India has officially expressed its reluctance to proceed with PAK FA (SU 57) 5th Generation Fighter Jet programme, a move which could dent India-Russia Relations. Citing the deal as being too expensive, India has not been willing to proceed with PAK FA, 5th Generation Fighter Jet Deal. The deal which was signed in 2007 had an estimated value of about $30 billion.
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This unwillingness of India was revealed by Indian officials as reported by the Press Trust of India and EurAsian Times earlier. India, however, is not scrapping the deal immediately but is reconsidering its participation in the India-Russia collaboration of the fifth generation fighter jets programme.
India is looking for a prudent cost-sharing formula between the two nations rather than suspending negotiations with immediate effect. The official said that India has clarified its position to Russia pertaining to concerns regarding the costs involved.
India’s Concern with Russian Fighter Jet
As EurAsian Times reported earlier, the IAF has on several accounts reported dissatisfaction and dismay regarding the quality of the Russian aircraft. As earlier stated by a senior officer of the Indian Air Force, the IAF is concerned about the abilities of the PAK FA and believes that the jet will fall short in areas of stealth and cross-section capacities.
India agreed to pay $295 million to Russia in 2010 to initiate the design and development of the 5th generation fighter jet. After that both the nations expressed a mutual interest to invest $6 billion each for the final leg of design and promotion of the advanced jet programme. But then a consensus could not be reached and things started deteriorating. Later in 2016, the project got clearance from the then Defence Minister of India, Manohar Parrikar.
Some sources also suggest that while India was looking to procure equal rights over the technological aspects of the programme, however, Russia was not willing to share details. India also argued that the vital codes and the critical technology for upgrades shall also be handed over to India.
Top sources also suggest that even though India is not trashing the negotiations over the deal as yet but there is very little chance that India would actually go ahead with the deal. Now how India’s backing out from the deal affects India-Russia relations remains to be seen.
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