M A I N   N E W S

Russian army chief arrives today
Tribune News Service

New Delhi, June 3
The commander-in-chief of the Russian Land Forces Army, General Alexei Fedorovich Maslov, will arrive here tomorrow on a five-day visit which is aimed at enhancing the defence ties between two of the oldest allies.

The visit by a Russian Land Forces Chief to India comes after almost eight years and assumes special significance in view of the increased military-to-military interaction between the armed forces of the two countries. Russia has been India’s largest supplier of military equipment and the two countries have together also developed the world’s only supersonic cruise missile, Brahmos.

At present, the ongoing defence cooperation encompasses equipment procurement, exchange of delegations, conduct of joint exercises, and joint designing, development and marketing of military equipment.

The first joint airborne exercise between the two armies was conducted in 2005 in India and the next joint exercise is planned to be conducted in Russia later this year.

During his visit, the Russian Land Forces Commander will meet the Chief of the Army Staff, General J.J. Singh, Chief of the Naval Staff, Admiral Sureesh Mehta, Chief of the Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal F.H. Major, defence secretary Shekhar Dutt and other senior defence officials.

General Maslov will also visit some important institutions of the Indian armed forces.

According to an official spokesperson here, his visit was expected to give an impetus to the existing bilateral defence cooperation as also further diversify Army-to-Army cooperation in the field of training and exchange of experts in spheres of mutual interest.



India to buy 350 more upgraded T-90 tanks

New Delhi, June 3
India is set to sign a major arms deal with Russia to purchase 350 more upgraded T-90 main battle tanks equipped with French night visions in a deal worth more than $ 300 million.

The tanks, which would be used to equip two Indian armoured divisions, are expected to be delivered within three to four years, according to Russian sources here.

The deal was to be signed during the visit from tomorrow of a high-level Russian defence delegation headed by General Alexi Fedroovich Maslov, but has run into trouble after Moscow demanded millions of dollars more in sale of additional Sukhoi fighters and carrier Groshkov. However, the Russians say that they are confident that the deal will go through in the next two months.

India is seeking to buy these additional T-90 tanks off the shelf as production under technology transfer at Avadi heavy armament factory is slow due to technical problems.

The induction of fresh T-90 tanks would mean that two of the three strike corps of the Indian Army would be equipped with these frontline weapons, which are far superior to Pakistan's T-80 tanks acquired from Ukraine.

With the country's indigenous Arjun main battle tank still to undergo comparative induction trials, the Army's other armoured formations are equipped with upgraded T-72m tanks.

The X battle tanks made by Indian scientists after mounting Arjun 125mm turret with chassis of the Russian T-72 tanks has already undergone some user trials.

The Russian delegation comprising top officials from Russian land forces, navy, air force and ministry of defence and armament export agencies would also seek to clear the decks for signing of another significant agreement for the joint development of a multi-role transport aircraft.

The visit also assumes significance in the wake of reports that Russian manufacturers have sought a review of defence contracts with India demanding millions of dollars more in sale of aircraft carrier Groshkov and SU-30 fighters claiming drop in value of the dollar. — PTI



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