New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh has a packed agenda in Russia as he began a three-day visit Tuesday. Singh is set to focus on ‘Make in India’ as Moscow pitches for a government-to-government deal for Project 75 India (P75I) to build six new conventional submarines and a more detailed upgrade of Russia’s frontline fighter aircraft Su30 MKI than what is being planned by IAF.
Accompanied by several Indian businesspersons, Singh will co-chair the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC) in Moscow.
India and Russia will also focus on firming up the Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support (ARLS), allowing both nations to access each other’s military bases and facilities for logistics support, including fuel and supplies.
The defence minister will further review the progress of two mega deals that were signed between India and Russia — construction of two frigates for the Indian Navy and supply of S400 Triumf air defence systems, sources said.
Russian is expected to push for a contract to manufacture the much-awaited Kamov 226T light helicopters in India too. While technical details of the chopper project have been worked out, the contract of a HAL-Kamov combine is yet to be awarded.
Singh will hold detailed discussions with his Russian counterpart, Sergei Shoigu, on areas of military-to-military and defence industrial cooperation. He will also inaugurate the India-Russia Defence Industry Cooperation Conference along with Denis Manturov, the Russian minister of industry and trade.
Russia eyes Su30 upgrade, P75I
Russia has been eyeing the Indian Navy’s mega P75I initiative, worth around Rs 80,000 crore, and will pitch for a joint design and production plan via a government-to-government agreement.
Highly placed sources have told ThePrint that Russia will raise the matter during discussion with Singh. Moscow’s proposal tells how “India needs better submarines than the French-made Scorpene” — which the Indian Navy is in the process of inducting.
Russia wants to use its new Lada class submarines (the export version of which is called Amur), built by the Admiralty Shipyard, as a prototype for the design and construction of the new submarines.
It will also propose an elaborate upgrade of the Su-30 MKI aircraft, to be called the Super Sukhois. The country has already submitted a proposal for it even as the Indian Air Force (IAF) is looking at a more functional upgrade, keeping in mind the cost of production and time required for it.
India plans to upgrade its fleet of Su-30 MKIs with more advanced avionics, radars and weapons. The IAF is eyeing a new computer system for greater weapon control and integration of new missiles and PGMs (precision-guided munitions). The force is also looking to integrate more non-Russian missiles.
Defence Minister Singh may visit Russian defence production facilities in and around St Petersburg, including the production facility of the S400 system.