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SOURCE: PTI

Russia on Tuesday agreed to address New Delhi’s concerns over delays in the supply of spare parts of Russian-origin military platforms by setting up joint production facilities in India. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra said Prime Minister Narendra Modi raised the issue of delays in the supplies with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the summit talks.

The two leaders discussed various facets of India-Russia defence ties at the 22nd India-Russia annual summit here. “Both sides had a general sense of agreement that this would be expedited including through setting up joint venture partnerships in India to look at some of these spare parts, particularly the more critical ones so that we are able to address the challenge in a meaningful way,” Kwatra said.

There have been inordinate delays on Russia’s part in the supply of spares of various Russian-origin platforms to Indian armed forces, triggering concerns in New Delhi.

The foreign secretary was addressing a press conference after talks between Modi and Putin.

Kwatra said both Modi and Putin emphasised on the larger domain of the co-production of military hardware.

“We already have some good examples of co-production in the field of defence and we would very much like to build on that and add on new equipment if needed as part of co-production,” he said.

Russia has been a major supplier of military platforms and hardware to India for the last seven decades.

A joint statement said both sides agreed to “encourage joint manufacturing in India of spare parts, components, aggregates and other products for the maintenance of Russian-origin arms and defence equipment under Make-in-India programme through the transfer of technology”.

It also mentioned the setting up of joint ventures for meeting the needs of the Indian armed forces as well as subsequent export to friendly third countries with both sides’ approval.

“In this regard, the sides agreed on establishing a new Working Group on Technological Cooperation and discussing its provisions during the next meeting of the Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation,” it said.

It said military and military-technical cooperation has traditionally been the pillar of Special and Privileged Strategic partnership between India and Russia.

“Responding to India’s quest for self-sufficiency, the partnership is reorienting presently to joint research and development, co-development and joint production of advanced defence technology and systems,” it said.

“The sides confirmed commitment to maintain the momentum of joint military cooperation activities and expand military delegation exchanges,” the statement added.

Modi began his two-day visit to Russia on Monday for the India-Russia annual summit that has been watched closely by the West in view of the Ukraine conflict.