MOSCOW: Defence minister Rajnath Singh on Wednesday co-chaired the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC) meeting along with his Russian counterpart General Sergey Shoigu here.
Welcoming Singh on his maiden visit to Russia as the Defence Minister, General Shoigu termed India as an “exclusive strategic defence partner.”
Singh emphasised that the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries was further strengthened following the Vladivostok summit in September 2019.
He also highlighted the importance of the Inter-Governmental Agreement on the manufacturing of spares, components, and aggregates in India through joint ventures that would reduce cost, timelines of supply and result in progressive indigenisation. This agreement is expected to provide a major boost to the ‘Make in India’ initiative.
As a mark of a long-standing friendship between the Armed Forces of India and Russia, Rajnath Singh presented General Shoigu a bowl mounted on a triangular base with three Indian Army soldiers’ statuettes in ceremonial regalia and rifle.
Responding to Singh’s invitation, the Russian Defence minister Shoigu assured robust Russian participation in DefExpo 2020, to be held in Uttar Pradesh capital Lucknow between February 5-8, 2020.
Adding that both Ministers welcomed the outcome of the India-Russia Defence Industry Conference held in Moscow on November 5 this year, Defence Ministry in a press release said: “The Russian side affirmed its readiness to operationalise the joint venture lndo-Russia Rifles Private Limited for the manufacture of world-class Kalashnikov AK 203 rifles in India at the earliest.”
“The Russian side reaffirmed its strong support to India in the field of counter-terrorism and stated that it accords priority to New Delhi’s security interests in the region. The Russian Defence minister underlined Moscow’s commitment to extend all possible support in enhancing India’s defence capabilities, including cooperation in advance and cutting-edge technology,” read the release.
The ministers also reviewed the progress of the two working groups on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation. It was agreed that the forthcoming Tri Service Indra Exercises will be a major milestone in Military Cooperation between the two countries, added the release.
The Russian side affirmed its readiness to further deepen exchanges between the respective Military Training Institutions and informed that they would be deputing an officer for the prestigious National Defence College (NDC) course in New Delhi commencing 2020.
According to the official statement, both sides expressed satisfaction on the progress in implementing ongoing contracts concluded in the recent past.
“General Shoigu agreed to Singh’s request to constitute specific working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms. Both sides agreed to intensify efforts to finalise cooperation programme for 2021-2030 period,” said the release.
It added, “The ministers directed the respective teams to work closely for early conclusion of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Agreement on Reciprocal Logistics Support.”
As a special gesture, the Russian Defence Minister requested Rajnath Singh for the participation of an Indian Military Contingent in Army Parade on the occasion of 75thAnniversary of the victory in the Second World War.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has already extended an invitation to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to attend the celebrations. Raksha Mantri assured that an Indian contingent would be participating in the Parade, added the release.

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