Defence Minister terms Russia as an “all weather friend” of India


New Delhi: Ahead of his Moscow visit Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in an interview to Russian news agency TASS on Thursday called Russia an “all weather friend” of India.

Parrikar expressed hope that the visit would enhance India-Russia relationship.

“I have always seen Russia as an all-weather friend for India – the two countries have always had a great relationship. I believe that this relationship should be enhanced. My visit to Moscow will be an attempt to help the relationship blossom further,” Parrikar said.

“There are many issues that can always be in such relationships, and I think the best way is to have them resolved. I see a certain enthusiasm to resolve them from both sides as well as possibilities to involve Russia in the ‘Make it in India programme’.”

The defence minister will leave India for Russia on October 30, and will be there till November 2, after which he will leave for ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM-Plus) in Malaysia.

Asked if any joint projects under Make in India programme were expected to be inked during his visit, Parrikar said there will be discussions to prepare ground for inking some deals when Prime Minister Narendra Modi visits Russia in December.

“They (projects) may not take final shape during my visit but we’d like to prepare some of them for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia in December – for example, the project for joint production of Kamov Ka-226 helicopters. I hope to use my visit to have it inked on paper when the prime minister arrives. Also the purchase of S-400 missile systems. We anticipate these projects to be coordinated by next month,” he said.

The minister added that there are also proposals for small private-sector companies interested in tying up with Russian companies to manufacture spares for Su-30 jets.

“Then there are Mi-17V-5 helicopters, which we also intend to negotiate and finalize procurement for 48 more. With that, we will have some 280 Mi-17 helicopters,” he said.

Another report by the agency quoting sources meanwhile said that Parrikar during his visit will also discuss leasing of another nuclear submarine, and a deal for it may be inked during Modi’s visit.