President Vladimir Putin: Dear Mr Minister, allow me to wish a warm welcome to you and your colleagues.
I am very pleased to note that our political contacts have reached an unprecedented level over recent years. These contacts are founded on the longstanding ties of friendship between our countries and also on our interests, the interests of our peoples today.
It is also very important and likewise very pleasing to see that relations between our defence ministries are developing very positively indeed. We held joint military exercises in October and both year and last year our naval vessels visited India. We plan to hold similar joint activities in the future.
We have also achieved close and active contacts and cooperation in the military-technical sector. As far as I know, today’s commission on military-technical cooperation is also working at a very good level.
I am sure that your visit will be fruitful, Mr Minister.
Indian Defence Minister Pranab Mukherjee: Thank you, Your Excellency, for finding time in your busy schedule to meet with my colleagues and I.
First of all, I would like to pass on the very best wishes of the President and Prime Minister of India to you personally and to the people of the Russian Federation. We all still remember your visit to India last year and our Prime Minister is very much looking forward to his visit to Russia at the beginning of December.
I am sure that my colleague, the Deputy Prime Minister, and the Defence Minister of the Russian Federation have informed you that over the last two days we have had very useful discussions during the sessions of the Indian-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation. I am very pleased that certain questions that remained unresolved have now been settled, including the issue of signing an agreement on protection of intellectual property rights. As far as I understand, this text has now been approved and it is possible that the agreement will be signed during our Prime Minister’s upcoming visit.
Your Excellency, you noted quite rightly that our political and economic relations, especially in the area of military-technical cooperation, have reached a very good level. Our military cooperation with Russia is quite unique because India is the largest importer of military equipment, platforms, arms and systems from Russia. This cooperation is set to expand in the future. There is no danger of our cooperation in this area weakening.
Our expanding cooperation includes the agreements we have reached on creating a multi-function transport plane. We have already exchanged project documents and I hope that we will be able to conclude this agreement during our Prime Minister’s visit.
Given that the Russian side has demand for around 100 aircraft and India requires around 45 aircraft, this project will be economically very advantageous as it is based on joint production. Regarding the fifth-generation fighter plane project, I would like to inform you that India is interested in cooperating in carrying out this project.