Chief of Naval Staff Admiral Sunil Lanba will begin a four-day visit to Russia on Monday with an aim to explore new avenues for the already close defence ties between the two countries, officials said Sunday.
The Navy chief will hold wide-ranging talks with his Russian counterpart, Admiral Vladimir Korolev, and meet a number of top military officials including General VV Gerasimov, Chief of General Staff and First Deputy Defence Minister of Russia, they said.
"The visit aims to consolidate bilateral defence relations with Russia, as also to explore new avenues for defence cooperation," Navy Spokesperson Capt. D K Sharma said.
Adm. Lanba's visit to Russia comes around a week after the two countries signed a USD 500 million deal for construction of two missile frigates in Goa for the Indian Navy.
Under the deal, Russia will provide design, technology know how and key materials to Goa Shipyard Ltd. for the construction of the ships in India.
Adm. Lanba is also scheduled to visit the Nakhimov Naval School and Admiralty Shipyard.
He will also visit the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation and deliver a talk on “Indian Navy’s Perspective on Maritime Security”, Capt. Sharma said.
Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India last month during which both sides had decided to further ramp up bilateral defence and security cooperation.
India is going ahead with mega defence deals with Russia disregarding warnings by the US of sanctions. The Trump administration has put several Russian firms under sanctions under Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
The US said countries engaged with Russia's defence firms may also face actions under CAATSA. India has been hoping to get a waiver from the US on the deals with Russia.
Russia has been India's largest defence supplier. The bilateral defence and security cooperation has been on an upswing over the last few years. The Indian and Russian navies cooperate on many fronts, including operational interactions and training.
The Indian Navy and the Russian Navy have been conducting the bilateral Maritime Exercise ‘INDRA NAVY’, since 2003 and INDRA Tri-Services Exercise since 2017.