New Delhi is looking forward to the visit of Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu to India later this year, reports Ateet Sharma
India has welcomed Russia willingness to actively engage in India’s — Make in India program for co-development and production of high technology defence items, terming the defence relations as an integral pillar of the ‘Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries.
Defence Secretary Ajay Kumar, in his address at the 9th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS ï¿½ 2021) which opened Wednesday, said that New Delhi is looking forward to the visit of Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu to India later this year for the next meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation.
Held annually since 2012 under the aegis of the Ministry of Defence of Russia, the three-day forum consistently strengthens its role as an authoritative platform for discussing the most actual problems of international security and is a traditional subject of interest as in Russia, as abroad.
The forum traditionally brings together Defence Ministers, Heads of International organizations, nongovernment experts and world’s think-tank representatives. With the last year’s edition having been cancelled due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the 2021 conference is seeing participation of more than 600 participants, including ministers of defence and delegations of military institutions, chiefs of general staffs from various countries who are currently discussing problems of global and regional stability, as well as various security aspects in Europe, Asia, Africa, in the Middle East and in Latin America.
The participants at this edition of the conference will also consider the issues of the information security, the situation after the INF (Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces) Treaty, the military-technical cooperation in Africa and Middle East as the main factor of enhancing regional security and the situation in Europe besides the role of the armed forces in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic.
At a time when the defence ties between India and Russia continue to grow, Pakistan is also seen cosying up to Russia. On Wednesday, Pakistan’s Deputy Minister of Defen?e Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain met Russian Deputy Defen?e Minister Colonel-General Alexander Fomin at the sidelines of the conference to discuss the possibility of building up their potential for military-technical cooperation.
Mian Muhammad Hilal Hussain also noted that the Pakistani government, within the framework of the concept of geo-economic stability, seeks to develop long-term and multifactorial cooperation with Russia in the field of trade, peaceful use of the atom, culture, military and military-technical spheres.
“In our opinion, the Russian Federation plays a key role in this matter. The role of Russia, its active participation has a positive effect on regional stability,” said the Deputy Minister of Defen?e of Pakistan.
A ‘Special and Privileged Partnership’
Military technical cooperation and military-to-military cooperation constitutes an important pillar in the Special and Privileged Partnership between India and the Russian Federation.
India has taken a number of steps to expedite the collaboration between the Indian and Russian companies after the Inter-Governmental Agreement (IGA) on the joint manufacturing of spares in India signed in Vladivostok on September 4, 2019. The IGA provides a framework for partnership of Russian Original Equipment Manufacturer (OEMs) with Indian industry for manufacturing of spare parts of Russian origin equipment in use by the Indian defence forces under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
A large number of delegates from Indian and Russian defence sector companies had participated in the 5th round of India-Russia Military Industrial Conference (IRMIC) which was conducted in February 2020 on the sidelines of Defexpo-2020 at Lucknow. As many as 14 MoUs were exchanged between the Russian OEMs and the Indian companies during the conference.
Later, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, during his visit to Moscow to participate in an event to commemorate the 75th Anniversary of Victory Day Parade at Red Square, discussed a broad range of areas of cooperation between the two countries in a meeting with Russian Defence Minister, General Sergei Shoigu.
India said that there was substantial commonality in positions with respect to challenges at the regional and international levels in the areas of peace and security, reflective of the deep trust and confidence that both sides enjoy as strategic partners.
India Russia Friendship
Singh had also conveyed appreciation for the steadfast support provided by Russia consistent with the defence and security needs of India, and in this context, particularly noted “the timely manner in which the Russian had responded” to requests for procurement of particular weapon systems.
India has signed agreements with Russia for production of AK-203 rifles – considered one of the most modern weapons available for infantry forces – as a joint venture, manufacturing of spares, components, etc required for Russian/Soviet origin platforms and defence equipment, manufacture of frigates and supply of S-400 long range surface to air missile system.
Russia India Navy Exercise Indra
Russian Federation Navy (RuFN) ships Yaroslav Mudry, Viktor Konetsky and Yelnya had participated in the Naval component of the Indo-Russian tri-services Exercise Indra in 2019
At the same time, exercises like ‘Indra Navy’ – a biennial bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Russian Navy – have further boosted mutual confidence and cooperation between the defence forces and reinforced the long-standing bond of friendship between the two countries. The primary aim of the 11th edition of Indra Navy-20 organised in the Bay of Bengal last September was to epitomise the long-term strategic relationship between the two Navies.
India defence forces heal the world during Covid-19 pandemic
Meanwhile, Defence Ministers of Kazakhstan, Mongolia, Zimbabwe, Sudan and UN Under Secretary General for Peacekeeping among others participated in the session titled ‘Role of Military Agencies in fighting against Covid-19’ which was addressed by Kumar on Wednesday.
The Defence Secretary stressed on bolstering infrastructure and capabilities for global response to prevent eruption of such pandemics in future.
“Emerging technologies must be leveraged. For example, Artificial Intelligence can be put to use for infection prediction, data analysis and Covid diagnostics with greater accuracy,” he suggested while highlighting India’s assistance to other countries in fighting Covid-19.
“India not only fought its own battle, India also helped and continues to help friendly foreign nations to withstand Covid-19. Even at a time of great medical and economic stress, India supported others unhesitatingly, inspired by its ancient belief of Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam ï¿½ the world is one family,” he added.
He also highlighted that DRDO established Covid care facilities in a matter of days and embarked to set up 500 medical oxygen plants using the Medical Oxygen Plant technology developed for on-board oxygen generation on Light Combat Aircraft (LCA) Tejas.
“Indian Navy sent a huge number of medical supplies and teams to Indian Ocean Region, while 11 Naval ships ferried in over 1,500 metric tonnes of emergency Liquid Medical Oxygen. Indian Air Force carried out approximately 1,800 sorties and lifted 15,000 metric tonnes of essential medical supplies from within the country and abroad,” Kumar told the conference attendees.
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