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India seeks Russian firms’ support in defence manufacturing

Arun Jaitley asked Russian companies to put forward proposals for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of advanced military platforms.

india Updated: Jun 21, 2017 16:49 IST
Defence minister Arun Jaitley is on a three-day visit to Russia.
Defence minister Arun Jaitley is on a three-day visit to Russia.(REUTERS file)

Showcasing policy initiatives for defence production in India, defence minister Arun Jaitley on Wednesday invited Russian firms to join hands with Indian companies in developing high-end military platforms and weapons systems.

In an address at a leading forum for technological development, Jaitley said Russian defence majors which already have a long experience of working in India are well placed to take advantage of the policy changes effected to encourage tie-ups between Indian and foreign companies.

Jaitley, here on a three-day visit, asked Russian companies to come forward with proposals for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of advanced military platforms.

“We have initiated a series of policy and procedural changes to facilitate tie-ups, including joint ventures and technology partnerships between Indian and foreign companies.

“Russian companies, which already have a long experience of working in India and working with India are well placed to take a leading role in this process,” he said.

In a major step towards defence indigenisation, India last month unveiled a “strategic partnership” model under which select private firms will be engaged along with foreign entities to build military platforms like fighter jets, submarines and battle tanks.

“In the days to come, we hope to fully harness the energies, entrepreneurial spirit and enterprise of the private sector in the area of defence manufacturing.

“Here again, Russia as India’s largest, oldest and most trusted partner in defence hardware and equipment, would have a comparative advantage in partnering with Indian companies for realising ‘Make in India’ potential in defence production,” Jaitley said in his address at the plenary of TECHNOPROM 2017.

The defence minister said Indian companies are already gearing up by developing capabilities for design and development of military systems.

“I invite Russian companies to come forward with proposals for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of more advanced components/parts and sub-systems. This can start with platforms of Russian origin where the requirement is in large numbers and is recurring in nature,” he said.

On June 23, Jaitley will co-chair the 17th meeting of the India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military- Technical Cooperation with his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu.

Russia has been one of India’s key major suppliers of arms and ammunition. However, it has been a long-standing grievance of armed forces that supply of critical spares and equipment from Russia takes a long time affecting maintenance of military systems procured from that country.