Russia's MiG-29 fighter jets offer bolsters New Delhi-Moscow special ties


A Russian MiG-29 fighter jet (Image courtesy: Ministry of Defence, Russia)

The Russians are making a strong pitch for supplying MiG-29 fighter jets for the Indian Air Force (IAF). Mosocw has made a commercial offer for the delivery of 21 MiG-29 fighter aircraft, news reports quoted the press officer of Russia's Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC), Valeria Reshetnikova, as saying on the sidelines of MAKS-2021 International Aviation and Space Salon, which opened Tuesday in Zhukovsky, outside Moscow.

"The Indian Air Force staff received a tender request for the supply of 21 aircraft in 2021. The Russian side has transferred to Indian partners the commercial offer that is now being considered by the customer," said Reshetnikova as per a Sputnik news agency report quoted by ANI.

It was in July 2020 that the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) under the chairmanship of Defence Minister Rajnath Singh had approved a capital acquisition of various platforms and equipment worth Rs 38,900 crore which also included the proposal for procurement of 21 MiG-29.

The move was aimed at strengthening the Indian Armed Forces and addressed the long-felt need of the IAF to increase its fighter squadrons. The proposals also included upgradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft.

The MiG-29 procurement and upgradation from Russia was estimated to cost Rs 7,418 crore.

The upgraded aircraft, allotted to a frontline squadron, are equipped with state-of-the art avionics, an array of smart air-to-air and air-to-ground weapons and are capable of in-flight refuelling which significantly increases its combat potential.

Analysts believe that the Indian Defence Minister's visits to Moscow last year has played a major role in significantly increasing the defence cooperation between the two countries.

India has welcomed Russia's willingness to actively engage in India’s ‘Make in India’ programme for the co-development and production of high technology defence items, terming the defence relations as an integral pillar of the 'Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership' between the two countries.

New Delhi has taken a number of steps to expedite the collaboration between the Indian and Russian companies after the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on the joint manufacturing of spares in India signed in Vladivostok on September 4, 2019. The IGA provides a framework for partnership of Russian Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) with Indian industry for manufacturing of spare parts of Russian origin equipment in use by the Indian defence forces under the 'Make in India' initiative.

India believes that there is substantial commonality in positions of both the countries with respect to challenges at the regional and international levels in the areas of peace and security, reflective of the deep trust and confidence that both sides enjoy as strategic partners.

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