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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Indian Arms Deal Could Be Worth $5Bln

India and Russia agreed on two military pacts Thursday, including a 10-year deal on weapons, aircraft and maintenance contracts potentially worth at least $5 billion, Indian defense officials said.

Indian Defense Minister A.K. Antony and Defense Minister Anatoly Serdyukov agreed on the deals in Moscow.

“All defense deals, all contracts, will come under the 10-year agreement,” Indian Defense Ministry spokesman Sitanshu Kar said in New Delhi. Indian Defense officials said the pact had business potential worth at least $5 billion.

The deal, to be signed when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visits Russia later this year, would include a $1 billion deal for 80 Russian Mi-17 helicopters and contracts for fitting Brahmos missiles onto Sukhoi fighter planes.

The deal also includes building a modern supersonic fighter aircraft invisible to radars like the U.S. F-22 Raptor stealth fighter, P.K. Barbora, a top Indian Air Force official told Reuters.

The second pact covers after-sales product support for defense equipment of Russian origin.

“The sides agreed to develop in the nearest future a mutually acceptable solution to questions on the renovations and refitting of the Admiral Gorshkov for the Indian navy. They also agreed to decide by the end of 2009 on all the organizational questions related to the joint development of a multifunctional fighter and to start practical work on its creation,” the Federal Service for Military and Technical Cooperation said in a statement, Interfax reported.

India’s growing ties with the United States, underscored by a civilian nuclear deal, have put Russia at unease, as New Delhi seeks to reach out to other countries to modernize its military inventory of mostly aging Russian-made arms and fighter jets.

Delays in refitting the Admiral Gorshkov aircraft carrier have been a particular concern, with huge cost overruns affecting the country’s military planning.

The 10-year deal could help iron out differences in the relations between the two former Cold War allies, analysts say.(Reuters, MT)