Russia and India sign weapons deals

 

Russia and India signed weapons deals worth billions of dollars today as president Vladimir Putin sought to further boost ties with an old ally.

Mr Putin and Indian prime minister Manmohan Singh hailed co-operation between their countries as officials signed a  $1.6 billion (£989 million) deal for 42 Sukhoi Su-30 fighter jets that will be license-built in India from Russian components and a $1.3 billion (£803 million) contract for the delivery of 71 Mil Mi-17 military helicopters.

"We agreed to further strengthen the traditions of close co-operation in the military and technical areas," Mr Putin said after the signing in New Delhi.

Mr Singh said the talks included discussions on the security situation in the region, including Afghanistan.

"India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism," Mr Singh told reporters after the talks.

Russia and India have shared close ties since the Cold War, when Moscow was a key ally and the principal arms supplier to New Delhi.

The ties slackened after the collapse of the Soviet Union, but grew stronger again after Mr Putin came to power in 2000, seeking to revive Moscow's global clout and restore ties with old allies.

While the volume of Russian-Indian trade has risen sixfold since 2000 and is expected to reach $10 billion (£6.18 billion) this year, the growth has slowed in recent years. And even though India remains the number one customer for Russia's arms industries, Moscow has recently lost several multibillion-dollar contracts to Western weapons makers.

Russia has maintained its strong positions in the Indian market with $30 billion (£18.54 billion) worth of arms contracts with India signed in 2000-2010 that envisaged supplies of hundreds of fighter jets, missiles, tanks and other weapons, a large part of which were license-produced in India. The countries have co-operated on building an advanced fighter plane and a new transport aircraft, and have jointly developed a supersonic cruise missile for the Indian navy.

But the military co-operation has hit snags in recent years, as New Delhi shops increasingly for Western weapons. The Indians have also not always been happy with the quality of Russian weapons and their rising prices.

In one notable example, in 2004 Russia signed a $1 billion (£617 million) contract to refurbish a Soviet-built aircraft carrier for the Indian navy. While the deal called for the ship to be commissioned in 2008, it is still in a Russian shipyard and the contract price has reportedly soared to $2.3 billion (£1.42 billion). The target date for the carrier's completion was moved back again this year after it suffered major engine problems in sea trials. Russian officials now promise to hand it over to India at the end of 2013.

India has also demanded that Russia pay fines for failing to meet terms under a 2006 contract for building three frigates for its navy, the third of which is yet to be commissioned.

Russia has recently suffered major defeats in competition with Western rivals in the Indian arms market.

Last year, Russia lost a tender to supply the Indian air force with 126 new fighter jets worth nearly $11 billion (£6.8 billion) to France's Dassault Rafale. And last month, Boeing won India's order for a batch of heavy-lift helicopters worth $1.4 billion (£865 million).

Russia has sought to downplay recent defeats for its arms traders, saying that other weapons deals with India are under preparation.

As part of its co-operation with India, Russia has also built the first reactor at the Kudankulam nuclear power plant and is building a second unit there. The project has been delayed by protests by anti-nuclear groups and local residents.

The head of the Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom, Sergei Kiriyenko, told reporters that the reactors in Kudankulam are the safest in the world, adding that studies have shown that they would have withstood a disaster such as an earthquake and tsunami that caused multiple meltdowns and radiation leaks at the Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan last year. Mr Kiriyenko said Rosatom plans to build more reactors in India.

Mr Putin's visit was scheduled for late October, but was delayed as the Russian leader suspended foreign travel for about two months. The Kremlin acknowledged that he was suffering from a muscle pulled during judo training. Mr Putin resumed active travel earlier this month, making several foreign trips.

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
Arts and Entertainment
Ramsay Bolton in Game of Thrones
tvSeries 5, Episode 3 review
News
peoplePair enliven the Emirates bore-draw
Arts and Entertainment
tv
News
Britain's opposition Labour Party leader Ed Miliband (R) and Boris Johnson, mayor of London, talk on the Andrew Marr show in London April 26
General electionAndrew Marr forced to intervene as Boris and Miliband clash on TV
ebooks
ebooksA special investigation by Andy McSmith
  • Get to the point
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistant - Accounts Payable - St. Albans

£26000 - £28000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: Senior Accounts Assistan...

Ashdown Group: Treasury Assistant - Accounts Assistant - London, Old Street

£24000 - £26000 per annum + benefits : Ashdown Group: A highly successful, glo...

Recruitment Genius: Installation and Service / Security Engineer

£22000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company is part of a Group...

Recruitment Genius: Service Charge Accounts Assistant

£16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a a young, dynamic pers...

Day In a Page

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

Not even the 'putrid throat' could stop the Ross Poldark swoon-fest'

How a costume drama became a Sunday night staple
Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers as he pushes Tories on housing

Miliband promises no stamp duty for first-time buyers

Labour leader pushes Tories on housing
Aviation history is littered with grand failures - from the the Bristol Brabazon to Concorde - but what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?

Aviation history is littered with grand failures

But what went wrong with the SuperJumbo?
Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of Soviet-style 'iron curtains' right across Europe

Fortress Europe?

Fear of Putin, Islamists and immigration is giving rise to a new generation of 'iron curtains'
Never mind what you're wearing, it's what you're reclining on

Never mind what you're wearing

It's what you're reclining on that matters
General Election 2015: Chuka Umunna on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband

Chuka Umunna: A virus of racism runs through Ukip

The shadow business secretary on the benefits of immigration, humility – and his leader Ed Miliband
Yemen crisis: This exotic war will soon become Europe's problem

Yemen's exotic war will soon affect Europe

Terrorism and boatloads of desperate migrants will be the outcome of the Saudi air campaign, says Patrick Cockburn
Marginal Streets project aims to document voters in the run-up to the General Election

Marginal Streets project documents voters

Independent photographers Joseph Fox and Orlando Gili are uploading two portraits of constituents to their website for each day of the campaign
Game of Thrones: Visit the real-life kingdom of Westeros to see where violent history ends and telly tourism begins

The real-life kingdom of Westeros

Is there something a little uncomfortable about Game of Thrones shooting in Northern Ireland?
How to survive a social-media mauling, by the tough women of Twitter

How to survive a Twitter mauling

Mary Beard, Caroline Criado-Perez, Louise Mensch, Bunny La Roche and Courtney Barrasford reveal how to trounce the trolls
Gallipoli centenary: At dawn, the young remember the young who perished in one of the First World War's bloodiest battles

At dawn, the young remember the young

A century ago, soldiers of the Empire – many no more than boys – spilt on to Gallipoli’s beaches. On this 100th Anzac Day, there are personal, poetic tributes to their sacrifice
Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves

Follow the money as never before

Dissent is slowly building against the billions spent on presidential campaigns – even among politicians themselves, reports Rupert Cornwell
Samuel West interview: The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents

Samuel West interview

The actor and director on austerity, unionisation, and not mentioning his famous parents
General Election 2015: Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Imagine if the leading political parties were fashion labels

Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, on what the leaders' appearances tell us about them
Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka: Home can be the unsafest place for women

The architect of the HeForShe movement and head of UN Women on the world's failure to combat domestic violence