Export contracts of Russian arms trade agency Rosoboronexport, part of Rostec State Corporation, amounted to $44 billion in FY 2016-17, with its portfolio in India exceeding $4 billion.
Though Russian defence products are exported to 70 countries within the defence technology cooperation framework, India continues to be a key strategic partner for Rosoboronexport.
Talks between the two nations are on for the acquisition of four Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates and the purchase of S-400 air defence systems, as well as acquisition of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters, sources said, adding that discussions are also on for a second nuclear-powered submarine.
Rosoboronexport is currently producing the Su-30MKI and T-90 tanks, among others, in India, and has recently inked a joint venture with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL) for the production of Kamov 226T helicopters in an estimated $1-billion programme.
Plans of the joint venture envisages production of up to 35 Kamov 226T helicopters per year, with the possibility to increase production. Officials said the assembly of Arrius 2G1 engines for the Indian Ka-226T will be part of a joint venture between Safran and HAL.
Rosoboronexport did not respond to an e-mail questionnaire.
Russia is a major supplier of defence equipment to the Indian armed forces, with at least 60 per cent of the latter’s arms inventory stated to be of Russian origin. Last year, the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) approved the purchase of 464 Russian T-90MS tanks for $2 billion. UralVagonZavod, an original equipment manufacturer, makes the T-90.
“The Indian Army currently has 850 T-90MS tanks. Given the heightened tension with neighbours, the armed forces are raring to bolster its firepower with additional tanks,” said an Indian defence official, adding that the Defence Ministry had also initiated the process of acquiring light battle tanks “as an almost parallel order to the T-90MS” since they can be easily air lifted to mountainous ranges.