Russia on Wednesday made a strong pitch for bagging the 126-fighter jet deal of the Indian Air Force positioning its MiG-35, even as it announced that India had made its "final choice" to participate in the joint development of the fifth generation figher aircraft.
At the sixth meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation, the Russian side discussed the proposal for "future supply" of MiG-35 fighter aircraft under IAF's multi-role combat aircraft (MRCA) project, Russian Defence Minister Sergei B Ivanov said in New Delhi.
The MiG-35s would compete with US Lockheed Martin's F-16 Falcons, Boeing's F-18A Super Hornet, Swedish Grippen fighter, French Rafael and the Eurofighter Typhoon.
On Wednesday's meeting, where the Indian delegation was led by Defence Minister AK Antony, the two sides also discussed the joint development and production of the fifth generation figher aircraft.
Observing that Russia had started developing the new fighter three years ago, Ivanov said, "some time back, India showed interest in joining this project. It took them (India) some time to scrutinise the various options.
"India has informed us that a final choice has been made... We can now open up contractual work for Indian accession to the project", Ivanov, who was accompanied by the Indian Defence Minister, said after signing four documents.
Russian officials said had recently taken a "final decision" on the design of India's own fifth generation aircraft. The Russian version of the fighter is based on the Sukhoi model and is expected to take to the sky in 2009.