Russian President Dmitry Medvedev met with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh yesterday at the start of a visit to drum up military and nuclear deals with one of the world’s fastest-growing economies.
Medvedev’s trip caps a flurry of top-level diplomatic activity that has seen the leaders of all five permanent members of the UN Security Council beat a trade-focused path to India’s door over the past six months. British Prime Minister David Cameron was here in July, and US President Barack Obama, French President Nicolas Sarkozy and Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao (溫家寶) have passed through over the last six weeks.
All the visits have secured deals and framework agreements worth billions of dollars, and the Russian president will also be looking to seal key accords on the supply of fighter jets and the construction of nuclear power stations.
Traditionally India’s default defense supplier, Russia now faces stiff competition from Europe and the US as India diversifies its sources of military hardware and becomes more demanding over pricing and quality.
In an interview published in the Times of India on Monday, Medvedev said he viewed the growing competition for India’s booming defense market with “serenity and pragmatism.”
“We are ready to compete, the main point being that the fight for contracts is fair,” he said.
Wary of China’s military modernization drive, India is embarking on what global consultancy firm KPMG has described as “one of the largest procurement cycles in the world.”
Between now and 2016, India’s defense sector is expected to spend US$112 billion on capital defense acquisitions, KPMG said in a recent report.