Reliance Group chairman Anil Ambani, Godrej Industries chairman Adi Godrej, Bharat Forge Limited CMD Baba Kalyani are set to accompany Prime Minister Narendra Modi as part of a high-powered delegation when he meets Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow on December 24.
A team of 18 captains of the Indian industry will interact with 34 Russian CEOs on the sidelines of the 16th India-Russia annual summit. Sources said the defence delegation will focus on Russian cooperation on maintenance repair and overhaul (MRO) of military equipment besides ‘Make in India’ collaborations.
“India-Russia defence ties go back decades. With the government’s boost to Make in India in defence, there is tremendous scope for defence cooperation between Russian and Indian companies for joint development of military hardware,” said an industry insider.
“Further, the Indian armed forces are not too pleased with the after-sales support from the Russian side and have been facing shortage of spares for Russian-origin aircraft and tanks. The Indian delegation will be pitching for collaborations with Russian Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs) for post-sale contracts,” said the source.
According to sources, the major deals that are likely to be taken up include the purchase of 200 Kamov Ka-226 T choppers, which are crucial for replacing the ageing Cheetah and Chetak helicopters, and the construction of four frigates for the Indian Navy.
Last week, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) had cleared a proposal to buy five units of S-400 air defence missiles from Russia at an approximate Rs 30,000 crore. “The S-400 deal is also top priority,” said a source.
Among the others who are set to accompany Modi are: Ravi Ruia of Essar Group, T Suvarna Raju, chairman of state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) which has been carrying out licence production of Russian Sukhoi-30 MKI jets, Sukaran Singh of Tata Advanced Systems and Adar Poonawalla of Serum Institute.
“The delegation will leave on December 23 and return by December 26. We are hoping for a fruitful visit,” said the source.
Russia has been the backbone of India’s defence build-up for decades. According to details shared in Parliament, the US, for the first time, overtook Russia as the biggest supplier of military hardware last August. Of the Rs 83,500 crore worth of defence equipment ordered by India in 2014, Rs 32,600 crore went to the US and Rs 25,364 crore to Russia.