Parrikar going to Russia to finalise deals for Modi to sign in December - Broadsword by Ajai Shukla - Strategy. Economics. Defence.

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Thursday 29 October 2015

Parrikar going to Russia to finalise deals for Modi to sign in December

TASS says India will lease second nuclear sub in December. (Above: the S-300 air defence missile)

By Ajai Shukla
Business Standard, 30th Oct 15

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, on the eve of his departure for Russia, says he hopes to “prepare some [contracts for signing during] Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual summit visit to Russia in December."

In an interview on Thursday to Russian news agency, ITAR-TASS, Parrikar elaborated: “(F)or example, the project for joint production of Kamov Ka-226 helicopters. I hope to use my visit to have it inked on paper when the prime minister arrives. Also the purchase of S-400 missile systems. We anticipate these projects to be coordinated by next month.”

Although the Indian defence minister did not state this during his interview, ITAR-TASS is reporting on its website that “Russia (is) to lease another nuclear sub(marine) to India in December”.

In 2012, India had leased a 12,000-tonne Akula-class nuclear-powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra, for a ten-year period for $900 million. At that time, then defence minister, AK Antony, had confirmed that negotiations were under way for a second nuclear submarine.

The Kamov-226T is a 3.5 tonne, two-pilot, light helicopter that is specially modified with a new engine for Indian requirements, primarily high-altitude operations along the Himalayan borders.

At their last summit meeting in New Delhi in January, President Vladimir Putin had personally requested the Indian prime minister for Russian Helicopters to be awarded a contract for building 197 Kamov-226T reconnaissance and observation helicopters in India.

This will be built under the “Make in India” initiative. The Indian partner is being decided and is likely to either be Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) or Reliance Defence.

The S-400, known in Russia as Triumf, is an extremely potent, long-range, ground-to-air defence system that is used to protect area targets by shooting down ballistic missiles fired from distances as long as 3,500 kilometres, while those incoming missiles are still 40-400 kilometres away.

Parrikar also said he would press Russia hard for ensuring a high serviceability of Sukhoi-30MKI fighter jets, by a smooth and reliable supply of spare parts and systems. There is concern within the Indian Air Force (IAF) that its Su-30MKI fleet, which will eventually comprise of 272 fighters, has had serviceability rates as low as 45-50 per cent.

Mr Parrikar told TASS: “We have almost 220 of them (Su-30MKI) now and ultimately the number will reach 270, which represents about 40 per cent of Indian Air Force. When you have 40 per cent 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.”

The proposal for India and Russia to co-develop two major aircraft --- the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) and the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft (MRTA) --- has been in trouble for some time. Parrikar spelt out the problems in both projects.

“As for the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, negotiations will proceed further and we have halted ourselves to establish things clear in our minds. But with the Multi-Role Transport Aircraft, there are serious issues needing clarification, let me be frank. There are some serious observations which need to be clarified and reviewed properly”, said the Indian defence minister.

Finally, Parrikar revealed that the IAF intended to finalise the purchase from Russian Helicopters of another 48 Mi-17V-5 helicopters, consolidating its position as the workhorse of the IAF fleet. With this new purchase, the IAF will be operating some 280 Mi-17 helicopters.

Parrikar will leave for Moscow and St Petersburg on October 30, and will meet his Russian counterpart in Moscow on November 2. Later that day, he will leave for a three-day visit to Malaysia, to attend the ASEAN Defence Ministers Meeting Plus.

Late on Thursday evening, a meeting of the apex Defence Acquisition Council cleared a clutch of acquisitions: four 3,500-tonne multi-purpose vessels (MPVs) for the navy for duties like towing targets and tugs, for a cost of Rs 700 crore each; two Deep Submergence Rescue Vessels (DSRVs) for deep-sea rescue for Rs 750 crore each; 149 BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles to be built in India for Rs 924 crore; two Pinaka multi-barrel rocket regiments for Rs 3,300 crore; and the upgrade of IL-76 and IL-78 aircraft for Rs 4,300 crore. 


  1. Just amazed at the speed at which RM is taking actions. He is easily the most proactive RM the country has seen. The service chiefs must be thrilled to work under such a responsive boss. If MP is the RM for the next 10 years the effects of the slumber years under AKA can be eliminated.

