Russian President Vladimir Putin, left, confers with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh on Dec. 24 during a documents signing ceremony in New Delhi. ()
NEW DELHI — India has contracted weapons purchases worth around $3 billion from Russia during Russian President Vladmir Putin’s Dec. 24 visit to New Delhi.
Putin and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh discussed defense and nuclear cooperation issues in summit-level talks, said an official of the Indian Foreign Ministry.
The weapons purchase agreement was signed by Indian and Russian officials here and include a $1.6 billion deal for India to purchase 42 Sukhoi SU-30 MKI fighter jets and a $1.3 billion contract for the delivery of 71 Mi-17 V5 military helicopters.
India’s effort to build its homemade, medium-lift helicopter has been lying on the shelf for over three years, and more Mi-17 V5 helicopters could be contracted with Russia next year, said a source in the Indian Air Force. With this contract, the number of Su-30MKIs in the IAF would increase to 272 from 170.
The purchase of 71 Mi-17 V5 advanced version helicopters is a follow-up order to one in 2008 in which 80 Mi-17 V5 helicopters were contracted. IAF is using the Russian-made Mi-17d and Mi-8d to carry utility cargo and troops. The Mi-17 V5 will replace aging Mi-17 helicopters in the IAF.
The summit also included talks on the allied withdrawal from Afghanistan.
“India and Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism,” Singh told reporters after the talks.
The delayed delivery of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshokov to Indian Navy also was discussed. The carrier is nearly five years behind schedule, said a source in the Indian defence ministry. However, there were no talks of a penalty being imposed, the source added.
Ahead of Putin’s visit, India and Russia signed a deal Dec. 21 to jointly develop the air version of the BrahMos cruise missile which will be fitted on Russian made Sukhoi aircraft with the IAF. The Indian Air Force plans to mount air launched BrahMos cruise missiles on Su_30MKI aircraft at a cost of over $1 billion.
India and Russia also signed a memorandum of understanding to cooperate in satellite navigation through the Russian constellation of satellites Glonass. The signals from the Russians will be used to navigate a variety of missiles, including nuclear ones, a defense ministry official said. Glonass is an alternative to the U.S.-controlled Global Positioning System (GPS).