Russia assured full support in enhancing India’s defence capabilities under ‘Make in India’ initiative at the IRIGC-M&MTC meeting co-chaired by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Gen Sergei Shoigu here on Wednesday.
Both sides agreed to constitute specific working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms.
Earlier, Rajnath Singh inspected a guard of honour at the Russian Defence Ministry in Central Moscow. Welcoming him on his maiden visit to Russia as Defence Minister, Gen Shoigu termed India as an exclusive strategic defence partner.
Rajnath Singh emphasised that the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries was further strengthened following the Vladivostok Summit in September.
He highlighted the importance of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on the manufacturing of spares, components and aggregates in India through joint ventures that would reduce cost, timelines of supply and result in progressive indigenisation. This agreement is expected to provide a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
Responding to his invitation, Gen Shoigu assured him of robust Russian participation in DefExpo 2020, to be held in Lucknow from February 5-8, 2020. Both the Ministers also welcomed the outcome of the India-Russia Defence Industry Conference held in Moscow on November 5.
The Russian side affirmed its readiness to operationalise the joint venture lndo-Russia Rifles Private Limited for the manufacture of world-class Kalashnikov AK 203 rifles in India at the earliest.
Rajnath Singh held an in-depth discussion on a range of international issues of common concern. Gen Shoigu briefed him on Russian operations in Syria. The Russian side reaffirmed its strong support to India in the field of counter-terrorism and stated that it accords priority to New Delhi’s security interests in the region.
The Russian Defence Minister underlined Moscow’s commitment to extend all possible support in enhancing India’s defence capabilities, including cooperation in advance and cutting-edge technology. Rajnath Singh appreciated Russia’s steadfast support.
The ministers reviewed the progress of the two working groups on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation. It was agreed that the coming TriService Indra Exercises will be a major milestone in Military Cooperation between the two countries.
The Russian side affirmed its readiness to further deepen exchanges between the respective Military Training Institutions and informed that they would be deputing an officer for the prestigious National Defence College (NDC) course in New Delhi commencing in 2020.
Both sides expressed satisfaction on the progress in implementing ongoing contracts concluded in the recent past. Gen Shoigu agreed to his request to constitute specific working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms. They agreed to intensify efforts to finalise cooperation programme for 2021-2030 period. The ministers directed the respective teams to work closely for early conclusion of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support.
As a special gesture, Gn Shoigu requested Rajnath Singh for the participation of an Indian Military Contingent in the Army Parade on the occasion of 75th Anniversary of the victory in the Second World War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin had already extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the celebrations. Rajnath Singh assured him that an Indian contingent would be participating in the parade.
As a mark of the long-standing friendship between the Armed Forces of India and Russia, he presented General Shoigu a bowl mounted on a triangular base with three Indian Army soldiers’ statuettes in ceremonial regalia and rifle.
A Protocol was signed by the two ministers during the meeting.
Rajnath Singh will be visiting St Petersburg later today on the final day of his visit to Russia. His engagements include wreath-laying at the Piskarevsky Memorial Cemetery.
(Our News Desk can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org)