New Delhi: Defence Minister Rajnath Singh who will be visiting Moscow next week will be accompanied by one of the largest industry delegations after attending the two-day meeting from November 1 of the Council of Heads of Government (CHG) of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) in Tashkhent.
The Indian companies will be seeking to form joint ventures with Russian equipment suppliers to set up manufacturing facilities here in India.
The minister, who will be in Moscow from November 5 to 7 for the India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) meeting, is set to review all major ongoing projects with Russia, including progress on the construction of two frigates for the Indian Navy and the supply of S400 air defence systems.
Besides senior bureaucrats including the Defence Secretary and the DRDO Chief, over 50 representatives from the Indian defence industry will also be in Moscow for a meeting with Russian companies. A big item on the agenda is identifying potential partnerships that will enable manufacturing of Russian military parts and components in India.
The industry delegation includes representatives from L&T Defence, Adani Defence, Alpha Design Technologies, SMPP Private Ltd and Zen Technologies. Senior officials from Hindustan Aeronautics Limited are also likely to attend the meeting, with a review of the ongoing project to manufacture Kamov Ka 226T light helicopters in India for the army and air force set to be conducted.
While technical details of the helicopter project have been worked out, the next step of awarding the contract to a HAL-Kamov combine is yet to take place. The visit will also include officials from the Goa Shipyard Limited (GSL), which has been nominated by the government to construct two of the Project 11356 class frigates.
The SCO is an influential regional security grouping which is seen as a counterweight to NATO.
“Rajnath Singh will represent India in the meeting of Council of Heads of Government (CHG) of SCO in Tashkent on November 1 and 2,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.
It will be the third CHG meeting of the SCO after India became the member of the grouping in 2017.
The last two CHG meetings were held in Sochi in Russia in 2017 and in Dushanbe in Tajikistan last year.
“India is actively engaged in various SCO cooperation activities and dialogue mechanisms in the region as well as to further develop multilateral cooperation within the SCO framework,” the MEA said.
The leaders participating in the meeting in Tashkent are expected to focus their discussions on the multilateral economic cooperation and economic development in the SCO region, the MEA said.
Singh will also have bilateral meetings on the sidelines of the SCO meet.
The SCO has emerged as one of largest trans-regional international organisations which accounts for almost 44 per cent of the world population stretching from the Arctic Ocean to the Indian Ocean and from the Pacific Ocean to the Baltic Sea.
The aim of the SCO is to maintain peace, stability and security of the region.
India and Pakistan became full members of the SCO in 2017.
India’s membership was strongly pushed by Russia, while Pakistan’s entry into the grouping was backed by China.
India is keen on deepening its security-related cooperation with the SCO and its Regional Anti-Terrorism Structure (RATS) which specifically deals with issues relating to security and defence.