Partnership with Russia to boost defence production: Modi

Moscow, Dec 24: New Delhi's strategic partnership with Moscow will help boost defence manufacturing in India, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said on Thursday.

"We have laid the foundation of the future character of this strategic partnership," Modi said at a joint press conference here with Russian President Vladimir Putin after the annual summit-level meeting between the two sides that saw 16 agreements being signed, including manufacturing of Kamov 226 helicopters and Russian-designed nuclear reactors in India.

Narendra Modi

"The Inter-Governmental Agreement on manufacture of Kamov 226 helicopter in India is the first project for a major defence platform under the Make in India mission. It is rightly with our most important defence partner," the prime minister said.

"We have made progress on a number of other defence proposals. These would boost defence manufacturing in India and India's defence readiness with next generation equipment."

Modi said cooperation between the two countries in nuclear energy was increasing.

"We are making progress on our plans for twelve Russian nuclear reactors at two sites. The agreement today will increase Indian manufacturing content in these reactors. It supports my mission of Make in India," he said.

Modi said that with one of the world's largest reserves of hydrocarbons, Russia can be a critical source of energy security for India.

"With President Putin's support, we are enlarging Indian investments in the Russian hydrocarbon sector," he said.

The prime minister said he and the Russian president were "moving creatively in expanding our economic relations".

"Following our last summit, India has created a special notified zone to facilitate direct trade between the world's largest uncut diamond exporter, Russia, and India, which processes 90 percent of the world's uncut diamonds," he said.

"Second, we are working on logistics. Our Green Corridor project has taken off. The International North South Transit Corridor through Iran will significantly reduce transportation time and cost."

Thirdly, he said both sides were moving forward on the India-Eurasian Economic Union Free Trade Agreement. This will also benefit us in Central Asia.

"Fourth, we are encouraging our private sector to connect with each other more. We have just had an excellent meeting of CEO Forum. The agreements and the announcements today give me confidence that we will see huge increase in investments and trade in both directions," Modi stated.

He also said he and Putin "have a high degree of convergence in our positions on global issues and a strong commitment to deepen our international cooperation".

"We have strong collaboration in the United Nations. Our membership of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa), East Asia Summit, G20 and now Shanghai Cooperation Organisation gives our partnership a global character," the prime minister said.

He called for unity among nations to fight the global scourge of terror.

"We are one in our belief that the world must unite and take concerted action on combating terrorism, without distinction and discrimination between terrorist groups and target countries," he said.

"We agree that an early political settlement through dialogue in West Asia is essential for restoring stability and containing extremism in the region."

Modi started his speech by expressing his deepest condolences on the loss of lives in the terrorist attack on a civilian Russian aircraft in Egypt and in the downing of a military jet in Syria.

He concluded by saying that he looked forward to Putin's visit to India next year for the BRICS Summit as well as the annual summit.


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