Upping Moscow’s claim on the prospects of a deal with India on the MiG-29M multi-role fighter jet , Russian Defence Minister Sergei Ivanov has said Russia has a real chance of clinching the multi-billion dollar contract.
Ahead of his departure for India, to observe ‘Indra 2005’, the first-ever Indo-Russian joint anti-terror military manoeuvres, Ivanov told reporters that if the Indian side kept in view the military characteristics, service and price of the MiG-29M aircraft, the decision would be taken in the favour of the Russian jet.
The IAF has sent the Request for Information (RFI) for the deal on the multi-role aircraft to Russian MiG, American F-16 and F-18, French Mirage-2000 and Swedish JAS-39 Grippen. It is expected to send Request for Proposal (RFP) to them, later this year.
Of his agenda when in New Delhi, Ivanov said that it was a “working visit” and he would keep talks on bilateral defence issues for Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee’s November visit to Moscow.
“India is the biggest partner of Russia in military-technical cooperation,” Ivanov said. “The two countries have already far exceeded primitive buyer-seller relations, and are now involved in the joint design, development and production of sophisticated hardware.”
Ivanov went on to stress the urgent necessity of intellectual property rights (IPR) in defence, which are to be signed by India and Russia. Signing the IPR would take mutual defence cooperation to a qualitatively new level, he said. Russia has already submitted its final draft of the agreement to India.
Expressing the hope that the IPR agreement will be signed by the end of year, Ivanov called its lack a “barrier” to the future development of bilateral cooperation. “Unless we have the IPR agreement, it will be impossible to carry on our cooperation to the higher level both sides desire,” he said.