Defence Ministers set to hold crucial talks

Moscow: India and Russia are set to hold crucial negotiations for speeding up deliveries of key weapons systems, including transfer of Nerpa class nuclear submarine on lease, and finalise the agenda for the bilateral summit scheduled for December-end.

Defence Minister A K Antony, who arrived here on a three-day visit ,is to hold talks with his Russian counterpart Anatoly Serdyukov on a wide range of issues pertaining to the inter-services cooperation.

During the talks, Antony is expected to set the defence agenda for the bilateral summit scheduled for December-end.

The two sides are expected to discuss the issue of deliveries of key weapons systems, including transfer of Nerpa class nuclear submarine to India on a 10-year lease.

It is believed that the two ministers would also discuss the joint use of Ayni airbase near Tajik capital Dushanbe, which has been modernised by the Indian Air Force.

Antony and Serdyukov would also co-chair the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission (IRIGC-MTC) on military cooperation.

IRIGC-MTC is the nodal body for steering the defence cooperation under the long-term military-technical interaction programme till 2020, the only such programme New Delhi and Moscow have with any foreign country.