Russia won't arm India's enemies: Dy PM Rogozin

Russia won't arm India's enemies: Dy PM Rogozin

Russia today firmly assured India that it will not arm its "enemies" with visiting Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin also indicating Moscow's willingness to expand cooperation in defence production by building a new transport aircraft and battle tanks.

"You must understand that we do not deal with your enemies. We don't deliver any arms to them.... If you see otherwise, you may spit on my face," Rogozin told reporters here when asked if Russia would supply arms to Pakistan.

He said Russia has no restrictions in delivering arms and weapons to India "because there are no conflicts and contradictions in our relations".

"We never created problems for India on its frontiers in difference from other countries.

That is a political advantage (for Russia) as a friend of India," the Russian leader said.

Rogozin, who will co-chair the Inter-Governmental Commission meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) with External Affairs Minister S M Krishna here tomorrow, said that Russia was ready to cooperate with India in producing a transport plane with a payload of six tonnes as well as developing battle tanks.

Noting the success in producing the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles jointly, he said that Russia was keen to cooperate with India and make it a top defence producer.

At the same time, he acknowledged that there were problems in handing over the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov to India due to technical reasons. He said new technology always encounters some complaints and asserted that India will be proud to have such a ship for its navy.

The ship encountered malfunction in the main power plant and the boiler. Rogozin said Indian partners and crew were onboard the ship and the two sides were trying to rectify the problems.

"We know that time-table is very important. Quality is prime point. Problems have been found on equipment supplied by third countries.

"But sometimes, problems may occur. Specifications were agreed by Indian and Russian parties. Flight tests from the carrier have been successful. The ship may be a good carrier for India," he said.

"Every new technology may provoke some complaints. If old technologies were provided complaints may not arise," Rogozin said adding, "I would say you will be proud to have such a ship for your navy."

India had signed the contract for buying the second-hand warship, now rechristened INS Vikramaditya, in 2004 and it was supposed to be delivered in 2009. Due to recurring escalation in price, it was rescheduled to be delivered in December this year but the present problem has pushed it back by almost one more year.

The two sides signed the original USD 947 million dollar deal for the purchase of the carrier, formerly the Russian Navy's Admiral Gorshkov, but delivery has already been delayed twice, pushing up the cost of refurbishing the carrier to at least USD 2.3 billion.
Last week, Russia assured India that it will handover Admiral Gorshkov towards the end of next year.

The issue came up at a meeting here between Defence Minister A K Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov during which Moscow said the 45,000-tonne aircraft carrier had suffered a "big malfunction" in its engine and could be handed over only in "fourth quarter of 2013".

"We have handed over the revised overhaul and transfer schedule to the Indian side and we believe that transfer of the ship will take place in the 4th quarter of the 2013," Serdyukov told reporters.

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