New Delhi: India agreed to buy dozens of Russian military helicopters and kits for the assembly of Sukhoi jets at a summit in New Delhi on Monday, where the leaders of both countries reaffirmed their commitment to a strategic partnership.
India, traditionally one of Moscow’s top arms clients, said the two nations would also set up a joint venture to manufacture Russian-model helicopters and a $2 billion (around Rs.11,020 crore today) fund to invest in trade and economic cooperation projects.
“Russia is a key partner in our efforts to modernize our armed forces,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh said in a statement, welcoming Russian President Vladimir Putin as “a valued friend and the original architect of the India-Russia strategic partnership”.
Putin’s one-day trip, his first to India since he started a new six-year Kremlin term in May, underlines Russia’s interest in India, long a regional ally and now a partner in the BRICS group of emerging-market nations.
Writing in The Hindu newspaper earlier, Putin stressed that “deepening friendship and cooperation with India is among the top priorities of our foreign policy”.
“India and Russia show an example of responsible leadership and collective actions in the international arena,” he wrote, a veiled swipe at the West and in particular the US, which Putin accuses of seeking to impose its will on the world.
Russian defence industry sources had said the visit could produce deals on the sale of fighter jets and aircraft engines worth more than $7.5 billion. However, the main agreements appeared to fall short of that figure.
Kremlin sources said Russia will sell India 71 MI-17 V-5 military helicopters worth $1.3 billion as well as technological kits worth $1.6 billion to assemble 42 Sukhoi SU-30MKI fighter jets.
India’s foreign ministry said the original deal for these jets was agreed last year.
Separately, the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF)—a sovereign wealth fund—and State Bank of India will jointly invest up to $2 billion to boost trade and economic cooperation projects.
RDIF said in a statement that the two firms will work together to facilitate access to long-term capital in Russia and India and promote mutual investments between the two countries.
Tata Consultancy Services Ltd (TCS) and JSC Helicopters also signed three agreements to set up joint ventures and strengthen technology partnerships.
TCS and Russian firm Navigation Information Systems (NIS) signed a strategic cooperation agreement to establish and strengthen technology partner relations between the two enterprises in software development, systems integration, professional services and marketing of NIS products.
Further, Mumbai-based Elder Pharmaceuticals Ltd signed an agreement with Pharm Eco of Russia for a joint venture arrangement in the field of healthcare, according a statement by the Indian company. Reuters & PTI