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India, Russia sign big-ticket defence deals; resolve to fight terror jointly

15 October 2016

India and Russia on Saturday sealed a number of strategic defence deals, including India's acquisition of the S-400 'Triumf' air defence systems from Russia at a cost of over $5 billion. The two countries will also collaborate in making four state-of-art frigates besides setting up a joint production facility for making Kamov 226T helicopters.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin (Left)

Besides, the two countries decided to deepen cooperation in a range of crucial sectors and resolved to fight terrorism unitedly.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin held wide-ranging talks covering the entire expanse of bilateral engagement following which the two sides signed a total of 16 MoUs and made three announcements to boost ties in sectors like trade and investment, hydrocarbons, space and smart cities.

The agreements lay the foundations for deeper defence and economic ties in years ahead, Modi said after signing the deals.

''The agreements on manufacturing of Kamov 226T helicopters, constructions of frigates and acquisition and building of other defence platforms are in synergy with India's technology and security priorities,'' Modi stated in a press release.

He said, in order to achieve the objectives of Make in India, the two countries also agreed to work on an annual military industrial conference that will allow stakeholders on both sides to institute and push collaboration. ''These projects are new chapters in a long history of strong and diverse defence partnership that both sides can take much pride in,'' headded.

Putin and Modi also jointly laid the foundation of Kundankulum 3 and 4, which the Indian Prime minister described as the tangible results of India-Russia strategic cooperation. Another eight reactors are proposed to be constructed with Russian assistance.

Modi also cited the $5.5 billion Indian investments in Russia's oil and gas sector, adding that with President Putin's support, India hoped to expand the scope of that engagement further.

''We are also undertaking a joint study of a gas pipeline route between our two countries. A combination of robust civil nuclear cooperation, LNG sourcing, partnership in the oil and gas sector, and engagement in renewables can construct a promising 'Energy Bridge' between our two countries,'' he added.

Reading out a statement to the media in the presence of Putin, the Prime Minister appreciated Russia's understanding and support of India's actions to fight cross-border terrorism, an oblique reference to India's surgical strike across the LoC targeting terror launch pads.

''Russia's clear stand on the need to combat terrorism mirrors our own. We deeply appreciate Russia's understanding and support of our actions to fight cross-border terrorism that threatens our entire region.

''We both affirmed the need for zero tolerance in dealing with terrorists and their supporters,'' Modi said.

Putin, on his part, said both countries have close cooperation in fighting terrorism.

The two sides signed an Inter Governmental Agreement for the purchase of S-400 'Triumf' long-range air defence missile system which has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.

Another important deal is for four Admiral Grigorovich-class (Project 11356) guided-missile stealth frigates.

''These projects are new chapters in a long history of strong and diverse defence partnership that both sides can take much pride in,'' he said.

He said, ''We are working to model a partnership that befits our common ambition and meets our shared goals for the twenty-first (21st) century.

''Our close friendship has given clear direction, fresh impulse, stronger momentum and rich content to our ties. In the emerging regional and global landscape, it has been a source of strength and substance, a driver of peace and a factor of stability.''

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