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India-Russia: Bound by arms and space
Vinay Shukla in Moscow | January 24, 2007 11:16 IST
India has said defence cooperation with Russia has provided a vital element of trust and stability to bilateral ties and there is a need to further strengthen the linkages between New Delhi's requirements and the Russian defence industry in a long term perspective.
"Defence cooperation has provided a vital element of trust and stability, and a solid foundation to our bilateral ties. Our cooperation with Russia in matters of defence is very deep and very strong and it has existed from the times of the former Soviet Union," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Russian media in an interview.
He reminded that today, most of the equipment used by the three wings of the Indian armed forces is of Russian origin.
The prime minister also noted that India has played a role in easing the difficult situation of the Russian defence industry following the Soviet Union's collapse by placing large defence orders worth several billion dollars with Russia -- in the shape of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian Navy, T-90 tanks for the Indian Army and the Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft for our Air Force.
Although India will continue to be a large defence market in the years ahead because of its defence requirements, Dr Singh, however, called for firmly moving away from 'buyer-seller' relations as competitive pressure on the market will also increase.
"The Brahmos supersonic cruise missile is a good example of a joint Indo-Russian effort in this direction. We need to work on further strengthening the linkages between Indian requirements and the Russian defence industry in a longer term perspective," Dr Singh said.
Dr Singh said space cooperation between the two countries is well-established and there is enormous future for new products.
In the space sector, India and Russia have agreed to cooperate in the GLONASS programme, which recognises the strengths of India's space-related capabilities as well as a willingness to create a partnership 'in this highly advanced sector that will in time also yield considerable commercial dividends,' he said.
Both sides have agreed to further deepen their cooperation in defence and space sectors, he said, adding that President Vladimir Putin's visit will further cement these ties.