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Ukraine war fails to dent India-Russia joint production of weapons, future plans

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with his Russian counterpart Sergei Shoigu in New Delhi on Friday (Image courtesy: Twitter/@RajnathSingh)

Having admitted that its partnership with India continues to increase by ‘orders of magnitude’, Russia has vowed to provide further impetus to the ‘Make in India’ initiative with significant participation of its defence industry.

On a flying visit to New Delhi amid the ongoing conflict in Ukraine, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu held one-on-one talks with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on Friday covering wide-ranging issues of bilateral defence cooperation, including military-to-military ties as well as industrial partnership.

The key takeaway of the meeting was that neither the Ukraine war nor close Russia-China ties have diluted the India-Russia military partnership.

The bilateral meeting was held on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Defence Ministers’ meeting which was also attended by Defence Ministers of China (General Li Shangfu); Iran (Brig Gen Mohammad Reza Gharaei Ashtiani); Belarus (Lt Gen Khrenin VG); Kazakhstan (Col Gen Ruslan Zhaxylykov); Uzbekistan (Lt Gen Bakhodir Kurbanov); Kyrgyzstan (Lt Gen Bekbolotov Baktybek Asankalievich) and Tajikistan (Col Gen Sherali Mirzo).

“The two Ministers also discussed matters on regional peace and security. They expressed satisfaction over the continued trust and mutual respect between the two countries, particularly in defence and reiterated their commitment towards strengthening the partnership,” a joint statement released after the meeting said.

Military-technical cooperation between India and Russia dates back to the mid-1950s with the armed forces of India being 70% equipped with Soviet/Russian weapons.

Bilateral relations of the countries are developing under the long-term ‘Make in India’ initiative led by Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The current programme includes the implementation of more than 200 joint projects.

Singh and Shoigu also head the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation to coordinate the military-technical cooperation between the two countries.

Even as they engage in the modernization of Soviet and Russian-made Indian equipment, New Delhi and Moscow continue to plan big on joint production of future weapons, as well its sale in the markets of third countries.

India Russia Defence Ties

As reported by IndiaNarrative.com, Russia is currently engaged in technical consultations with India on the production of Pantsir-S1 anti-aircraft missile systems (ZRPK), Tor-M2KM anti-aircraft missile systems (SAM), Boomerang infantry fighting vehicles and unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).

During Aero India 2023, head of the Russian state-owned arms exporter Rosoboronexport Alexander Mikheyev revealed that the plans for the production of these and other products in India are progressing within the framework of the memorandums that were signed with Bharat Earth Movers Limited (BEML).

Pantsir-S1 is designed for use against air targets, including low-flying ones, as well as for the destruction of ground (surface) targets and enemy manpower.

The Tor-M2 SAM systems provide round-the-clock air defence cover for the Russian Armed Forces’ units conducting offensive operations.

The mobile, multi-channel short-range ZRPK Pantsir-S1 has high firepower and is capable of effectively hitting a wide class of air attack weapons (Image courtesy: Russian Ministry of Defence and Rosoboronexport)

Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), a joint venture company established for the indigenous production of AK-203 Rifles, is also set to commence production of indigenized assault rifles at Korwa in Uttar Pradesh.

Indigenization of iconic Kalashnikov assault rifles will lead to self-sufficiency for defence forces and is also in the spirit of ‘Atmanirbhar Bharat’.

Following Shoigu, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Lavrov will be arriving in India next week to take part in the SCO Foreign Ministers’ meeting scheduled to be held in Goa on May 4-5.

Besides discussing international and regional agendas, the Foreign Ministers will prepare the draft of relevant documents and decisions for the SCO Leaders’ Summit which will be held in New Delhi on July 3-4 and will see in-person participation of several leaders, including Russian President Vladimir Putin.

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