New Delhi: Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoygu will arrive here tomorrow on a three-day visit to hold talks with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar and review the ongoing cooperation and future prospects in the crucial sector.
During the talks, the Russian side is expected to raise the issue of the much-delayed joint production of a Fifth-Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and BrahMos mini-missile. It is also expected to discuss Russian President Vladimir Putin's offer last month to produce the ‘Kamov' military helicopters in India, among other things. The question of a possible lease of a second nuclear submarine from Russia could also come up in the meeting that is being held just days ahead of US President Barack Obama's visit to the country.
Currently, India operates an 8,140-tonne Akula Class submarine—renamed the INS Chakra—which was leased in 2011 from Russia for a period of 10 years. The issues would feature as part of discussions as the two counterparts chair the 13th meeting of the Russian-Indian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC).
“The two ministers will review the progress made so far and the future scope,” defence sources said. One of the most important deals in the works between India and Russia at present is the FGFA. A Russian team was in the national capital last month to discuss the deal and iron out any differences.
India has said that the basic prototype of the plane is already flying and the Indian version had just a few variations, hence a full-fledged R&D contract would be a waste of time and resources, official sources said. The preliminary design agreement on the FGFA had been signed in 2010 between HAL and the Russian Sukhoi Design Bureau to build the jet for use by both countries.
But the final R&D contract, which was to be signed by 2012, is still to be finalised. The contract would pave the way for prototype development and flight testing. Russia is also expected to push for a key deal for the joint development of a BrahMos ‘mini missile'. However, sources said that a tripartite agreement in this regard is unlikely to be signed between DRDO, NPOM lab of Russia and BrahMos Aerospace.
The Russian Minister will also be visiting the BrahMos aerospace centre in the national capital.