  2. The Govt cannot purchase 200 Kamov 226 choppers merely bcoz Putin requested Modi to do so. Modi has already caused enough harm by cancelling 126 MMRCA Rafale deal. This deal to purchase light foreign choppers will derail and eat into indigenous LUH which uses similar engines and are in the same category. IAF's efforts to derail Tejas and HTT40 shows how hollow Govt and IAF's claims are with regard to bringing down the import component of arms purchase. On one hand Modi sheds crocodile tears over high arms imports and on the other continues to do so via Pvt companies under the guise of "Make in India". It's also surprising that our presstitute media scream red over Dadri and other inconsequential issues while remaining silent over these blatant moves by the Govt and military to rob the nation under the guise of "make in India". And for making these choppers and ships in India at enormous cost to the taxpayers, the Govt has chosen the most corrupt Pvt company in India.

  3. Incorrect to say S-400 targets missiles with range of 4-400 km. That's the missile's range and it can target missiles with a range of up to 3,500 km based on re-entry velocities.

  4. Whatever is the case, India must not even think about FGFA since the Russians do not even let IAF officers go near their T-50...

    Very humiliating and so any discussions will give them super leverage to treat India like a piece of dirt...
    There should be no deal without our pilots flying it...

    Tell Russians that enough pilots and fighter planes crashed and it is about time to share all the technology of SU-30MKI and Mig-29K so India can manufacture them and keep their availability at 75%+ rate...40 to 50% is extremely low...

    To sweeten the pot offer them some more Super Sukhoois and Mig-29Ks and joint research and development of engines, radars, missiles, Ew, etc
    Half made in Russia and half in India...
    Progressive upgrade of all to latest version as India picks up manufacturing sub assemblies...

    I think India can easily overcome crunch of fighter numbers this way and may be they can order some SU-34 fighter bombers configured for deep penetration and precision strike missions...
    SU-34 contain same engine as in SU-30MKI...
    G2G deal at reduced rates and half made in Russia and half in India...

    So by the end of this time Rafale and LCA-1P will come up in numbers and help more...

    There is no need to spend $250 to 300 millions for each Rafale and antagonize Russians...

  5. @ bhanja

    Thanks, corrected. Wrote that article in 25 minutes, while driving back from South Block in a car!

  6. "four 3,500-tonne multi-purpose vessels (MPVs) for the navy for duties like towing targets and tugs, for a cost of Rs 700 each"

    INR 700 "crore" each..

  7. “prepare some [contracts for signing during] Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual summit visit to Russia in December.

    Where does the quotation mark end?

    and the sentence does not make sense at all if the words within brackets are not read.Did he actually phrase such a sentence in his speech?

    May be it was, "prepare some [contracts] for singing during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s annual summit visit to Russia in December"

  8. Ajai - Noticed a typo : four 3,500-tonne multi-purpose vessels (MPVs) for the navy for duties like towing targets and tugs, for a cost of Rs 700 each;

    Is that Rs 700? if so, I will have 5 for Rs 3500, please. :-)

    BTW : Love your blog.. it is an excellent and intellectual collection of articles and opinions.

  9. I wonder if anon at 09:47 knows what he/she is talking.

  10. AI

    Quotation mark ends at the end of that sentence. Sorry for the lapse. Do you like it better now?

    By the way, our defence minister is Manohar Parrikar, not Manohar Shakespeare.

    Anonymous 13:37

    Corrected. Please place your order afresh.

    Glad you like the articles on Broadsword.

  11. This time India should definitely ask for a M-17 assembly line. China orders large no of aircraft and ask for a assembly line etc. China has yesterday signed a deal for 130 airbus jets and will get a A320 completion center. In Sept, China ordered 300 Boeing jets, in return get a Boeing 737 assembly line.

  12. I like your articles too as long as they are purely related def journalism and they are not used to take political pot shots at NDA/BJP

  13. Now the Indian defense purchase mechanism so indulged in binge shopping that "chillar" purchases of 100s of crores make it to the end notes: Late on Thursday evening, a meeting of the apex Defence Acquisition Council cleared a clutch of acquisitions: .... for a cost of Rs 700 crore each; .... for Rs 750 crore each; .... for Rs 924 crore; ... for Rs 3,300 crore; ..... for Rs 4,300 crore.

  14. NSR says ---

    I again repeat my previous comment on FGFA in this article ...

    Let Russia come forward first with technology transfer/sharing/selling gifts and full accessibility of present T-50 fighter to move the discussion forward...

    Otherwise, it will be a monumental mistake...

    If they do not, then just buy some when T-50 reaches maturity...


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