President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Good afternoon, colleagues.
Today, we will examine a number of issues related to making our military technology cooperation with foreign countries more effective and will discuss concrete steps to consolidate our country’s position on the global arms market.
Before we start discussing our agenda, let me note that we are confidently carrying out our annual plan for military technology cooperation supplies. Our clients abroad have so far received Russian-made equipment and goods worth a total of $10 billion. This is more than 70 percent of the total supplies planned for this year.
Particularly important is that we are also laying good ground for the future. Our arms makers have concluded new export contracts this year for a total of over $7.5 billion. The orders portfolio will thus stay firmly at around $50 billion. This is a good result.
At the same time, I must note a few points in this sector that require our particular attention. First of all, the general geopolitical situation has become more complicated. Serious crises have flared up in the Middle East and North Africa, and on Russia’s very borders, in Ukraine, a civil conflict, essentially a civil war, is still underway. Despite the Minsk agreements, peaceful towns continue to come under fire and civilians are still getting killed. Many of our cooperation links with our Ukrainian partners and Ukrainian companies have been disrupted. That is not to mention the unfair competition we face from some of our traditional partners in the arms export sector. But we constantly encounter this sort of practice.
Russia has everything it needs not only to rise to these challenges but also to bolster its positions. To do this, we have drafted large-scale import substitution programmes for the defence sector and are building alternative production and technology cooperation ties. I want to thank the colleagues who did such a thorough job of the preliminary work here. We have drafted and approved together this work programme and arranged the necessary financing. It is good to see that the deadlines are quite acceptable and the financial costs are lower than we initially thought they would be. In general, everything is within acceptable limits and can realistically be carried out.
As I said, we need to work actively with our traditional partners and with new customers. We have long-term and strategic relations with many of our partners. For decades now we have taken part in equipping and providing technical service for countries’ armed forces and helping to train their military specialists. Of course, we must maintain and continue these close ties that have stood the test of time. At the same time, we need to raise quality and broaden our customer base in the military-technical cooperation sector. Many of our partners have an interest in this too.
We should make greater use of our country’s advantages in this sector. They include our solid defence industry capability and our reputation as a genuinely reliable partner. We all know that reliability is one of the most important aspects of work in this sensitive sector. If we even just once or twice allow problems to arise in this respect, our reputation could take a serious blow and this would have negative economic consequences. We must fulfil all of our obligations.
Naturally, demand for modern Russian arms on the world market is also an important aspect. Russia can deliver series-production models of the most advanced systems and weapons that have been tried and tested in battle conditions, and that in terms of cost, quality and effectiveness surpass foreign equivalents.
What’s more, we are ready not just to sell arms but also to organise joint production, repair, modernisation and maintenance, which in today’s conditions is extremely important.
It is essential to make use in practice of new forms of cooperation with buyers of Russian arms and military equipment. I am referring to flexible payment schemes, loans, extensive logistics support and other modern and effective mechanisms for promoting our products. I ask you to pay particular attention to this. We already use all of these instruments but we need to expand their range and beef up our efforts. This is all the more so as our partners respond very positively to these steps and show interest in these opportunities we offer. This is understandable because it not only boosts their defence capability but also offers new technological capability. Let’s discuss all of this now. Let’s begin our work.