Cabinet okays purchase of Russian aircraft, frigates
The Union Cabinet has approved the acquisition of aircraft and submarines
from Russia, Defence Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav
told the combined commanders
conference of the army, the navy and the air force in New Delhi.
Though he did
not specify the number of submarines, it is understood that two
submarines are to be imported and two are to be built indigenously.
A contract for the purchase is likely to be finalised during
the first meeting of the Indo-Russian Joint Working Group in
Moscow next month.
Reports say the new submarines have special features
for noise reduction, are
driven by a
powerful electric power plant, and will have an enhanced
range of 65,000
Yadav, however, ruled out the purchase of the 40,000 tonne Kiev class aircraft
carrier Admiral Gorshkov as a replacement for the now-retired
The Russian media had reported that India was expected to buy
two 887 design
each costing $ 800 million, and four
Illyusin IL-78 aircraft.
There has been no
confirmation or denial (about the
number) from New Delhi.
The mid-air refueller IL-78s would enhance the strike range
of India's newly-acquired
Sukhoi-30 multirole fighters to more than 5,000
The Russian media had also reported that an
IL-78 demonstration was viewed by
Air Marshal A Y
Tipnis, vice-chief of the air staff, at a Russian air force base near Moscow.
It said India was taking 'keen
interest' in top-of-the-line S-300 PMU-1 and Tunguska anti-
missile air defence systems.
During Yadav's visit to Russia earlier this month, Moscow is also reported
to have offered its still-under-development advanced jet trainer
MIG-AT to India. Earlier, India had
short-listed the British Hawk and the French Alpha Jet.
Russia is also retrofitting 125 MIG-21 BIS warplanes for the
Indian Air Force at an estimated cost of Rs 12 billion. Two prototypes are
under upgradation now. The rest of the planes
will be retrofitted in India.
Last year, India had signed the Rs 63 billion Sukhoi-30 deal -- its
biggest-ever arms deal -- with Russia for the outright purchase of 40
India is said to be one of the biggest buyers of Russian weapon
systems. The average weapons trade between the two is
believed to be around $ 800 million annually.
Russia's military-technical co-operation with India until 2000 is valued at
between $ 8 billion to $ 10 billion. The agreement was signed in December 1994
during Russian Prime Minister Viktor Chernomyrdin's visit to Delhi.
The high point of Yadav's visit to
Russia was the agreement to extend by a decade, up to 2010, their military-
technical co-operation. Moscow and Delhi has set up a JWG for the purpose.
Russia has categorically stated that the perspectives of Indo-Russian
co-operation in the 21st century have already been defined and
'all interests of India and Russia have been taken into account' in the
military-technical co-operation agreement.
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