September 30, 2011

AK Antony to visit Russia next week to review military projects

In the run-up to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's summit-level talks in Russia later this year, defence minister A K Antony will be in Moscow next week to review ongoing and proposed bilateral military projects.

Sources said the impending 10-year lease of K-152 Nerpa nuclear submarine, the fifth-generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) project and the ongoing $2.33 billion refit of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov will figure during the India-Russia inter-governmental commission on military technical cooperation ( IRIGC-MTC) on Tuesday.

The FGFA project, in particular, is crucial since it will in the coming years become the biggest joint defence programme. As of now, India and Russia have only inked the $295 million preliminary design contract for it. But, as earlier reported, India will end up spending around $35 billion over the next two decades to induct 250-300 of the advanced stealth fighters from 2020 onwards.

Moreover, there are several problems still to be sorted out in the ongoing programmes. India remains unhappy about Russia not adhering to delivery schedules, jacking up costs mid-way through execution of agreements, creating roadblocks in technology transfer and failing to provide uninterrupted supply of spares. 
Times of India

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