'Russia provides latest military tech exclusively to India'

Sunday, 21 April 2013 09:43

Russia today reminded India that it provides latest cutting-edge technology exclusively to New Delhi unlike its "newly-acquired partners" in defence sector.

"Unlike its newly-acquired partners, we provide the latest cutting-edge technology to India and don't share it with others," Russian Ambassador to India Alexander Kadakin said at an IAF function here on frontline fighter aircraft MiG-21.

Kadakin said Russia was still India's biggest partner and it has orders worth over $ 20 billion for supplying defence hardware to its armed forces.

His comment came at a time when India is purchasing hardware from other countries -- the latest of which is French Rafale being shortlisted for 126 Medium-Multi Role Combat Aircraft ( M-MRCA) for the IAF.

Speaking on the occasion, IAF Chief Air Chief Marshal N A K Browne said 874 MiG-21s were inducted into the force of which over 200 were still in service.

The Indian Air Force is celebrating the Golden Jubilee of the induction of frontline MiG-21 fighters, which played a key role in 1965 and 1971 wars but later earned the sobriquet of 'flying coffin' due to their high rate of accidents.

Inducted into the IAF first in 1963, Artyom Mikoyan's brainchild took part in India's armed conflicts with Pakistan in 1965 and 1971.

During the two wars, the MiG-21s were at the forefront of air operations giving tough times to the Pakistan's American- origin fighters, including the Sabres and Starfighters.

The MiG-21s fired rockets at the Dhaka Governor's house during the 1971 war, resulting in the surrender of 90,000 Pakistan army troops under their commander Lt Gen A A Niyazi.

India continued the induction of the MiG-21s till the early 80s after which it went for the swing-wing MiG-23s and MiG-27s as a counter to F-16s of the Pakistan Air Force.

Though several types of MiG-21s have been phased out from service, over 100 of them will continue to provide strength to the IAF numbers till 2017.

By PTI | 20 Apr, 2013

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