Parrikar says Russia, India need to solve defence deals

Monday, 02 November 2015 07:00

Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar said on Friday that Russia and India must quickly sort out differences over defence deals on the eve of his visit to Moscow.
 He said both the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and the multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) projects are in trouble. While there were serious issues needing clarifications on the MTA project, the two countries halted the negotiations to get things clear on the FGFA, he said. Parrikar left for Russia on Friday to prepare the grounds for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow in December before flying to Malaysia to participate in ASEAN Defence Minister’s Meeting next week. “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,” Parrikar said in an interview to the Russian news agency ITAR-TASS.
In November 2007, India and Russia announced design, development and production of a multi-role transport aircraft at a cost of $600 million (Rs 2900 crore) at 2006 price level, to be shared by the two sides. In September 2010, the two countries signed shareholder's agreement to set up a joint venture company (MTA Ltd) involving Hindustan Aeronautics Limited, and Rosoboronexport and United Aircraft Corporation to co-develop and co-produce the 65 tonnes of aircraft to carry a payload of 15-20 tonnes. India wanted 45 of these aircraft to replace the AN-32 fleet. But within a year, then defence minister A K Antony waved the red-flag when he expressed concerns on the “tardy” progress made on the MTA project at the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation. The problem persists ever since. The story is almost same with FGFA. In December, 2010 a preliminary design contract was signed between HAL and Rosoboronexport for designing, developing and certification of the FGFA at a cost of $ 295 million. Manufacturing was to be taken up in the next level., 01.11.2015

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