Speaking to reporters shortly after the signing ceremony, Mr Antony said the two countries have agreed to strengthen and expand relations in all areas especially in the areas of joint exercises and greater cooperation in the field of Research and Development. ‘Now the frequency and level of exercises will be higher’, Mr. Antony said. He said talks ith Russia have started to extend the Military Cooperation Agreement beyond 2010.
The Defence Minister described the Agreement on FGFA as a ‘major landmark’ and said that the Indo-Russian Relationship is on a trajectory to reach new heights. He hoped that the two countries will soon sign an Intergovernmental Agreement on co-development and co-production of Multi-Role Transport Aircraft. Mr. Antony expressed satisfaction at the outcome of discussions on other important projects e.g., supply and licensed production of T-90 tanks, SU-30 MKI aircraft and other strategic issues. He admitted that there has been a delay in the delivery of the repair and refurbishment of aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov alongwith supply of deck-based fighter aircraft MiG-29-K and said it was decided that some more studies by technical groups would be done to go through the details. He appreciated the efforts made by the Russian side to resolve issues relating to life cycle support of equipment of Russian origin.
On the question of Integrity Pact, he said, ‘the objective is neither to create problems for anybody nor to favour anybody. What India wants is transparency in all defence purchases. In the past, there have been a lot of controversies. We want to avoid it. We want speedy modernisation but with transparency. Integrity Pact is one of the safeguards for transparency’.