Indo-Rus­sian de­fence deals should fur­ther progress: Rosoboronex­port

SP's MAI - - MILITARY - — R. Chandrakanth

Avery vo­cal Deputy Di­rec­tor Gen­eral of Rosoboronex­port, the Rus­sian de­fence ex­port agency, Vik­tor M. Ko­mardin be­gan his in­ter­ac­tion with the me­dia at NAMEXPO 2013 in Kochi by stat­ing that only Rus­sia was pre­dom­i­nant in the show. “Where are the other coun­tries?,” he asked.

Tak­ing his ar­gu­ment fur­ther, Ko­mardin said In­dia and Rus­sia are ‘ge­net­i­cally friendly’ and ‘pol­i­tics comes first and eco­nom­ics comes sec­ond’ in this re­la­tion­ship. Dis­miss­ing the ques­tion that In­dia was mov­ing away from Rus­sia with re­gard to de­fence deals, he re­marked ‘never judge by dig­its’. In­dian im­ports with Rus­sia are in­creas­ing and Rus­sia has been trans­fer­ring tech­nolo­gies.

“More than 70 war­ships have been built for In­dia over 45 years of Rus­sian-In­dian co­op­er­a­tion in the naval sphere. Rus­sia is pro­vid­ing as­sis­tance in de­sign­ing and sup­ply­ing sys­tems and equip­ment for in­dige­nously de­vel­oped ships un­der con­struc­tion in In­dia. Among them are the Project 15A, 15B de­stroy­ers, Project 17 frigates and Project 71 air­craft car­rier. In ad­di­tion, Sev­mash, part of USC, is com­plet­ing the tri­als of the air­craft car­rier Vikra­ma­ditya.”

On the medium multi-role com­bat air­craft (MMRCA) deal, Ko­mardin said the pro­cure­ment of 126 Rafale air­craft had been de­layed and that cost had al­most dou­ble. “While the con­tract nego- tia­tions be­tween the buyer and the low­est bid­der would nor­mally wit­ness the buyer ask­ing for fur­ther low­er­ing of price, the MMRCA ne­go­ti­a­tions saw the price al­most dou­ble. What does this mean?”

Ko­mardin also said that the fifth-gen­er­a­tion fighter air­craft be­ing jointly de­vel­oped by In­dia and Rus­sia would be ready in the next five years and it would be a gen­er­a­tion ahead of the Rafale. As for the multi-role trans­port air­craft (MTA), de­vel­oped by the Rus­sian United Air­craft Cor­po­ra­tion-Trans­port Air­craft and the Hin­dus­tan Aero­nau­tics Lim­ited (HAL) un­der a joint ven­ture, he said the project would take time to fruc­tify as bu­reau­cracy made pro­cesses cum­ber­some and dif­fi­cult.

Re­gard­ing naval po­ten­tial, he said the Rus­sian com­pa­nies were look­ing at deep­en­ing co­op­er­a­tion with In­dia’s state and pri­vate man­u­fac­tur­ers of naval equip­ment, in par­tic­u­lar, the joint de­sign and con­struc­tion of new ships. Rosoboronex­port was hold­ing talks with its part­ners in South East Asia, where po­ten­tial cus­tomers are show­ing in­ter­est in pa­trol boats and Project 22460E pa­trol ships, Gepard 3.9 class frigates, Bas­tion and Bal-E coastal de­fence mis­sile sys­tems, ship­borne SAM and ar­tillery sys­tems, and anti-ship mis­siles.

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