PM to sign deal for extending military cooperation with Russia


A broad protocol for continuing with the Inter- Governmental Commission for Military and Technical Cooperation (IGC-MTC) was agreed to during Defence Minister A K Antony's three-day visit to Russia that ended today.

The 10-year IGC-MTC, which was signed in 1998, began in 2000 and will come to an end in 2010. The protocol signed by Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov today was for extension of the IGC-MTC till 2020, an agreement for which would be signed during Singh's visit, Defence Ministry officials said here.

The two-day ninth IGC-MTC meeting, co-chaired by Serdyukov, which began in Moscow yesterday was attended by Antony.
"A protocol highlighting the various aspects of these projects was signed at the conclusion of the two-day IGC-MTC meeting. Both sides reiterated the commitment of the two governments to extend the ongoing programme of military technical cooperation for a further ten years, from 2011 to 2020," officials added.

Singh is visiting Moscow in December to attend the India-Russia Summit, the officials said.

At the IGC-MTC meeting, India and Russia reviewed the status of various ongoing bilateral defence cooperation projects, including joint design and development of a Fifth General Fighter Aircraft (FGFA), Medium Transport Aircraft (MTA), indigenous production of the Russian T-90S tanks at the Heavy Vehicles Factory in Avadi near Chennai, upgrading the Sukhoi fighter jets and joint development of a hypersonic BrahMos-II cruise missile.

"Antony and Serdyukov expressed the hope that the inter-governmental agreement in this regard would be signed during the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow in December for the India-Russia Summit," Defence Ministry officials said.

Antony, in his opening remarks at the meeting, said the two countries have had an enduring strategic partnership and defence ties and described Russia as a "time-tested and dependable friend" of India.
He emphasised that India was determined to strengthen the bond in all areas of bilateral relations and noted that over the years defence relations with Russia had evolved from "a simple buyer-seller relationship to a broadbased partnership," where both countries were involved in joint design, development and production of defence equipment.

Taking note of the structured mechanisms for defence interactions with Russia, Antony said at the meeting that Russia was the only country with which India has such a well-established multi-tiered mechanism, which contributed to strengthening of the bilateral ties.
An agreement would be signed during the Summit for after-sales maintenance of defence equipment of Russian origin used by the Indian Armed Forces.
The Indian delegation to the two-day IGC-MTC meeting included Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar Singh and other senior officials of the Defence Ministry and the Armed Forces.

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