Friday, July 10, 2015

PM Narendra Modi to meet Putin, key defense deals to be see light of the day

PM Modi to meet Putin, key defense deals to be see light of the day

         The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has embarked on an 8-day International tour visiting about six countries. PM will visit Central Asian countries and Russia with the aim of boosting strategic and economical ties with these countries, which serve as the gateway for Central Asia. During his visit PM will be attending BRICS and SCO summits which are crucial for ramifying India’s relationships with these nations. India is the lead member nation in BRICS, an association of emerging economical powers. Mutual development of trade, economics, infrastructure and industries is the main aim of the association. Russia is the host nation for the 7th BRICS submitting which was kicked off on 09th July 2015 at Ufa.

          India is an observer nation at Shanghai Co-operation Organization (SCO) which aims at the mutual co-operation of Eurasian countries in the field of economic, trade and military. China, Russia, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan and Kyrgyzstan are the permanent member nations. Afghanistan, Iran, Mongolia, India and Pakistan share the stage as observer states in the organization. President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin, has been actively pitching for elevating India as a permanent member, given the economical hold India has over the region. India’s inclusion in the organization will prove to be a vital boost to counter ‘Chinese influence’ in the region.

      The organization has dedicated channels for military co-operation, intelligence sharing and counter terrorism. Under the ‘SCO banner’ repeated joint-military exercises have been conducted. Hence the inclusion of India to this organization will be a game changer for maintaining India’s presence in the region and can be expected to happen by 2016.

       India and Russia have a very robust defense agreements and share time tested and trusted relationship. India and Russia recently agreed to work out on a ‘fifth generation’ design for Russia’s most advanced Su 35. The variant currently being worked out is code named as Su 35 ‘S’ – stealth.

FGFA Project

       In the backdrop of these summits, PM will be meeting his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin with the hope of addressing the long delayed Indian-Russian defense projects. The Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) project, a derivative of the T-50 being jointly developed by Sukhoi and HAL has been in turbulent waters right from the constitution of the project. Even though constituted way back in 2007, the work partners are yet to reach a conclusive work pattern for developing the aircraft. IAF currently operates just 31 flyable fighter squadron against a sanctioned minimum strength of 42 squadrons. India is fast losing the air superiority it once enjoyed in the region.

     Hence the Induction of newer aircraft at a rapid rate is the solution. With the new government scrapping the MMRCA contract, the need for jets has just doubled. The agreed FGFA will be a twin-seat jet powered by twin engines and is highly capable clubbed with stealth, super cruise, avionics and super maneuverability going aboard the aircraft. The work share has been a chock up point for the project even after the design phase is to be started shortly. India will be investing around US $20 billion for acquiring 200 aircraft. The first of the T-50 have already entered service with the Russian air force. Mass delivery of the aircraft is expected to being by 2016. With Modi meeting Putin a formal announcement in regard to this project is most expected.

MTA Aircraft

      Multi-role Transport Aircraft Ltd (MTAL) is currently developing a multi-purpose transport aircraft for the air forces of India and Russia. MTAL is one of the companies in which India and Russia hold equal joint shares. MTA will be the replacement for India’s primary Medium transport aircraft, the An-32. The international tender for an aircraft was cancelled and MTAL given a go ahead, but the deal had been delayed for years. In a welcome move the headquarters for MTAL’s headquarters was setup in Bengaluru.

Nuclear powered submarines

      With India’s interest in the IOR increasing with every passing day the need for force to protect India’s vested interest has been increasing. The underwater force of the Indian navy has depleted to alarming numbers. India has already cleared ambitious plans of manufacturing six nuclear powered attack submarines in home. The P-75 I project is one more project that guarantees a respite to Indian navy. But as a stop gap measure India is looking at leasing the latest submarines from reliable partners.

  The only answer to this will be ‘Russia’, which has been leasing nuclear powered submarines to India. India currently operates an Akula-class nuclear powered attack submarine, the INS Chakra. India is currently looking at acquiring either the Irbis or Kashalot. India will also welcome the support of Russia in building ‘Nuclear powered submarines’ back in India’s shipyard.

     PM Narendra Modi will also meet Pakistani Prime Minister, Nawaz Sharrif. The meet comes at a time when the tensions between the long time foes are high. The meet is crucial in bringing down the tensions between the countries which have reached new heights with Pakistan claiming to use N-power against India.

Article By Karthik Kakoor

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