India-Russia defence and strategic dialogue

The India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission for Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC) at the level of Defence Ministers discussed various ongoing projects of defence cooperation, including joint manufacturing of AK-103 Assault Rifles and the joint venture for manufacture of Ka-226T helicopters.

There were two new elements. One was an agreement to conclude a bilateral logistics supply agreement that would allow their military forces to share each other’s facilities for refueling and refurbishing, thus improving the endurance of the Navy and Air Force. Another was discussion of an agreement on manufacturing of spares in India for Russian origin defence platforms and equipment. Development of this idea has tremendous potential: to offset, at least partially, pressures arising from the US CAATSA sanctions, to achieve greater levels of technology transfers, and to develop India into a hub for servicing and upgrading Russian platforms in countries from Egypt to Indonesia. 

Both sides agreed to increase “military to military cooperation” including war games. In December itself, a joint naval exercise was held in the Bay of Bengal, focusing on protection of commercial sea lanes. An Air Force counter-terrorism joint exercise was conducted in Rajasthan.
A few days before the IRIGC, the National Security Advisors of the two countries met in Delhi for discussions on bilateral strategic and security related cooperation. Discussions included Afghanistan: the India-Russia joint statement of October 2018 had said the two sides “will direct their activity to launch joint development and capacity building projects in Afghanistan”. 


December 30, 2018

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About the Author

Ambassador PS Raghavan

Former Ambassador of India to Russia; Convener, National Security Advisory Board

Born in 1955, Ambassador Raghavan holds a B.Sc. (Honours) degree in Physics and a B.E. in Electronics & Communications Engineering. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1979. From 1979 to 2000, he had diplomatic assignments in USSR, Poland, United Kingdom, Vietnam and South Africa, interspersed with assignments in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in New Delhi. From 2000 to 2004, he was Joint Secretary in the Indian Prime Minister's Office dealing with Foreign Affairs, Nuclear Energy, Space, Defence and National Security. Thereafter, he was Ambassador of India to Czech Republic (2004 - 2007) and to Ireland (2007 - 2011).

He was Chief Coordinator of the BRICS Summit in New Delhi (March 2012) and Special Envoy of the Government of India to Sudan and South Sudan (2012-13). Ambassador Raghavan conceptualized and piloted the creation of the Development Partnership Administration (DPA) in MEA, which implements and monitors India’s economic partnership programs in developing countries, with an annual budget of $1-1.5 billion. He headed DPA in 2012-13. From March 2013 to January 2014, he oversaw the functioning of the Administration, Security, Information Technology and other related Divisions of MEA. Since October 2013, he was also Secretary [Economic Relations] in MEA, steering India’s bilateral and multilateral external economic engagement. Ambassador Raghavan retired from the Indian Foreign Service in January 2016, after serving from 2014 as Ambassador of India to Russia. Since September 2016, he is Convenor of the National Security Advisory Board of the Government of India.

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