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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Russia to Double Arms Sales to India

Russia, which sharply increased its weapons exports last year, hopes to more than double the value of arms deals with India in 1996 to $3.5 billion, a senior official said Tuesday.

Interfax quoted Stanislav Filin, deputy general director of the Rosvooruzhenie state arms exporter, as saying Russia and India would sign five major contracts in 1996, covering all aspects of military-technical cooperation.

Filin said funding for the deals was already in the Indian budget and would start to be paid once contracts were signed.

India has long been one of Russia's main arms buyers, along with China and Arab countries.

Moscow's arms sales fell as communist leaderships collapsed around the world. But officials have said the value of the country's arms exports rose by nearly half in 1995 to $2.5 billion.

The agency said Russia and India, which has one of the world's largest armies, already had a long-term military cooperation program to the year 2000 worth some $7 billion to $8 billion.

It included supplying arms and equipment for all the Indian armed forces, modernizing weapons and granting licenses to produce existing arms and for equipment still on the drawing board.

In a separate report, Itar-Tass on Tuesday quoted a Rosvooruzhenie official in Tehran as saying Iran was seriously interested in buying Russian military technology, although no concrete agreements had been reached.

Russia had already supplied Iran with aircraft, missiles systems and two diesel-powered submarines. A third submarine could be delivered this year "if financial problems are resolved."

A Foreign Trade Ministry spokeswoman last week confirmed an Interfax report Iran was preparing to buy $1 billion of military-related equipment in the next two years.

Moscow began late last year supplying MiG-29 fighters to India in a deal worth $200 million.

Filin said that while in the past arms deals had been funded by Russian government credits to India, they were now paid for in convertible currency.