Indian Navy's quest to emerge as a global and regional sea power will receive a major boost with New Delhi and Moscow in negotiations to purchase three additional frigates from Russia.
Military partnership has been the cornerstone of Indo-Russian ties and the Indian Navy has been using Russian-made frigates. It has been learnt that India and Russia have already held preliminary discussions for the three additional frigates that the navy would purchase from Moscow. The talks on this issue will gain momentum when Russian deputy prime minister Dmitry Rogozin arrives in Delhi on Tuesday with a jumbo delegation.
"Discussions are at a preliminary stage and it will get concretised in the coming days," said an official speaking on condition of anonymity, refusing to divulge details of the type of frigate and its features at this stage of negotiations.
However, it is understood that these frigates could belong to Krivak IV class of Russia. A Krivak IV class frigate is equipped with a 100-mm gun, a Shtil medium-range air defence system, Club-N supersonic antiship missiles, two Kashtan point defence systems, two twin 533-mm torpedo launchers, and an anti-submarine warfare helicopter.
Russia, it is understood, made the offer to supply three additional frigates. India, which is constructing seven indigenous frigates at Mumbai and Kolkata, is mulling over the proposal.
The issue was discussed last April when the two sides agreed on a roadmap of doables in several areas of military cooperation. This roadmap would be deliberated in details between Rogozin and his Indian interlocutors, officials hinted. His delegation includes Alexander V. Fomin, director of federal service for military and technical cooperation and several key Russian defence industry bosses. The discussions would also focus on supply of spare parts for Russian supplied aircraft to the Indian Air Force (IAF), development of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and much delayed aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov.
This will be Rogozin's, a close aide of President Vladimir Putin, maiden visit to India. Rogozin who is the co-chairman of Russian-Indian Intergovernmental Commission on military-technical, trade, economic, scientific and cultural cooperation will hold talks with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, external affairs minister S.M. Krishna and defence minister A.K. Antony besides commerce and industry minister Anand Sharma. Russia is taking part in 20 tenders in India, with which it has a military-technical cooperation agreement until 2020.
Last month India received - INS Teg - the first of three the Stealth Talwar frigates it ordered from Russia six years ago. The 3,970 tonne P-17 project Talwar's are 124.5 meter (386 feet) long, carry 24 anti-aircraft and eight anti-ship missiles, four torpedo tubes, as well as a 100mm gun, short range antimissile guns, a helicopter, and anti-submarine weapons (depth charges and missiles).
The ship has a complete set of electronics gear. The crew strength is 180. All of the Talwars are being equipped with eight BrahMos anti-ship missile (range of 290 km) each. The Talwar is a modified version of the Russian Krivak III class.