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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Ivanov Predicts Arms Sales of $7.5Bln

Itar-TassIvanov and Serdyukov, second and third from right, touring an arms development institute in Moscow on Tuesday.
Russia will boost arms sales to a record of $7.5 billion in 2007 as the Kremlin breaks into new markets for its military equipment, First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov said Monday.

"If we sold $6.4 billion in 2006, the target for this year is already $7.5 billion for arms export sales," Ivanov told President Vladimir Putin at a meeting of senior ministers on how to raise economic growth. "It is not just about the reaching of a new record -- I would like to underline the quality of those exports," Ivanov said in televised comments.

The drive to boost arms exports has raised tensions with the United States, with which Russia is now often in direct competition for major arms contracts. Kremlin officials see the arms industry as one of the few sectors that can compete with Western firms on equal terms.

China and India are the biggest buyers of Russian arms as the Kremlin seeks to forge ties with the swiftly growing powers of Asia. But Ivanov said the share of sales to India and China had declined as Russia found new markets for arms. "It is no secret that our main partners in military and technical cooperation are India and China -- their share of the total arms sales has continued to decline. What does that say? It means there is diversification," he said.

Russia has sought to boost arms sales throughout Asia, Latin America and the Middle East.

Ivanov also said Tuesday at a session of the military-industrial commission that more work needed to be done to develop further the manufacture of precision-guided weapons. The meeting was held at the Research Institute of Precision Instruments, which he toured briefly with newly appointed Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov.

(Reuters, MT)