No Russian Fighter Jets for Pakistan: Sergey Chemezov
On a day India and Russia signed major defence deals worth $10 billion and other agreements, CEO of Russia’s ROSTEC Corp Sergey Chemezov says the seeming decline in India-Russia ties is a thing of the past. Mr. Chemezov, who runs Russia’s military and tech giant and is a close associate of President Putin, is often referred to as the second-most important Russian on defence issues. He spoke to Suhasini Haidar and other journalists in a select interaction in Goa.
India and Russia have signed many major agreements today, including for the S-400 Triumf anti-missile system. Could you tell us about the timeline and costs for these and the other agreements?
I can say that with the S-400, India will have the most modern system for air defence that exists at present.
By 2020, you should see the systems beginning to be delivered. As far as the costs are concerned, these will be finalised in the contract itself. The fifth generation fighter aircraft we propose will be a joint design manufactured jointly with an Indian company, made specifically for the needs of India. For the 200 Kamov 226T helicopters, we will partner with HAL (Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd.), with HAL owning 50.5 per cent at the location of HALs choice.
We have a long-standing relationship with India, and now hope to improve our civilian deals as well, including on electronics, biochemistry and optic fibres.
Russia has been overtaken by the U.S. as the largest defence supplier, and there has been a sense that the relationship has flagged. Will the deals signed on Saturday revive ties?
Our relationship with India has always been strong and fruitful in both military production and civilian areas.
Inter- governmental relations always have cycles and some parts of the cycle may be more or less active than others. Sometimes, they can be influenced by foreign factors or by internal factors.
It may look like there has been a decline in Indo-Russian relations as a result. However, in recent times, the relationship has been strengthening and broadening, and India is a strong ally and partner for Russia.
How about the new ties with Pakistan, including delivery of helicopters, and the recent military exercises? Do you plan any military sales to Pakistan, given a Russian delegation attended the Karachi DefExpo for the first time?
Our relationship with Pakistan has existed in the past as well, and while you can see areas where it has broadened, but not significantly. The military exercises in September this year were directly connected with modernising counter terror operations in Pakistan. ISIS is a global danger and doesn’t just involve terrorists in the Middle East but also in India and Pakistan. Therefore joint military exercises are important, but it must be noted that were not in any way targeted at India or at any other conflict in the region.
And military sales, given reports Russia may consider selling Su-35s in the future?
We are not delivering any military aircraft to Pakistan. We have made deliveries of transport helicopters and that contract has been completed. No contracts or plans for any other military-related equipment to Pakistan exist for present.
How badly have sanctions in the past two years affected ROSTEC and the Russian economy? Have they forced Russia to look east rather than west?
It’s true…Sanctions have affected us and some of our production also declined at the time, as we were unprepared for the action by western countries.
As a result sourcing was hit. But we have done well to overcome all the difficulties mostly through domestic production of equipment, or to source them through Asia including from India. We have also found that we have been spurred to manufacture and offer more advanced equipment than we previously would have in normal progression. In both military and civil production, we want to be less dependent on external forces.
I think the sanctions have pushed us to do better and grow quicker, and in the long run have meant no threat in any meaningful way to ROSTEC and to the Russian economy.