Today at about 10:30 AM The President of RUSSIA Mr.Vladimir Putin landed in goa to attend the BRICS summit. Trust me when i tell you he is the Coolest President any nation can have. He is the most feared person on this planet and he commands what in my opinion is the STRONGEST ARMY IN THE WORLD (RUSSIA), eventhough when the country is not very strong economically thanks to the sanctions which are imposed over RUSSIA.
Even though Mr.Putin is here for BRICS summit but this is not just about global politics. India & Russia have been friends for decades and Russia is the most reliable friend of our country, it has always helped India when we needed the most and same can be said about India. From past few years even though our weapon trade with USA and other European nations have increased significantly but still when it comes to all weather allies INDIA & RUSSIA still rely on each other.
This visit of Mr. Putin is also significant because there are lot of things which are expected and a lot of agreements can be signed with RUSSIA mostly related to defence, some expected things are
- The deal for acquisition of 5 S-400 air defence systems can be signed today. The deal is worth approximately 5 billion dollars. S-400 missile defence system is considered the best air def system in the world which is capable of tracking targets at range of 600 kms and engaging them at range of 400 kms. It is the most feared air defence system in the world and will provide unmatched air defence capability to INDIA .
- Another deal which is expected is related to the manufacturing of Kamov ka-226T helicopters in INDIA under "MAKE IN INDIA " program. According to this India will be able to manufacture 200 Kamov ka-226T helicopters in India which will replace the existing fleet of cheetah and chetak helicopters which have served Indian Army for decades now. India requires some 500 light utility helicopters and it is expected that HAL LUH & Kamov 226-t helicopters will fill this gap. The advantages of Ka-226T helicopters is that it is a dual engined utility helicopter which has interchangable cabin area which can be changed according to requirements.
- The deal for INDO-RUSSIAN fifth generation fighter PAK FA/FGFA/T50 can also be signed which will create a clear understanding between INDIA & RUSSIA on this project. The project in past has faced several backlashes as it was reported that Indian engineers were not being allowed to test the fighter plane and also that IAF PILOTS were not allowed to fly the plane which caused some problem in the project. Also there was no clear understanding related to TOT (transfer of technology) which nearly killed this deal, but then talks between MODI & PUTIN when they last met revived this deal and now the production of FGFA is expected to start by 2018.
- The deal of several other systems is expected like upgradation of IAF SU 30 MKI to SUPER SUKHOI CONFIGURATION , PRODUCTION OF BMP 3 WITHIN INDIA, leasing of nuclear submarines from Russia (YASIN CLASS) etc.
- Deal for construction of warships for Indian Navy can also be signed. It will mostly be related to construction of frigates or destroyers for Indian Navy. Even though Russia has offered India deal for construction of Aircraft carrier "STORM" for IN the chances of this happening is low because of cost and time related issues and the fear of cost escalation and missing of deadlines as it has happened with our current aircraft carrier INS VIKRAMADITYA (FORMER Admiral Gorshkov).
- Regarding trade the trade between INDIA-RUSSIA is about 10 billion dollars and talks will be held to increase this trade to 30 billion dollars.
- Also it is expected that talks for laying a pipeline of gas from Russia to India can take place, eventhough the chances of it to happen anytime soon are not very high but still a start related to this is expected. If this happens then this will be a major deal and will strengthen our relation.
Along with all this India may also ask Russia to put pressure on China forgetting it through into the NSG as china is the only nation which opposes the entry of India in NSG. The pressure by Russia can make it possible as China depends on Russia for many things like defence equipment (although in end it just makes cheap copies of them and sells to nations like Pakistan etc) , gas etc. Mr Putin is also expected to inaugurate the Kudankulam Nuclear Power project's first unit in Tamil Nadu today and give a strong message of INDO-RUSSIAN alliance.
Even though India and USA has gotten closer in past few years but terming that friendship will be just too much, instead I prefer calling it A STRATEGIC ALLIANCE, India & USA are not very good friends we are simply working with each other because it's the need of the hour, whereas INDIA & RUSSIA are all weather allies who have stood by each other when the other needed, INDO-RUSSIA friendship in no way can be compared to INDO-US alliance.
I hope today marks another milestone in Indo-Russian friendship and that both countries work together and prosper.