New Delhi, June 22 (IANS) Defence Minister Rajnath Singh left for a three-day visit to Russia on Monday amid heightened tensions between India and China along the Line of Actual Control. The minister will discuss various defence deals with his counterparts which both countries have agreed upon.
Among the defence deals to be discussed, Singh is likely to bring up expediting the delivery of S-400 anti-missile system to India.
Defence deals between India and Russia are set to cross $16 billion. Moscow has stated that it is committed to the timely implementation of contracts, including the supply of S-400 air defence systems and production of Kalashnikov rifles and Kamov helicopters.
The two countries signed 14 memorandums of understanding (MoUs) during Defexpo 2020 in Lucknow in February this year that covered development and production of land, air and naval systems and hi-tech civilian products.
Russia’s state-run Rosoboronexport inked deals with the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) for advanced pyrotechnic ignition systems, Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) for export of spares and services to friendly countries, and Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) for land systems.
A separate MoU was signed by Russian Helicopters and Indo-Russian Helicopters Ltd for localisation of component to be used in Kamov Ka-226 helicopters. India has plans to buy 200 Ka-226 helicopters.
Indian Air Force (IAF) signed a Rs 1500 crore deal with Russia for buying R-27 air-to-air missiles. The missiles will be fitted on the IAF’s multi-role Su-30MKI fighter jets. The missiles will further boost the air-to-air combat capability of the Indian Air Force.
After holding talks with top Russian military brass, Singh will attend a grand military parade in Moscow to mark the 75th anniversary of the Soviet victory over Nazi Germany in the Second World War.
On Wednesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will also attend the Russia-India-China meet. The Chinese and Russian Foreign Ministers will also be present.
The Defence Minister’s visit to Russia comes as a standoff between India and China has escalated in which 20 Indian Army personnel were killed by Chinese troops in eastern Ladakh’s Galwan Valley on June 15.
Before leaving for Moscow, Singh tweeted: “Leaving for Moscow on a three-day visit. The visit to Russia will give me an opportunity to hold talks on ways to further deepen the India-Russia defence and strategic partnership. I shall also be attending the 75th Victory Day Parade in Moscow.”
A tri-service 75-member Indian military contingent has already reached Moscow and will participate in the parade alongside armed forces personnel from at least 11 countries.