Russia expects India to stand by it during hard times of sanctions: Rostec
Russia expects India to stand by it during these “difficult times” when it is facing economic hardship due to sanctions imposed by the West.
The US and the European Union had in September last year imposed sanctions on Russia, accusing it of actions that undermined the sovereignty of its western neighbour Ukraine.
“As for the sanctions and our economy in general, we are adapting to this, strengthening our relationship with our partners, including India and China, which are capable of manufacturing technological products that we have earlier purchased from Europe,” Chemezov said. “India could, in fact, share with us on what it is like to live under sanctions,” he said, referring to western sanctions on India following the 1998 Pokharan nuclear tests.
“Nonetheless, our (India and Russia) relationship has always remained friendly, we have helped each other for many years now, and I hope in these years, when Russia is experiencing certain difficulties, India will not isolate (us) and not step aside, but will help us through this,” Chemezov said. Terming Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative a step in the right direction, Chemezov said over 200 KA-226T twin-engine light multipurpose helicopters are expected to be produced jointly by the two countries, which will be the first major defence project under the programme. India's Defence Acquisition Council had approved the project in May after the government went back and forth over it for over four years.
Victor Kladov, head-international cooperation at Rostec, said Russia hopes to finalise its Indian partner for the project soon and complete the process of signing the deal “by the end of this year”.
He said when Modi visited the Russian stand at the AeroIndia show in Bengaluru earlier this year, he was told that Russia was ready to produce Ka-226T helicopters in India. “He asked, ‘why so slow about the project?’ we said, we have been waiting for the defence ministry decision for four years. They declared the tender, cancelled it, they declared new tender, again cancelled it and then readjusted their plans. So, policy changes by the acquiring agency derailed and delayed (the project) in many ways."
“Now, at least, we know the trend-—Make in India. When PM Modi declares Make In India, it comes in line with the trend worldwide—this is the current trend worldwide, nobody is interested in just buying or selling,” Kladov said. Rostec CEO Chemezov said the Ka-226 production facility in India will become the basis for formation of a new helicopter industry. “We will in no way limit your rights to this product, so you can write ‘Made in India’, as it would be our joint venture, we would too benefit from such sales. We are very interested in having high amounts of production and sales,” he added.
Chemezov said Russia was ready to work with both state-run Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd and a private sector company for co-production of the Ka-226 helicopters. “It is up to India to which company to choose. We are ready to work with both companies,” Chemezov said. During the visit of Russian President Vladmir Putin to India last December, Modi had said that Russia was and will remain India's “primary defence supplier”. India has, however, been pursuing defence deals with other countries as well, including the recent decision to buy Rafale fighter aircraft from France, leading to a perception that India's defence relations with Russia have been diluted.