Russia said on Thursday it was working “very hard” to advance the supply of S-400 surface-to-air missiles to India, although delivery of the first batch of the weapons system is expected by the end. next year.
During an online press conference, Russian Deputy Chief of Mission Roman Babushkin also said the two sides are working on a mutual logistical support deal and are close to reaching a multibillion-dollar deal under which an Indo-Russian joint venture will produce 200 Kamov Ka-226T attack helicopters for the Indian armed forces.
Asked whether the Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) signed between India and the United States will have security implications in the operation of platforms of Russian origin by the Indian armed forces, Babushkin did not respond directly, but said that Moscow’s defense ties with India are free from “foreign restriction and interference.”
“We are monitoring relations in strategic areas between India and other nations very closely, including the United States, of course. But at the same time, we are absolutely sure that whatever ties the India develops with other nations, they will not come at the expense of the interests of Russia, “he said.
Last month, India and the United States signed the landmark BECA agreement that provides for the sharing of high-end military technologies, geospatial maps and classified satellite data between their militaries.
“As to our defense cooperation with India, it is free from any restriction and foreign interference, as it reflects the national interests of both countries and we are proceeding with a great sense of confidence in the progress. future of our relationship, ”Babushkin said. noted.
Regarding the S-400 deal, he said: “The lead times have remained unchanged for now. The first batch is expected to be delivered by the end of 2021, but we are working very hard for an earlier supply.”
In October 2018, India signed a $ 5 billion deal with Russia to purchase five units of the S-400 air defense missile systems, despite the Trump administration’s warning that continuing the contract could result in a US sanction.
Given the evolving security scenario in its neighborhood, India recently asked Russia to explore the possibility of advancing the provision of interceptor-based missile systems that can destroy aircraft, missiles and even incoming hostile drones at distances of up to 400 km.
Last year, India paid Russia the first installment of around $ 800 million for missile systems. The S-400 is known as Russia’s most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defense system.
Babushkin said the agreement for the Kamov helicopter and another for the manufacture of 700,000 AK-47 203 rifles in India as part of an Indo-Russian joint venture was in the final stages of being finalized.
In October 2016, India and Russia had finalized a broad agreement to create a joint venture between Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) and two Russian defense majors for the purchase of 200 Kamov Ka-226T helicopters for the armed forces. Indian.
According to the agreement, 60 Kamov-226T helicopters will be supplied to India in flight condition, while 140 will be manufactured in India. Russia had agreed to ensure the transfer of technology to India under the pact.
India and Russia finalized the deal to manufacture AK-203 rifles during Defense Minister Rajnath Singh’s visit to Moscow two months ago.
Regarding the Mutual Logistics Support Agreement (MLSA), Babushkin said it would help deepen maritime security cooperation between the two countries, especially in the Indian Ocean region.
MLSA will allow the military of both countries to use their respective bases for repair and resupply of supplies, in addition to facilitating the intensification of global defense cooperation.
India has already signed similar agreements with the United States, Australia, Japan, France and Singapore.
The Russian deputy chief of mission also said the two countries are also working on a number of other military procurement programs, including the supply of another batch of Su-30 MKI aircraft to India. The other major programs he mentioned relate to main battle tanks, frigates, submarines and missiles.
Kamov helicopters will be supplied to the Indian Air Force and Army. Both forces have been pushing for an early conclusion of the deal so that they can replace their aging fleet of existing helicopters within the next three to four years.
Babushkin said Russia is also aiming to secure its largest attendance at the upcoming Aero-India show, considered Asia’s largest aerospace show. The exhibition will take place in Bangalore in February.
“It will also see new developments in our defense partnerships,” he said.
(Only the title and image of this report may have been reworked by Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)