Modernisation of Su-30 fighters made significant progress
India and Russia made significant progress in the discussions for
modernisation of all Su-30 fighters of the Indian Air Force (IAF) during the
visit of a Russian team last month.
The upgrade will give the fight jets new avionics and radar, improved
stealth characteristics to reduce the radar cross-section, better electronic
warfare capability and new weapons.
Though the quantum of the deal is not finalised, some officials said it
could be in the range of $7-8 billion.
Su-30 are the most modern fighters and the main stay of the IAF. Given
the delay in procurement of new fighters, they are crucial for maintaining
the combat edge of the IAF.
Discussions had been under way for some time for upgrading the aircraft
to what was called ‘Super Sukhoi’, but the talks gained momentum recently.
India had signed the initial agreement with Russia in the late 1990s for
procuring 50 Su-30 multi-role fighter jets in a fly-away condition.
Then, it ordered 272 Su-30MKI fighter jets to be made by Hindustan
Aeronautics Limited (HAL) at Nasik.
Most of the aircraft to be made by HAL have been delivered, and the
entire lot of 222 aircraft is expected to be completed in the next couple of
years. The HAL has a production rate of 10-12 aircraft a year.
This comes in the backdrop of the delay in concluding the final deal for
the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA) to be developed by India and
Russia, besides the delay in concluding an agreement for the purchase of the
Rafale fighter jets and in the induction of the indigenous Light Combat
A preliminary design agreement was signed in 2010 between HAL and
Russia’s Sukhoi Design Bureau to make the FGFA for use by both countries. So
far, both sides have invested $295 million in the preliminary design.
But, the final agreement got stuck because of the disagreements over the
work share and investment.
India gets Bangladesh’s support over Balochistan
Bangladesh came out in support of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s stand
on the Balochistan issue, saying Dhaka would soon make a policy declaration
on Pakistan’s human rights abuses in Balochistan.
The visiting Minister of Information said Balochistan was facing the
brunt of Pakistan’s military establishment, which “targeted” the Bengalis in
East Pakistan in 1971 before the creation of Bangladesh.
“Bangladesh is constitutionally bound to support liberation struggles
and we will soon declare an official policy on Balochistan,” he added.
His comment comparing the Bangladesh Liberation War of 1971 with the
situation in Balochistan came a day after Minister of State for External
Affairs M J Akbar compared East Pakistan of 1971 with “simmering Balochistan”.
“Bangladesh wants India to partner a joint effort to control distortion
of Islam and history, which can safeguard the memory of 1971,” the minister
In the last few years, Dhaka has detected multiple cases where Pakistani
diplomats posted in Bangladesh were found to have been involved in terror
Bangladesh, he said, is worried of the fallout of Pakistan’s official
policies regarding nationalities and promotion of cross border violence.