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