In what may be seen as a big boost for the Indian space research, Russia has agreed to help the South Asian country train its astronauts.
Speaking at the meeting of a bilateral high-level commission for co-operation in advanced technologies for military and civilian purposes in Novosibirsk, Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin recently said that Moscow and New Delhi would soon discuss the issue. He congratulated the Indian space scientists for their recent achievements, saying that Russia was eager to encourage them to launch new projects.
The Deputy PM further said that Kremlin has asked Roscosmos State Corporation for Space Activities, the governmental body responsible for the space science programme of Russia and general aerospace research, to co-operate with the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) and arrange a training programme for Indian astronauts. “In prospect, it is possible to train Indian astronauts on the basis of our centre of Roscosmos,” he added.
Later, Rogozin informed the media that he discussed the issue with Indian Defence Minister Arun Jaitley and informed the latter about the prospects of Russia’s manned spacecraft and the development of the International Space Station (ISS). “But we should see the prospect after 2024. I believe we could discuss co-operation between Russia and India in this area as part of the commission,” he stressed.
Meanwhile, the deputy premier expressed hope that Russia and India would create new generation spacecraft for the Earth’s remote sensing, navigation, communications and researches of the far space in the coming years. According to Rogozin, Russia considers India as its ideal partner in space research, as New Delhi “has made serious headway in this area”. After carefully watching the success of Indian scientists, Russia has decided to involve in more large-scale co-operation with India in this particular area, he told the press.
In a separate development, Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport has confirmed that it will modernise India’s Su-30MKI multi-role air superiority fighter jets in co-operation with Italy. Last week, Rosoboronexport CEO Alexander Mikheev said that the proposed move would boost the strength of Indian Air Force, which has a fleet of over 200 Su-30MKI fighter jets. In the past, CEO of Russian United Engine Corporation Alexander Artyukhov had said that the Indian version of Su-30MKI would get the AL-41F turbofan engines designed for 4++ generation aircraft after modernisation. Currently, AL-41F turbofan engines are being installed on the Su-35 fighters.
Also, India and Russia adopted a roadmap for defence co-operation. After holding talks with visiting Indian Defence Minister Jaitley, Russian Defence Minister General Sergei Shoigu said that the two sides would take forward defence partnership to concretise deals on frigates, S-400 air defence missile system and Kamov helicopters.
“We are determined to go ahead with building co-operation in order to enhance the combat readiness of both countries’ armed forces and to exchange experience in various defence-related matters,” Shoigu told a press conference. The Indian minister, who was in Russia to co-chair the 17th meeting of the India-Russia Inter-governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) with General Shoigu, thanked Kremlin for strengthening defence co-operation with New Delhi. Jaitley said that India requires Russia’s help to ensure peace in (South) Asia.
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