An Indian-Russian defence deal has been agreed upon at Aero India 2021. The Indian government has decided to buy 21 MiG-29 fighters from Russia and upgrade another 59 such aircraft, Vladimir Drozhzhov, deputy head of the Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) of Russia, told Interfax.
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Drozhzhov clarified that the Russian side is awaiting the decision of the Indian Air Force headquarters to hold the relevant tender procedures.
According to the deputy head of FSMTC, the proposal for the supply of six Ka-31 helicopters and technological kits for the production of 12 additional Su-30MKI aircraft has also been submitted to Indian partners.
Earlier in February, the Indian Ambassador to Moscow Venkatesh Varma said that Delhi expects to receive Russian MiG-29s and Su-30s this year.
Drozhzhov explained that the spread of COVID-19 was the reason for protracted negotiations with India on the supply of MiG-29, Su-30 fighters and Ka-31 helicopters.
"Until recently, the lack of regular air communication between the countries significantly hampered the conduct of contract negotiations. Nevertheless, the negotiation process is underway," said the deputy head of the FSMTC.
Earlier, the department expected that all three contracts will be signed by the end of 2020.
The FSMTC also stated that Delhi is interested in purchasing 12 Su-30MKI fighters for licensed assembly in India.
Currently, the Indian Air Force has three squadrons of MiG-29 fighters, which began to be acquired since the 80s of the twentieth century. Additional aircraft can be added to one more squadron.