Russia has been India’s long standing time-tested strategic partner, says Arun Jaitley March 2017 New Delhi. Defence Minister Arun Jaitley said the relations with Russia are a key pillar of India’s foreign policy and Russia has been India’s long standing time-tested strategic partner since the last 70 years. Mr Jaitley was speaking while inaugurating the India-Russia Military Industrial Conference in New Delhi March 17. The Defence Minister stated that since the signing of the India-Russia Strategic Partnership in 2000, ties between the two sides have acquired new heights with enhanced level of cooperation in almost all areas including defence. India-Russia Military Technical Cooperation has graduated from a simple buyer-seller relation to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence systems, he added. The Brahmos Missile System as well as the licensed production of SU-30 in India are examples of such flagship cooperation, he emphasised. The Minister called upon Russian companies to come forward for technology transfer to Indian companies and facilitate manufacturing of components/ parts and sub-systems at least for those cases where the requirement is in large numbers and is recurring in nature. He was of the opinion that there is tremendous potential for collaboration between Indian and Russian companies for export, so as to become part of the global supply chain. Minister for Industry and Trade of Russian Federation Denis Manturov, who jointly inaugurated the conference, also addressed the gathering. About 150 representatives from Russia were participating in the conference which includes over 100 representatives from its defence industry. Major Russian companies include United Aircraft Corporation, United Engine Corporation, RAC MiG, Russian Helicopters and Ural Vagonzavod. From the Indian side over 100 private companies including several SMEs participated in the conference. Organised by the Department of Defence Production in the Ministry of Defence, the conference primarily aims at addressing issues related to life-cycle support and maintenance of major Russian-origin equipments/ platforms such as SU-30 MKI aircraft, Mi-17 Helicopters, MiG-29K aircraft, INS Vikramaditya and T-90 tanks. The conference also assumes greater significance in the backdrop of the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Apart from deliberations on various policy issues, break-out sessions on Aerospace, Naval Systems and Land Systems are also planned. The conference would provide an opportunity to Indian industry to explore possibilities of manufacturing of parts/ components of Russian equipment in India through partnerships with Russian companies. A beginning was made at the Conference by signing of two agreements between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL) and United Aircraft Corporation and United Engine Corporation of Russia, for general terms and conditions governing long term supply of spares and rendering technical assistance over five years for the Su -30 MKI aircraft.