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High powered Russian defence delegation to discuss defense deals next monthnews
27 May 2007
New Delhi: In the backdrop of controversies arising from price escalation factors, related to the frontline Sukhoi-30MKI fighter planes and aircraft carrier INS Vikramaditya (ex-Adm Gorshkov), a high-level Russian defence delegation will visit India next month in a bid to sort out differences.

The tri-service delegation, headed by General Alexi Fedorovich Maslov, commander-in-chief of the Russian land forces, will comprise of top officials from the Russian land forces, navy, air force, ministry of defence and armament export agencies and will arrive here on June 3, on a visit expected to last five days.

There have been persistent reports in the media that Russian manufacturers have sought a review of defence contracts with India, and are demanding hundreds of millions of dollars more for completion of the INS Vikramaditya, and also for further deliveries of the SU-30MKI fighter aircraft. According to reports, the Russians have been citing their inability to meet deliveries under the existing escalation clause, saying that it was inadequate to match the drop in the value of the US dollar.

With reports also emerging that the Indian Army may be interested in ordering an additional 350 upgraded T-90S tanks, and with Indian PSUs having already signed MoUs for the joint development of a multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA), the Russian delegation may well be angling for these and other deals.

Reports would suggest that the T-90S tank deal might be finalized in the next two months.

Gen Maslov, is expected to hold talks with the three service chiefs, Gen JJ Singh, Admiral Sureesh Mehta and Air Chief Marshal Fali Homi Major, and the defence secretary, Shekhar Dutt. He is also expected to call on the defence minister, AK Antony.

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High powered Russian defence delegation to discuss defense deals next month