In a bid to replace aging Indian helicopters, India and Russia on Thursday signed an agreement for the production of 200 Kamov 226T choppers. The USD 1 billion deal will replace the aging Cheetah and Chetak choppers that the Indian army uses in high altitude areas. The agreement was inked on the sidelines of the 2016 BRICS Summit in Goa from October 13 to October 16. The agreement is a big step in cooperation between Russia and India in the area of helicopter production and service.
Talking about the agreement, Rostec State Corporation earlier in a statement said, “The complex agreement to set up a joint production facility of Ka-226T helicopters is expected to be signed at the BRICS forum.” Rostec State Corporation is a organisation of about 700 Russian firms which was founded in 2007 to promote development, production, and export of high-tech industrial products for civil and military purposes. Negotiations on the expansion of military-technical cooperation and strengthening trade relations with India was held.
The preliminary contract was signed in December last year during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow. It was signed by the head of Rostec Sergei Chemezov, CEO and Modi, to replace the ageing Cheetah and Chetak light utility helicopters. A series of negotiations on development in the area of Russian helicopter export and after-sales servicing were also held. Chemezov headed Rostec’s delegation to the 2016 BRICS Summit.
The Army headquarters in 2012 had written a letter to the office of then defence minister A K Antony highlighting the issues of existing choppers and their low reliability which increased accidents and structural failures.
“The contract for export and joint production of 200 Ka-226T helicopters is one of the key projects in the framework of trade and industrial relations between Russia and India. We plan to expand them in both military-technical and civilian areas,” Chemezov said. In a view to keep the relation between the country for long, Rostec is in negotiations with the Defence Ministry for a long-term contract for after-sales servicing of Russian-made helicopters. Russian made helicopters are widely used in India.
“We are expecting to set up an after-sales service in a profoundly new format. There is an array of other projects, where we see perspectives for mutually beneficial cooperation, which we plan to discuss at the BRICS Summit,” Chemezov said.
Putin will visit Goa from October 14-17 to attend BRICS Summit, besides that he would also hold 17th India-Russia Annual Summit with Modi. Leaders of both the countries are expected to review the progress made between India-Russia since the last summit held in Moscow in December 2015. Important bilateral agreements are also expected to be concluded at the meet.