The Indian and Russian governments have reached an agreement in Moscow to form working groups for after-sales support of key defence platforms.

The inter-governmental agreement was signed by Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart general Sergey Shoigu at the 19th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC ) meeting.

The agreement is seen as a boost to the Indian Government’s ‘Make in India’ programme as Russia promised to extend cooperation to help India enhance its defence capabilities.

India and Russia have agreed in principle to jointly manufacture spares, components and aggregates related to Russian defence equipment.

Proposed manufacturing of spares will take place in India through joint ventures.

In addition to supporting indigenisation, the move is intended to reduce supply timelines and cost.

Russia also committed to soon beginning operations of the lndo-Russia Rifles Private Limited, a joint venture to manufacture Kalashnikov AK 203 rifles in India.

Another key outcome from the meeting is that the officials agreed to work on finalising a cooperation programme for 2021-30.

Rajnath Singh also invited the Russian Defence Industry to partner with Indian firms to jointly manufacture advanced defence equipment to increase the export potential of the two countries.

Speaking to CEOs of original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) from Russian Defence Industry, Singh said: “We have set up defence corridors in Uttar Pradesh and Tamil Nadu and offer attractive terms for investment. India is ready to explore opportunities and co-production of high-end defence equipment with Russia.

“We want collaboration with you to modernise our defence platforms by advanced and emerging technology. Indian MSMEs seek footholds in the global supply chains with support from Russian and other foreign companies.”