Just a month after the first ever 2+2 dialogue between India and US during which the long-delayed COMCASA deal was signed, India is all set to roll out the red carpet for its old and trusted friend Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be traveling to India for the Indo-Russia summit on October 5. The two leaders had met each other on an informal basis in Sochi in May this year.
While a number of key agreements are set to be signed between the two countries during this Summit, the most important and key one would be one for the nearly Rs 40,000 crore S-400 Triumf air defence system, much to the discomfort of the US.
The US has been pushing India against the signing of this deal citing The Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, (CAATSA), a US federal law that imposed sanctions on Iran, North Korea, and Russia.
However, top sources in the government say that India only abides by the UN sanctions and not that of any other country. At the same time, Indian authorities have explained to the US that New Delhi has a historic relationship with Russia and most of its weaponry is of Russian vintage.
It is hoped that the US will give some sort of a waiver to India given Washington’s impetus on Indo-US ties.
Besides the S-400 deal, an Inter-Governmental Agreement for the license production of the AK-103 assault rifles for the Indian military is also likely to be signed. These guns would be manufactured by the Ordnance Factory Board.
There is also a forward movement expected in the awaited deal between the two countries for the production of the Kamov 226 light utility helicopters, something that the forces have been waiting for years. These helicopters will replace the age-old Cheetah and Chetak helicopters. The Kamov Helicopters deal will be a joint venture between Rostec, Russian Helicopters and the Indian state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Limited.
Another key deal that could see the light of the day is the one for four stealth frigates which are Teg Class follow-on ships. As per the understanding, two ships are to be bought from Russia and two are to be Made in India by defence PSU yard Goa Shipyard Limited after a transfer of technology by Moscow.
Sources said Russians already have the two stealth frigates ready but it lacks engine because Ukraine has refused to give Moscow any of the engines. As per the plan, India will procure the two engines from Ukraine.
India and Russia are also in talks for the possible purchase of two strategic lift aircraft to be converted into an Air Borne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS). Sources indicate no deal on this is likely to be inked during this visit.
Also under discussion will be the leasing of a nuclear submarine from Russia.