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Friday, January 26, 2007

India and Russia Sign Four Documents to Give a Boost to Military Cooperation

The Defence Cooperation between India and Russia got a further boost when four different documents were signed here today between the two countries at the conclusion of the Sixth Meeting of the India - Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC). The Meeting was co-chaired by the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and the visiting Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Russia Mr. Sergey Borisovich Ivanov.

The first agreement is on License Production and Technical Documents for the RD 33 series 3 Aero Engines; the second one is the general contract for RD 33 series 3 Aero engines and associated products. The two sides also signed a Protocol of intent for the joint development and production of multi-role Transport Aircraft and the Protocol of the Sixth India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation.

The Sixth Inter-Governmental Commission meeting witnessed the strategic depth of India -Russia defence relations widening to encompass non-defence strategic areas such as information technology and space research.

In his opening remarks, the Defence Minister Shri AK Antony said that Indo-Russian Defence Cooperation is inter-dependent and mutually beneficial. He said this has graduated from a simple buyer - seller relationship to joint research, development and production. Referring to the Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos, Shri Antony said that India would like to have more such joint efforts in the years to come.

The Defence Minister said that both sides are in advanced stage of negotiations in the joint development and production of multi-role transport aircraft and fifth generation fighter aircraft. Shri Antony said "necessary measures are being taken to expeditiously finalise the respective inter-governmental agreement in this regard".

Shri Antony said Russia is the only country with whom we have an institutionalised mechanism at the level of defence ministers to monitor our military technical cooperation. He said the India-Russia Intergovernmental commission is an effective set up to monitor the progress and give directions for the development of the military technical cooperation. The Minister expressed happiness that the meetings under this Inter-governmental commission have been held under the revised format where the sub-groups, working groups and the inter-governmental commission met in a spaced manner with a view to discuss and resolve various issues at appropriate levels.

Referring to the institutionalised mechanism to monitor execution of military technical cooperation programmes, the Minister stressed the need to monitor the timely implementation of the decisions being taken in these meetings. In this regard he suggested that both sides could work out a mechanism where all concerned - the enterprises, government agencies and the user could join together.

Referring to the next round of joint naval exercises in Russian waters which are scheduled in April this year, Shri Antony said while we have traveled far ahead in our military technical cooperation, there is a need to develop professional military-to-military cooperation between the armed forces of the two countries. This includes exchange of each other’s expertise, training cooperation, joint-exercises etc. He said the term of the 1996 Agreement exclusively covering military to military cooperation has expired and we could consider signing a fresh Agreement duly taking into account the present day requirements. There is also need to impart a greater degree of strategic security dialogue between the officials of our Ministries of Defence and between the Service personnel of the Armed Forces of the two sides.

The Defence Minister said current issues of mutual concern such as international terrorism, non-proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and timely delivery of assistance and rehabilitation during and after major natural disasters, are areas where we could have greater exchange of ideas. This would be to the mutual benefit of our countries and with an improved professional military-to-military cooperation. Shri Antony said problems arising in military technical cooperation could also be addressed in an effective manner.

Shri Antony said India's ties with the Russian Federation are time tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding. There is a national consensus in the two countries on the need to preserve and strengthen the fundamentals of India-Russia relations and they are unaffected by political developments in either country. The Defence Minister said "we share common concern in the fight against global terrorism and in ensuring peace and stability in our respective regions". Shri Antony recalled the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation signed during the visit of President Putin in the year 2000 which lays down the contours of India-Russia relations in the 21st century and elevates them to a new level.

Earlier in the day, the Russian Deputy Prime Minister and the Defence Minister Mr. S B Ivanov laid wreath at Amar Jawan Jyoti. He was given a ceremonial Guard of Honour on his arrival at Ministry of Defence.

The next meeting of the IRIGC - MTC will be held in Moscow this year.
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