PM to sign deal on transport aircraft during Russia visit

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New Delhi, Nov 8 (UNI) The Cabinet Committee on Security (CCS) today approved a proposal for jointly developing and producing multi-role transport aircraft (MRTA) with Russia at an estimated cost of 600 million dollars (Rs 2,400 crore).

Defence Ministry sources said Prime Minister Manmohan Singh will sign the deal during his visit to Moscow on November 11-12.

Under the joint agreement, India and Russia will produce 150 transport aircraft and the two countries will have 50:50 participation. These aircraft are to be developed at different sites in both India and Russia.

Today's CCS meeting, presided over by the Prime Minister, was attended by Defence Minister A K Antony, External Affairs Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Home Minister Shivraj Patil and Finance Minister P Chidambaram.

It is understood that the Defence Cooperation Framework Agreement will also be extended beyond 2010 since defence deals between the two countries amounting to 14 billion dollars are in the pipeline, and these agreements may spill in the next decade.

During Mr Antony's recent visit to Moscow, India and Russia had signed the agreement for co-production and development of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, again on a 50:50 partnership basis, at a whopping amount of eight billion dollars.

The MRTA agreement will also be inter-governmental to help Russia evade a clause of the Defence Procurement Policy (DPP), 2006, which brings any defence deal of more than Rs 100 crore under the purview of the Integrity Pact.

Russia has, however, been citing its domestic laws which prohibit it from entering into any integrity pact, like the one formulated by India.

UNI

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