[UPDATED] All Roadblocks Removed, 5th Gen Fighter Agreement Soon: Defence Minister

The decks are cleared for a general agreement (GA) on the further joint development and production of the Indo-Russian Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). After years of bilateral discussions, the agreement is finally set to be signed, possibly with the Russian President visits Delhi later this year.

After the 10th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) today in Delhi, Indian defence minister AK Antony said, "All the roadblocks are over and soon the FGFA contract will be signed. We will get 250-300 fighter aircraft. Within the next few months, the agreement will be signed. We have sorted out all issues and have found satisfactory agreements."

Russian defence minister Anatoly Serdyukov said, "We are looking forward to the joint creation of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) with our Indian colleagues. We have the design and other details. The draft of the contract has been handed over to the Indian side and is now under their consideration. Once the contract is signed, Sukhoi and HAL will work together."

Here's the full press statement that was issued at 16.12IST:

The Tenth Meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) was held here today. The Defence Minister Shri AK Antony and the Russian Defence Minister Mr. AE Serdyukov headed the respective delegations. The Indian delegation included Defence Secretary Shri Pradeep Kumar, Secretary (Defence Production) Shri RK Singh, Shri VK Saraswat, Scientific Adviser to Defence Minister and other senior officials of the Ministry of Defence and the Armed Forces. The Russian delegation included representatives from the Russian Ministry of Defence and the Russian Defence Industry.

In his opening remarks at the IRIGC-MTC meeting, Shri Antony said that India values the strong and multifaceted friendship with Russia and noted that the defence relationship between both countries is based on convergent and complementary interests and has been mutually beneficial. He also observed that the bilateral defence cooperation with Russia is a comprehensive partnership, in which both countries have moved beyond the buyer-seller relationship and are collaborating in joint R&D and production of defence equipments and systems.

The Commission took note of the progress on several major projects since its last meeting, which was held in Moscow in October 2009. Both sides expressed satisfaction at the conclusion of the Shareholders Agreement for formation of a Joint Venture Company for the development and production of the Multirole Transport Aircraft (MTA). Further, both sides agreed to expedite modalities for the proposed project for the joint design, development and production of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA).

“India hopes to get 45 MTA and also finalize the FGFA, … all the issues we have discussed and solved between our two countries… now it is in the final stages of the Indian government, some technical formalities between the governments is needed and I am sure we will be able to complete very soon…within a few months,” Shri Antony later told a joint press conference. “As per this agreement India will receive approximately between 250-300 most modern FGFA. These two projects are the major achievements of this year and for the next ten years these two projects, MTA and FGFA, will be a shining example of India and Russian defence cooperation,” he added.

“We have very good big plans and we have very serious projects and work before us. And this, as I said, will be a big challenge and we will try to do our best in order to prove that our bilateral cooperation can give us very good practical results,” said Mr. Serdyukov.

The Joint Commission also reviewed the status of several other ongoing and proposed projects, including the licenced production of T-90 Tanks and the establishment of the repair and overhaul facilities for various Russian origin defence equipment in India.

The IRIGC-MTC was established in 2000, with a view to further bilateral defence cooperation between India and Russia. Russia is the only country with which India has such an institutionalized mechanism at the level of the Defence Ministers of both sides, which highlights the strength and importance of the bilateral defence relationship. The Commission is supported by two Working groups – on Military Technical Cooperation and Shipbuilding, Aviation and Land Systems respectively and seven sub-groups.

The scope for military technical cooperation between both countries is defined through an umbrella inter-Governmental agreement; and Agreement on a long term programme for military and technical cooperation for the period 2011-2020 was signed during the visit of the Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to Russia in December last year.

Prior to the IRIGC meeting today, both Defence Ministers also held separate discussions on various issues of regional and global security. Both Ministers agreed on the need to enhance interactions between the Armed Forces of both countries. Noting that a joint exercise between the Armies of both sides is due to be held in India this month, both Ministers also decided that a joint exercise between the Armed Forces would be held in Russia in 2011. The Russian Defence Minister also stated that the Chief of Defence Forces of Russia would visit India in November this year and that the Russian Navy Chief would visit in January 2011.

Labels: , , , , , , , ,