Calling Modi’s ‘Make in India’ program as a “correct decision” which Russia supports, Chemezov told ET that India was Russia’s number one partner followed by China. Russia is facing a testing time in face of US and EU sanctions due to annexation of Crimea from Ukraine.
“We are trying to work with other partners – India and China. Regarding India, you have survived a number of years in sanctions – our corporations helped you always. I hope that in these years (when Russia faces sanctions), India will not isolate (us) and give us help,” Chemezov has told ET in Moscow.
Over 200 KA-226T helicopters are expected to be produced jointly by Russia and India — the first major defence project under Modi’s ‘Make In India’ programme though both countries are still to sign the final contract.
India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the project in May. Victor Kladov, Head, International Cooperation, Rostec said they hoped to finalise its Indian partner for the project and complete the process to sign this deal with India “by the end of this year” as the negotiations were “in their final stage” and said “decisions were being made faster” in India since the new government has taken over. “PM Modi’s ‘Make In India’ scheme is the current worldwide trend and we are coming in line with it,” Kladov has told ET.
“When Indian PM Modi visited our stand in Bengaluru during the AeroIndia show earlier this year, we explained that we are ready to produce KA-226T choppers in India. He asked why so slow about the project – we replied saying we have been waiting for the defence ministry decision for 4 years – they declared tender, cancelled it, they declared new tender, again cancelled it and then readjusted their plans. So changing of policy by acquiring agency derailed and delayed in many ways. No at least we know the trend – Make in India. When PM Modi declares Make In India, it comes in line with the trend worldwide — this is the current trend worldwide, nobody is interested in just buying or selling,” Victor Kladov of Rostec has told ET.
Rostec CEO Sergev Chemezov said Russia has offered its comments to India that it was ready to work both with HAL and a company in the private sector for co-production of the KA-226 helicopters. “It is up to India to which company to choose. We are ready to work with both companies,” Chemezov said.
Kladov added that Russia knows India has plans to buy more MI-17 “and we are looking forward to negotiations” on it.
During the visit of Russian President Vladmir V. Putin to India last December, Modi had said Russia was and will remain India’s “primary defence supplier”. India has however been pursuing defence deals with other countries as well – including the recent decision to buy Rafale fighter aircraft from France – leading to a perception that India’s defence relations with Russia were getting diluted.