"In our military-technical cooperation we have come to a stage when, without signing of the agreement on the protection of Intellectual Property Rights (IPR), we cannot look ahead," Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov said here ahead of his trip to New Delhi to prepare the ground work for Putin's three-day visit.
During his stay in New Delhi, Ivanov will co-chair the fourth session of the Indo-Russian inter-governmental commission on military co-operation along with his Indian counterpart Pranab Mukherjee to finalise defence agenda for talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Putin on December 3.
Ivanov, who is a close confidant and personal friend of Putin and is seen by many as his possible successor, underscored that the absence of IPR protection agreement has become an "obstacle" in the development of defence co-operation involving the cutting-edge technologies.
"It has become something of an obstacle if we think of future, we can fulfill our previous obligations without this, but we cannot move ahead in high technology cooperation," Ivanov said.
He noted that Russia had submitted the draft of the agreement to India two years ago, but the Indian side has not even given its suggestions or proposals on it.
"We will not give away such high technology without signing IPR agreement, for free. India is a priority and strategic partner of Russia. It was also a strategic partner of Soviet Union, which used to give many things for free, but things have changed. Russia is a different country and there is a need for taking cognizance of this reality," Ivanov said.
He also expressed Russia's displeasure over the way New Delhi is treating its strategic partner on the issue of WTO accession and recognition of Russia as a market economy, a step already taken by the European Union, China and the US.
Ivanov said Indo-Russian defence co-operation is moving ahead in accordance with the long-term military technical programme till year 2010. However, like the BrahMos cruise missile project, which was not part of this programme, some new projects are in the pipeline for 2005 and in the coming years.
"I cannot share with you at this juncture, what are these projects. At proper time you will come to know," he said, but indicated that space could become a major thrust area of military co-operation.
"I would rather say the civilian and military cooperation involving space would become a thrust area of bilateral interaction," Ivanov told correspondents from India in Moscow.
He said Moscow was not afraid of competition in the Indian arms bazaar from the growing number of new players including the United States.
Asked to comment on India's plans to assess the US Patriot ABM system, Ivanov said Russia has already demonstrated its S-300 system to Indian experts at several occasions, and expressed doubts whether Patriot missiles could be amalgamated into the integrated air defence system modelled by Russia for India.
"To do this we have to get access to the source codes of Patriot missiles, which the US will not give. We also will not give our source codes if India goes ahead with the American system of control," Ivanov said.