- Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba will kick off his four-day visit to Russia on Monday
- The visit comes soon after India and Russia inked an umbrella agreement for the procurement of four 4,000-tonne Grigorivich or Talwar-class guided-missile stealth frigates for the Indian Navy
India continues with its expansive defence relationship with Russia, which includes the inking of mega arms deals, despite the threat of financial sanctions from the US. After Army chief General Bipin Rawat visited the country last month, Navy chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is now headed for Russia.
Admiral Lanba, who is also the country’s senior-most military officer as chairman of the chiefs of staff committee, will kick off his four-day visit by holding talks with his Russian counterpart Admiral Vladimir Korolev in St Petersburg on Monday. “The visit aims to consolidate bilateral military relations with Russia, as also to explore new avenues for defence cooperation,” said an official.
At Moscow, the Navy chief will have discussions with General VV Gerasimov, chief of general staff and the first deputy defence minister of the Russian Federation, and Dmitriy Shugaev, Director of the Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC). He will also visit some Russian defence establishments like the Nakhimov Naval School and Admiralty Shipyard and the Military Academy of the General Staff of the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation.
The visit comes soon after India and Russia inked an umbrella agreement for the procurement of four 4,000-tonne Grigorivich or Talwar-class guided-missile stealth frigates for the Indian Navy. While the first two frigates will be imported from Russia for around Rs 8,000 crore, the next two will be built at the Goa Shipyard with transfer of technology at an overall cost of around Rs 13,000 crore, as was reported by TOI.
Earlier, on October 5, India had inked the $5.43 billion (over Rs 39,000 crore) deal for five squadrons of the Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems. The US has already imposed sanctions on China for acquiring the same S-400 systems under its new law called CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act), which seeks to prevent countries from buying Russian weapons or Iranian oil.
Even as it hopes for a waiver from the Trump administration for the S-400 deal, India is striking a fine balance between the US and Russia. US has already bagged lucrative Indian defence contracts worth $17 billion since 2007, with New Delhi earlier this month also firming up yet another deal worth Rs 13,500 crore for 24 naval multi-role MH-60 ‘Romeo’ helicopters.
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