New Delhi : Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who is scheduled to visit Moscow at the end of this calendar year, might return with another nuclear submarine, signed off on lease from Russia, to the Indian waters. Russia is all set to lease another submarine to India, a deal which would be sealed during PM Modi’s visit , as indicated by Defence Ministry, ahead of Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar’s tour to Russia. PM Modi is scheduled to visit Moscow in coming December for his annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin during which these agreements are likely to be inked.
Parrikar described Russia as India’s ‘all weather friend’ – a diplomatic term used by China for its friendship with Pakistan. An agreement for joint production of Kamov Ka-226 helicopters and a contract for the purchase of S-400 missile systems would be most likely finalized during the visit, as indicated by DefMin Parrikar, while speaking to media in an interview to the Russian news agency Itar Tass. In his words – I have always seen Russia as an all-weather friend for India the two countries have always had a great relationship. I believe that this relationship should be enhanced. My visit to Moscow will be an attempt to help the relationship blossom further.
A proposal to purchase 48 Mi-17 V5 helicopters for at the cost USD 1.1 billion dollars will also be finalised, said the Defence Minister. The news agency also confirmed that Russia was going to lease the second nuclear submarine to India and the proposal was to get a go ahead during PM’s Moscow tour. Parrikar indicated that he would be flagging the issue of serviceability during the IRIGC meeting. He said, ‘We have almost 220 of them (Su-30) now and ultimately the number will reach 270, which represents about 40% of Indian Air Force. When you have 40% of air force strength from a particular maker, you are obviously interested in ensuring that they are serviced properly. Those aspects will be discussed and we are coming to conclusions, to solutions to the problem. I hope that these problems will be resolved very soon so service operation is substantially enhanced. Then there are Mi-17V-5 helicopters, which we also intend to negotiate and finalize procurement for 48 more. With that, we will have some 280 Mi-17 helicopters.’