Russia signs preliminary deal to sell 42 jets to India
Visiting Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev on Friday oversaw the signing of an agreement to sell to India 42 Su-30 jets in kit form as the Kremlin scrambles to retain ties with its Soviet-era arms purchaser.
The agreement comes after India, the biggest importer of military hardware among emerging nations, had earlier this year rejected Moscow's bid to supply its traditional ally with 126 multi-role combat aircraft in a deal worth about $12 billion (9.2 billion euros).
The two leaders sought to play up progress in bilateral ties, stressing they withstood the test of time.
"Our cooperation with India in the military technical sphere has reached an unprecedented level," Medvedev said in comments released by the Kremlin.
After the talks the two leaders oversaw the signing of an agreement to "render technical assistance in the organisation of production of the SU-30 plane," the Kremlin said in a statement without providing further details.
The Kremin said ahead of the signing the two sides had planned to ink an agreement to supply India with 42 Su-30 jets in kit form that would be assembled in India.
New Delhi and Moscow have enjoyed close ties that date back to the 1950s but relations have recently come under strain as India becomes more demanding over pricing and quality and looks to other countries like Israel and the United States as potential military suppliers.
Singh said the two countries discussed nuclear cooperation and supplies of liquefied gas adding they also agreed the terms of a Russian loan to build two additional generating units at a nuclear power plant in the southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu.
© 2011 AFP