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Ties with Russia deep and strong: PM

Manmohan says defence cooperation with Russia has a vital element of trust.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2007 12:53 IST

India has said defence cooperation with Russia has provided a vital element of trust and stability to bilateral ties and there is a need to further strengthen the linkages between New Delhi's requirements and the Russian defence industry in a long term perspective.

"Defence cooperation has provided a vital element of trust and stability and a solid foundation to our bilateral ties. Our cooperation with Russia in matters of defence is very deep and very strong and it has existed from the times of the former Soviet Union," Prime Minister Manmohan Singh told the Russian media in an interview.

He reminded that today most of the equipment used by the three wings of the Indian armed forces are of Russian origin.

The prime minister also noted that India has played a role in easing the difficult situation of the Russian defence industry following the Soviet Union's collapse by placing large defence orders worth several billion dollars with Russia - in the shape of the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian Navy, T-90 tanks for the Indian Army and the Sukhoi-30MKI aircraft for our Air Force.

Although India will continue to be a large defence market in the years ahead because of its defence requirements, Singh, however, called for firmly moving away from "buyer-seller" relations as competitive pressure on the market will also increase.

"The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is a good example of a joint Indo-Russian effort in this direction. We need to work on further strengthening the linkages between Indian requirements and the Russian defence industry in a longer term perspective," Singh said.