The path for more hi-tech defence collaboration between Moscow and New Delhi was paved with the signing of the joint defence protocol by Defence Minister AK Antony and his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov.
The protocol extends military interaction between the two countries till 2020 and this is expected to make the path clear for inking more major defence joint ventures during the upcoming visit of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in early December.
The protocol was signed here at the end of 9th session of India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) after assurances
from Moscow that all pending issues like the delivery of aircraft carrier Gorshkov and nuclear submarine Nerpa would be resolved at the earliest.
The protocol provides for completion of formalities by the year end to launch the joint designing, development and production of fifth generation fighter aircraft project.
Besides the development of a state-of-the-art multi-role transport aircraft (MTA) through a joint venture along the lines of highly successful BrahMos JV, India and Russia have also agreed to jointly develop a heavy lift cargo helicopter and futuristic Infantry Combat Vehicle (ICV).
A joint statement released after the meeting said that India and Russia will collaborate in up-gradation of IAF's main strike fighter Su-30MKI, the older Mig-27 and T-72M1 battle tanks.
It said that the two sides had also worked out the production in India of Main Battle Tanks (MBT) T-90S with full technology transfer.
In his closing statement at the 9th session of IRIGC-MTC - the apex body for coordination of defence cooperation, Antony announced that both sides have agreed to extend their military interaction programme till 2020 and the concrete projects would be identified shortly for signing during Singh's Moscow visit in December.