India to get Russian nuclear-capable aircraft : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

India to get Russian nuclear-capable aircraft

TIMES NEWS NETWORK NEW DELHI: Hours before the arrival of US secretary of state Colin Powell, India and Russia concluded talks for leasing four nuclear-capable TU 22 aircraft. Announcing this, the vice-chairman of the Russian Federation Ilya Klebanov said the agreement would be signed next month.

Klebanov also hinted at the enlargement of the 2000 military technical agreement saying the two countries wanted to ``intensify and strengthen the document based on mutual agreement''.

In a hurried interaction with the Press that was cut short for his third meeting with the newly-appointed defence minister George Fernandes, Klebanov said ``there will be more attention to research and development of military equipment and joint research and production of combat and transport aircraft''.

Fernandes said he had got an assurance from the Russian side that they will speed up the delivery schedule of the T-90S tanks. As per the contract, India will import 124 ``fully-formed'' T-90S tanks and 186 tanks in ``completely-knocked down \semi-knocked down condition'', along with transfer of technology for indigenous manufacture.

Fernandes said India should receive 80 T-90S by year-end, adding that the two countries were also holding talks for joint design and production of a fifth-generation combat fighter and a troop-carrier aircraft.

On the economic front, there would be concentration on projects in the power sector related to the development of nuclear energy, thermal and hydel power plants and new projects in oil and gas field.

On the current situation in Afghanistan, Klebanov said the fate of Afghanistan was of geostrategic interest to Russia as it was to India and the two countries shared identical views on this issue as also on Pakistan. He added that Russia had always supported India's territorial integrity.

The two countries had been supporting the Northern Alliance for long and now several major powers have pitched in too. It was difficult to predict the duration of the military operation, Klebanov said adding ``it may not be as short as we desire''.

Talks on the future dispensation of Afghanistan will be held at length when the Russian deputy foreign minister P Trubnikov arrives in India on Thursday.

The first India-Iran dialogue on strategic issues was also held with talks between the deputy foreign minister of Iran Mohsin Aminzade and the foreign secretary Chokila Iyer.

The two countries discussed regional and international developments and ``issues affecting security and stability in the region'', the external affairs spokesperson said. The meeting she said, ``contributed to developing a better understanding of each other's legitimate concerns in the region, particularly the developing situation in Afghanistan''

-- Martin Thompson (, October 16, 2001

Moderation questions? read the FAQ