India, Russia ink deal for maintenance of Sukhoi jets

New Delhi [India], Mar. 17 (ANI): India and Russia on Friday signed two agreements for long- term maintenance and rendering technical assistance for Sukhoi Su-30MKI fighter jets of the Indian Air Force.

The agreements were signed by India's Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and Russia's United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation in the presence of the Russian Industry and Trade Minister Denis Manturov and Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley,as part of the ongoing India-Russia Military Industrial Conference.

The five-year contract is estimated to be worth USD 300 million.

Currently, the Indian Air Force operates over 230 Su-30MKI fighter planes and the figure is expected to rise to 270 aircrafts in the future.

Meanwhile, in his inaugural address at the conference earlier today, Jaitley said that the defence sector is one of the key areas for Prime Minister Narendra Modi's 'Make in India' initiative.

"India is one of the largest importers of defence equipment in the world, and this definitely is not a label we are happy with," he said.

Jaitley stressed on the relations with Russia being at the crux of India's foreign policy. The Minister further said that since the signing of the India-Russia Strategic Partnership in 2000, ties between the two sides have acquired new heights with enhanced level of cooperation in almost all areas including defence.

"India-Russia Military Technical Cooperation has graduated from a simple buyer-seller relation to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence systems. The BrahMos Missile System and production of SU-30 in India are examples of such flagship cooperation. There is tremendous potential for collaboration between Indian and Russian companies for export, so as to become part of the global supply chain," Jaitley said in his address.

Organised by the Department of Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence, the conference aims at addressing issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance of major Russian-origin equipments/ platforms such as Su-30 MKI aircraft, Mi-17 Helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks. (ANI)