NEW DELHI: While inviting Russia to participate in ‘Make in India’ programme, Union Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has said the two countries have decided to fast-track many long-pending projects, including that of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).
Parrikar on Wednesday held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu, who had reached here on Tuesday on a three-day visit, ahead of US President Barack Obama’s visit.
“The Russian Minister and I have discussed all the issues, including the FGFA, and we have decided to fast-track many of them. There were some apprehensions regarding the slow pace of execution of projects and the first thing we have decided is to speed things up,” Parrikar said.
According to the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the two leaders recalled the discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin last month and reviewed the ongoing defence cooperation and other projects. They also decided to hold interactions at regular intervals to conform to project deadlines, it added.
During the talks, Parrikar mentioned ‘Make in India’ policy and sought the participation of Russian defence enterprises in it in a big way. “We have also invited them to come to India and join manufacturing ventures here, including that of spare parts for various Russian equipment we are using,” he said.Besides signing the agreed protocol, India and Russia have also concluded a pact on Flight Safety Exchange Information. With this, officials said, Russia would shoulder the responsibility of all its inventory for the IAF fleet of rotary and fixed wing aircraft.
Recently, the IAF’s frontline fighter Sukhoi-30 had faced some technical glitches, which led to a couple of mid-air crashes. The Sukhoi-30 fleet represents almost a third of the country’s fighter plane fleet.
Sources claimed that the SU-30 MKI fleet has been facing several mid-air engine failure incidents in the past two years and India had officially raised the matter with Russia. They said the IAF has asked the Russians to fix the problem.
The IAF has started servicing the engines of these fighter jets after 700 flying hours, instead of the stipulated 1,000 hours. Moreover, as a precautionary measure, the engines are also being modified.