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India Mulls Scrapping P-8 Poseidon, MiG-29 Fighter Jet Deal With The US & Russia To Boost ‘Make In India’ Initiative

The Indian Defense Ministry has begun reviewing a number of foreign defense contracts including MiG-29 fighter jets from Russia and P-8 Poseidon aircraft from the US, Indian media reported on Saturday, citing sources.

According to the agency, the Ministry of Defense has been reviewing all ongoing projects under the “Buy Global” category, which includes direct contracts with foreign arms producers without the participation of the Indian military-industrial complex, with the view to either scrap or put on hold some of them to boost domestic arms production.

The contracts that are under review include tenders on long-range air defense systems, towed artillery pieces, vertical launch surface-to-air missiles, unmanned aerial systems, additional surveillance Boeing P-8I aircraft along with MiG-29 combat aircraft.

Indian Navy received its 9th P-8I aircraft in November 2020. (via Twitter)

India signed its first contract for the purchase of eight Boeing P-8 Poseidon maritime reconnaissance aircraft in January 2009. In November 2019, the Defense Procurement Board of India approved the purchase of ten more such aircraft, five of which were delivered to India by December 2021.

In July 2020, India’s Defence Acquisition Council approved the acquisition of 21 Russia’s MiG-29 fighters, among other aircraft. In February 2021, the Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said that the Indian government also decided to purchase additional aircraft, adding the Indian air force is now set to make a decision on relevant bidding procedures.

File Image: Russia MiG-29

“Addressing the long-felt need of the Indian Air Force to increase its fighter squadrons, the DAC also approved the proposal for procurement of 21 MIG-29 along with up-gradation of existing 59 Mig-29 aircraft and procurement of 12 Su-30 MKI aircraft.

While the MIG 29 procurement and up-gradation from Russia is estimated to cost Rs 7418 Cr [$991 million], the Su-30 MKI will be procured from HAL [Hindustan Aeronautics Limited] at an estimated cost of Rs 10730 Cr [$1.43 billion],” the Indian Defense Ministry had stated in a statement.

Later, Russia handed over a commercial offer to deliver 21 MiG-29 fighters to India, Valeria Reshetnikova, a spokeswoman for Russia’s Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation had stated.

Su-30MKI

The Indian Air Force staff received a tender request for the supply of 21 aircraft in 2021. The Russian side has transferred to Indian partners the commercial offer that is now being considered by the customer,” Reshetnikova had confirmed to reporters on the sidelines of the MAKS-2021 international aerospace show. 

The news comes as the implementation of the “Make in India” policy ramps up. Announced by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in September 2014, the policy aims to strengthen the domestic industry and increase exports.

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