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Russia Hopes To Grab 10 Billion Dollars From Indian Defence Deals

India, which in 2004 emerged as Asia's largest arms importer, is shopping for 126 fighter planes worth six billion dollars. Russian makers of Sukhoi and MiG jets are in the race along with US, French and Swiss manufacturers.
by Staff Writers
New Delhi (AFP) Feb 02, 2006
Russia, India's biggest military hardware supplier, said Thursday it hoped to corner 10 billion dollars worth of defence contracts from New Delhi, one of its close allies.

"We believe that we could get 10 billion dollars worth of contracts (from India)," said Vyatcheslav Dzirkaln, chief of a Russian military delegation in the Indian capital.

"India is one of the main players," he told reporters at an international military fair attended by 420 leading arms firms from 38 countries including Britain, France, Germany, Israel, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

India was considering two Russian proposals involving the possible joint production of a fifth-generation combat aircraft and a missile-based air defence system which experts say could run into hundreds of millions of dollars.

"It's a new aspect of cooperation between Russia and India," added Vladimir Belukov, a member of the high-powered Russian delegation comprising experts, manufacturers and military officers.

India and Russia have been jointly developing a wide array of military hardware, including the BrahMos cruise missile, electronic warfare systems, and anti-terrorism hardware.

Russia, which recently supplied 186 T-90 battle tanks worth 900 million dollars, is also eyeing a multi-billion-dollar artillery contract which India initially gave to South Africa, but cancelled last year amid a bitter bribery row.

Delegation member Mikhail Sukhachev said Russia would help India produce a total of 1,000 T-90 tanks in the next few years, in line with a far-reaching bilateral agreement.

India, which in 2004 emerged as Asia's largest arms importer, is shopping for 126 fighter planes worth six billion dollars. Russian makers of Sukhoi and MiG jets are in the race along with US, French and Swiss manufacturers.

New Delhi also wants to locally construct an aircraft carrier and plans to expand its bluewater reach with the induction of dozens of latest warships into its 137-vessel navy as well as raise lethal infantry platoons.

In the financial year ending March 31, India hiked its defence budget by 7.8 percent to 830 billion rupees (19 billion dollars) and is widely expected to jack it up past 22 billion dollars in the new fiscal year.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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