fleets and infrastructure, noting India’s ambitious airport development programmes based on Public Private Partnership (PPP) contract model backed by private investments. Russia has been using PPP model for developing airports for the past decade, the first of which was Pulkovo at St. Petersburg. The Russians have opened six PPP-model airports last year and will open at least another six this year, said Sokolov, who was part of developing the PPP model for Pulkovo airport 10 years ago.
Russian investors have already participated in a number of PPP-model airports, he added. “We can bring in (Russian) investments and (PPP) experiences” to India, he said, urging New Delhi to consider incorporating Russian experiences in the field of civil aviation. The minister believes there is a wider scope of Russian participation in India’s infrastructure development, including the maritime projects such as ports.