Defence minister Manohar Parrikar on Wednesday asked Russia to take part in the Centre’s Make in India plan in a big way. During talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu, Parrikar explained the Indian policy to boost domestic manufacturing and sought enhanced participation of Russian defence enterprises to fuel it.
Russia had last month offered to build one of its most advanced helicopters in India, in line with the Make in India plan. This could be the stepping stone for the two countries to explore newer areas of defence cooperation. Shoigu is here for the 14th meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Technical Cooperation, co-chaired by Parrikar.
The two sides reviewed ongoing defence cooperation and agreed to hold interactions at regular intervals to conform to project deadlines, a key concern for India. Some programmes that could be accelerated include the joint design and development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft at a cost of $35 billion and the multi-role transport aircraft project. Irritants in bilateral ties include a problem of steady supply of spares and poor vendor support after the disintegration of the Soviet Union.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that “the time-tested special and privileged strategic partnership” between India and Russia gathered fresh momentum during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to New Delhi last December.
Interacting with Shoigu, Modi recalled the successful visit and conveyed to Moscow he looked forward to visiting Russia this year for the 7th BRICS summit and the bilateral annual summit.