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Lavrov to visit India; crude, rupee-ruble payment and arms deals on agenda

Since the start of the war, India has been facing pressure from the West and its allies to take a stronger stand against Russia

Sergei Lavrov | Photo: @mfa_russia

Sergei Lavrov | Photo: @mfa_russia

IANS New Delhi
Military operations in Ukraine, sale of Russian crude, rupee-ruble denominated payment method, arms deals are a few issues which Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will discuss during the first high-level visit to India since Russia went to war with Ukraine.
Lavrov is arriving on a two day visit to India on March 31. "The Russian Foreign minister Sergey Lavrov will pay an official visit to New Delhi on March 31-1 April 2022," the Ministry of External Affairs said.
Rupee-ruble payment method
Following the US-led sanctions and a few Russian banks being removed from the SWIFT messaging system, Lavrov will deliberate on the rupee-ruble denominated payment method for crude which Russia has offered to India.
New Delhi is not averse to buying Russian oil at a discounted rate. The government recently informed Parliament that it is examining offers from that country to buy cheap crude and an inter-ministerial committee is working on an alternate payment plan.
It is also stated that Reserve Bank of India senior officers are meeting their Russian counterparts to discuss the rupee-ruble payment.
Since the start of the war, India has been facing pressure from the West and its allies to take a stronger stand against Russia.
Defence deals
The war between Russia and Ukraine will cost India's military capabilities dearly with the delivery of many platforms like a nuclear powered submarine, Grigorovich class frigates, fighter jets, Triumf S-400, AK 203 assault rifles and others expected to be delayed. Indian leaders will hold discussions with Lavrov on the issue.
As soon as the war began on February 24, both India and Russiamaintained there would be no delays with respect to deliveries of critical platforms but with sanctions imposed and the possibility of the war continuing for long, it would have a major impact.
India decided to upgrade its military infrastructure when the country was locked in a major face-off with China along the Line of Actual Control in July 2020. The threat of a two-front war -- from China and Pakistan -- has made India go for large scale arms deals and Russia is still one of India's largest arms suppliers.
India's defence ministry has recently reviewed the status of the current deals with Russia and how the war is going to impact the military capabilities.
In December 2021, India and Russia signed more than two dozen deals across a variety of sectors and had also inked a 10-year defence cooperation pact.
One of the deals with Russia is for the Triumf S-400 air defence system. India signed a $5 billion deal with Russia in October 2018 to buy five units of the S-400 surface to air missile system. Russia has stated that it will deliver on time however the war will delay the same.
The Indian Army had also inked a deal with Russia to jointly develop the AK 203 assault rifle worth Rs 5000 crores. In 2019, India signed a $ 3 billion deal with Russia for leasing a nuclear-powered submarine. The Chakra III, Akula class submarine is expected to be delivered by 2025 for a period of 10 years. The deal to get four Grigorovich class frigates was signed between Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and Goa Shipyard Ltd in 2018. Two frigates for the Indian Navy worth $ 1 billion were to be manufactured in Russia and the other two in Goa. The deliveries were supposed to start within four years of the signing of the contract.
The arms and ammunition deals with Russia also includes procurement of additional 21 MiG-29 for the Indian Air Force (IAF), up-gradation of existing 59 MiG-29 aircraft at an estimated cost of Rs 7,418 crore and purchase of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft for Rs 10,730 crore to be built at state-owned Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL).

(Only the headline and picture of this report may have been reworked by the Business Standard staff; the rest of the content is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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First Published: Mar 30 2022 | 7:47 PM IST

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