India-Russia defence ties evolving from buyer-seller to a broadbased partnership

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Moscow, Oct 15 (ANI): Defence Minister A K Antony has said that over the years defence relations between India and Russia have evolved from a simple buyer-seller relationship to a broadbased partnership where both countries are involved in joint design, development and production of defence equipment.

Antony said this at the 9th Meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), which began here on Wednesday.

Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov chaired the meeting.

Taking note of the structured mechanisms for defence interactions with Russia, Antony said that Russia is the only country with which India has such a well-established multi-tiered mechanism, which has contributed to the strengthening of bilateral ties.

Describing Russia as a time tested and dependable friend of India, he said: "India and Russia have an enduring strategic partnership and defence ties."

The IRIGC-MTC meeting reviewed the status of various ongoing bilateral defence cooperation projects.

A protocol highlighting the various aspects of these projects was signed at the conclusion of the two-day meeting.

Both sides reiterated the commitment of the Governments to extend the ongoing programme of military technical cooperation for a further ten years, from 2011 to 2020.

Antony and Serdyukov expressed the hope that the Inter-Governmental Agreement in this regard would be signed during the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh's visit to Moscow in December for the India-Russia Summit.

Both sides also resolved that an Agreement on after-sales product support of Russian origin defence equipment held by the Indian Armed Forces would be signed during the forthcoming Summit.

The Indian delegation to the two-day IRIGC-MTC meeting included Defence Secretary Pradeep Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Raj Kumar Singh and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. (ANI)

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