Thursday, February 7, 2002, Chandigarh, India


M A I N   N E W S

Trilateral efforts possible: Kremlin

Moscow, February 6
The Kremlin says there are clearer prospects of trilateral cooperation between Moscow, New Delhi and Beijing even as Russian Foreign Minister Igor Ivanov — fresh from his visit to India — denies any plans to form any axis or bloc of the three countries.

“It was long time ago that Moscow, New Delhi and Beijing saw the need for mutually-beneficial trilateral cooperation,’’ Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov said.

“The latest developments in Afghanistan and the war against terror underline the need for this kind of cooperation,’’ Voice of Russia quoted Mr Losyukov as saying.

Meanwhile, Mr Ivanov held talks today with Chinese Ambassador to Moscow, Zhang Deguang, on issues of strategic stability, combating terrorism, the situation in Afghanistan, and Central and South Asia, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

He praised the development of the Sino-Russian strategic partnership and stressed on active continuation of the political dialogue, further expansion of bilateral cooperation in all spheres, and consolidation of interaction between the two countries in the international arena, the statement noted.

The Indian Navy will lease two Russian nuclear-powered submarines (SSNs) to meet its expanding operational responsibilities and counter the increasing Chinese presence in the Indian Ocean and the Bay of Bengal.

The lease will continue till indigenously-built nuclear-powered submarine — the Advanced Technology Vessel (ATV) — enters the service, ‘Jane’s Defence Weekly’ has reported quoting official sources.

The Indian Navy will lease two Akula (Bars)-class Type 971 SSNs for five years after financing their construction under an agreement currently being negotiated with Rosoboronexport, Russia’s state-owned arms exporting agency, the report said.

The SSN’s are expected to enter service of the Indian Navy during 2004, although the contract is still to be approved by the Indian Government. Reports from Moscow say the Type 971 programme has been frozen because of funding problems. Fourteen submarines have been built and the last one was commissioned last December. UNI, PTI



India, Russia discuss defence cooperation
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, February 6
The Indo-Russian relations entered newer areas of strategic cooperation as visiting Russian Deputy Prime Minister Ilya Klebanov met External Affairs Minister Jaswant Singh, Defence Minister George Fernandes and Defence Secretary Yogendra Narain and discussed a wide range of bilateral issues with them.

Emerging from hour-long talks with Mr Fernandes, Mr Klebanov announced that Russia offered to India a stake in its programme for development of futuristic weapons, adding that “Russia is willing to go beyond the sale and lease of hi-tech weapons.” He told reporters that he had come to New Delhi with “new proposals” which he would outline at the extensive rounds of meetings with the Indian leadership during his four-day visit.

India sought Russia’s assistance for comprehensive repair and maintenance facilities in this country for Russian and Soviet origin defence equipment acquired by the Indian armed forces over the years.

There was tremendous “potential’’ for cooperation between the two countries in this area, Defence Minister George Fernandes said as the second meeting of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation which began here this morning. Mr Klebanov and Mr Fernandes are leading their respective sides at the meeting.

The Russian Deputy Prime Minister said defence cooperation between the two countries was “long-standing” and “not subject to political conjectures”.


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