Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh has affirmed that New Delhi was determined to continue improving military and technical cooperation with Russia and enhance ties between the two traditional allies.
A source close to Russia’s Defense Ministry said that Singh’s visit was crucial for Moscow in terms of reinforcing New Delhi’s unchanged policy towards defence cooperation with Russia despite US pressure.
The Indian delegation indicated that New Delhi planned to encourage collaboration with Russia despite Washington’s threat to slap sanctions against Indian defence enterprises.
Now, there are no serious concerns that India could change its position under US pressure given the fact that New Delhi has made an advance payment of $900 million for the first batch of Russia’s S-400 missile defence system.
Earlier, the Indian media reported that New Delhi and Moscow had signed a $3 billion contract on leasing Russia’s Akula-class nuclear-powered submarine to the Indian Navy. The sides have not officially denied the report and was published by Indian Economic Times (ET) just prior to the Russian-Indian intergovernmental meeting.
If the Indian Navy gets Russia’s Project 941 Akula submarine, New Delhi will be able to use sea-based ballistic missiles with the range of 4,000-8,000 km. These missiles have already been tested in India.
ET reported that India is set to sign a $3-billion deal with Russia this week to lease another nuclear attack submarine that will be customised and fitted with indigenous communications systems and sensors.
The deal for the Akula class submarine — dubbed Chakra III after the first two similar vessels India obtained from Russia — will be the biggest signed with Moscow since the $5.5-billion contract for the S-400 air defence system was finalised last year.