russian defence minister to visit india on dec 14

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Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu will visit India on December 14 and call on his Indian counterpart Nirmala Sitharaman, who is at present in the US.

Sitharaman will be in Honolulu, the headquarters of the US Pacific Command, from December 5 to 7. She will also visit Pearl Harbour, where she would board a US warship.

India and Russia are expected to take forward a unique mutual military logistics support agreement. The draft of the same is ready and being discussed between the two countries. In August, Russia had proposed such an agreement to New Delhi.

If agreed upon, it will offer what the Indo-US Logistics Exchange Memorandum of Agreement (LEMOA) facilitates. The LEMOA allows the use of each other military facilities such as ports to seek repairs, fuel, logistics etc.

With India and Russia operating so many common-origin platforms such as warships, submarines, fighter jets and tanks, it will help in servicing of equipment at various locations in Russia. In the return, it will also help the Russians seek such facilities at Indian repair depots.

India and Russia have agreed to expand military cooperation beyond arms sales. Moscow is the single-largest supplier of weapons and military equipment to India. Making an assessment for a five-year block (2013-2017), the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute said Russia accounted for 62 per cent of India’s arms imports.

Among pending issues are the finalisation of production of Kamov 226T helicopter — a joint venture with HAL.

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