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India, China leading importers of Russian arms : Putin

Written by: Staff
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Moscow, Mar 31 (UNI) Russion President Vladimir Putin today said regional powerhouses India and China remain the leading importers of Russian weapons.

Addressing the first meeting of the Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation with Foreign States, this year, he said Russia increased its military hardware exports to more than six billion dollars in 2005 and supplied weapons to 61 countries.

''Russia's military exports have achieved another success: the 2005 results exceeded target by 20 per cent and their volume topped 6 billion dollars. This is a record figure for recent times,'' Interfax news agency quoted him as saying.

The President said that the main task before the Commission this year remained ''to clearly and timely fulfill commitments under arms export contracts and improve the quality of after-sales maintenance services.'' ''It is essential to advance modern forms of cooperation steadily,'' Mr Putin said, adding ''they can range from the joint development of military hardware to serial production and deliveries to third countries.'' The President said that the "major achievements" in Russian arms exports last year included sales of naval hardware and increased cooperation with the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) and the Collective Security Treaty Organization (CSTO), a grouping that unites six CIS countries for closer security efforts.

While highlighting contacts with Southeast Asian and the West Asian countries, he in particular, cited the recent arms export agreements with Algeria.

Contracts for the delivery of 40 MiG-29SMT Fulcrum fighters, 20 Su-30 MK Flanker fighters, 16 Yak-130 Mitten combat trainers, eight battalions of S-300 PMU2 Favorite air defence systems and 40 T-90 main battle tanks were signed during the Russian President's recent visit to Algeria.

Russia's state-controlled arms exporter, Rosoboronexport, accounts for 85 per cent of the country's total arms exports, with the Sukhoi aircraft holding and aerospace corporations MiG and Salut accounting for the remaining 15 per cent.

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