In a first, India and Russia to set up JWG on military cooperation
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In a first, India and Russia to set up JWG on military cooperation

New Delhi, Oct 4: In an effort to further give a fillip to their time-tested relationship, India and Russia will sign a deal to set up a Joint Working Group (JWG) on military cooperation on October 5 here.

Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived on a two-day visit to India for 19th edition of annual India-Russia bilateral summit. He, along with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, will witness the signing of the deal.

It is for the first time India will have a JWG on military cooperation with any country.

Officials familiar with the development said, “It would be a small group, looking after everything pertaining to Indo-Russian military relationship.”

“They will review the status of previous year’s development, give suggestion and assist for the next year,” they said.

The inaugural meeting of the group will be held in India. India and Russia share a special relationship since initial days of India got freedom from British colonial regime.

The JWG would serve as an important bilateral mechanism for the two countries to undertake concrete action to tackle issues relating to defence and security.

“In spite of India’s recent attempts at diversifying its strategic partnerships under ‘multi-alignment’ paradigm guiding India’s foreign relations, width and depth of enduring Indo-Russian Multi-sectoral partnership in defence, space and nuclear power sectors has no comparison,” Dr Swaran Singh, Professor for Diplomacy and Disarmament at Centre for International Politics in Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU) said.

Even today over 60 per cent of defence equipment in India remains of Soviet/Russian origin and two have demonstrated successfully examples of joint ventures like Brahmos and many more are in the making. For maximizing outcomes, especially in view of multiple commercial and strategic changes for Russia’s competitors and detractors, it’s in order that they have decided to set a joint working group on military cooperation, Dr Singh added.

The Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on five major components-- politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism co-operation and space.

India is the second largest market for the Russian defence industry. In 2017, approximately 68 per cent of the Indian Military's hardware import came from Russia, making Russia the chief supplier of defence equipment. (UNI)