Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin has recently paid a one-day visit to India. India is considered to be one of three largest buyers of Russian arms in the world. The portfolio of Russia's military contracts with India is evaluated at over 35 billion dollars. Yet, India has been a capricious partner for Moscow. Prior to Rogozin's visit, the Indian side rejected Russia's insistent appeals to join China's global transport project "One Belt On Road."
Even though Dmitry Rogozin, has not signed any final agreements in New Delhi, he has held talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the need to expand cooperation on the whole range of issues - from nuclear power to high technologies. Rogozin also met with Indian Defense Minister Nirmala Sitharaman.
In the future, Moscow and New Delhi are going to switch to "full life cycle" contracts that are to stay in effect during the entire period of the existence of arms and military equipment. "This means that Russia is going to switch from "sold and forgot it" principle to joint interaction with our Indian partners - from the time of sale to after-sales service, up to utilization," Rogozin specified.
"With the new defense minister of India, we have agreed to turn military industrial conferences, which we have already held this year, into a process of permanent harmonization of remarks that always arise in the exploitation of weapons and military equipment," Dmitry Rogozin said after his return to Moscow from India.
During the talks with the head of the defense ministry of India, Rogozin discussed such topics as exports of arms and spare parts to India, holding joint military exercises, expanding joint high-tech industries and developing military equipment and spare parts.
Experts note that a real breakthrough in the defense cooperation between the two countries took place in the autumn of 2016, when Russia and India concluded a number of agreements on the sidelines of the BRICS summit. The most important of those agreements was the document about the supplies of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems to India.
Defense export giant Rosoboronexport, Helicopters of Russia and Indian company Hindustan Aeronautics Limited signed an agreement on the establishment of a joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters. Under the terms of the contract, India will purchase first 60 helicopters from Helicopters of Russia, before 140 rotorcraft are assembled under license in the Indian city of Bangalore.
In addition, India agreed to purchase four Project 11356 frigates from Russia ("Admiral Grigorovich" class). In particular, the parties agreed that one ship would be built at Russia's Yantar shipyard, and three other frigates - in India. The agreement totaled about $3 billion.
Russia also agreed to let India lease multi-purpose nuclear submarine of Project 971 (class "Akula") from the Russian Navy. India had leased a submarine of this type in the past ("Chakra", known as "Nerpa").
In November, it transpired that New Delhi violated contract terms with Russia and allowed representatives of the Pentagon on board the Chakra submarine. Russian officials were annoyed about the appearance of US servicemen onboard a Russian-made submarine. Nevertheless, Moscow decided not to discuss the incident in public not to damage ties with New Delhi.
The visit of US servicemen to the Russian submarine was made possible thanks to the joint Indian-American defense cooperation program. In June, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Washington, where he had a meeting with President Donald Trump and agreed on deepening cooperation in the defense sphere. The White House is trying to draw India into the sphere of its influence to prevent the creation of a military and political alliance between Russia and India.
Meanwhile, Russia seeks to win India's participation in important regional transport projects. In particular, it goes about a project of "North-South" International Transport Corridor with a total length of 7,200 km. This route provides for the transit of goods from the Indian Ocean to the Persian Gulf. The project, if implemented, will create a strategic triangle Moscow-New Delhi-Tehran.
At the same time, India's participation in another major transport project - China's "One Belt One Road" - initiative remains questionable.
On December 21, Ravish Kumar, spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of India, said that such initiatives must be implemented on the basis of internationally recognized norms, in cooperation with effective leadership, under the conditions of the rule of law, openness and transparency not to violate territorial integrity and sovereignty of any countries.
Vladimir Putin, who acts as a supporter of "One Belt, One Road" project, has not been able to convince the Indian administration to join China's project, which serves as an indication of tensions in India's relationship with the Celestial Empire.
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