Russia is trying to develop a new model of industrial cooperation with India, with an eye on metallurgy, aircraft, shipbuilding, automotive construction and chemical industries sectors, says minister of industry and trade DV Manturov . In an interview to ET, the Russian minister, who’s in India for the annual bilateral summit and BRICS Summit, says his country is hoping to clinch a number of joint ventures with different states in India. Edited excerpts:

How do you look at expanding economic partnership with India?

The openness of the Indian economy to direct investments and attract foreign capital is highly valued by Russian investors. We are closely monitoring the innovations that are being undertaken by India to reform the country’s economy. I would like to recall that in January 2015, Manohar Parrikar, India’s defence minister, invited Russian defence enterprises to actively participate in this new governmental initiative.

To enter the Indian market, we need to develop a new model of industrial cooperation between Russian and Indian enterprises, create joint ventures, transfer technologies, etc. We are planning to sign an MoU between Andhra Pradesh state and the United Shipbuilding Corporation for joint development of cargo and passenger transport vessels, as well as the development and modernisation of military and civilian ships, and a memorandum between TekhnoNIKOL Corporation and Andhra Pradesh for the implementation of a project involving construction of a plant of polymer bitumen construction materials in India, with investments of $100 million.

How has INNOPROM-2016 — Russia’s biggest manufacturing show, where India was a partner — boosted economic partnership?

The large-scale participation of India this summer at INNOPROM-2016 gave an impetus to our partnership. The fact that regional heads (three CMs) participated in the show was important. Its logical continuation will be our business mission, which will start on October 11and include visits to four regions — Rajasthan, Andhra Pradesh, Delhi and Maharashtra. It is important that the invitations for participation were received directly from the state heads (CMs). I would like to note that Russian business community, industrial associations and heads of manufacturing companies and state corporations have shown keen interest in participating in the business mission.

What sort of joint venture projects is Russia keen to explore in India?

India-Russia JV projects cover areas like metallurgy, aircraft and automotive construction, chemical industries and other high-tech fields. We are actively cooperating in the mining sector and Indian partners are keen to modernise their metallurgical plants which were built with help of erstwhile USSR. India is a very promising market for Russian mining equipment. India is also one of Russia’s largest partners when it comes to foreign trade in chemical products. Mineral fertilizers traditionally form the basis of Russian exports of chemical products to India.

Could you please elaborate on military and technical cooperation between the two countries?

Russia and India are major partners in the sphere of military and technical cooperation. Over 70% of weapons and military equipment used by the Indian Army, Air Force and Navy are of Russian and Soviet production. Licensed production of the Su-30MKI fighters is one of the largest projects involving the transfer of technologies to India. Russia is also working with India in the sphere of civil aviation. The United Aircraft Corporation has been working with Indian companies for possible industrial cooperation. What should be noted is the work being done on joint projects involving the Il-114, MS-21and SSJ-100 aircraft.

Earlier this year HAL sent an official request to a Russian manufacturer to enquire to create Indian aircraft. We can offer Russian experience in the creation of this aircraft, and could consider the possibility of participation both in this project as a whole and in its individual stages (from the design stage to after-sales service). We propose organising the production of Il-114-300 aircraft through the creation of a joint venture. The MS-21aircraft, the first flight of which is planned for the beginning of 2017 can be an area of cooperation. This is being developed by the Irkut Corporation, a long-time partner of India on the Su-30MKI project.

The project involving the creation of a joint venture for the production and supply of Ka-226T helicopters will be a key step. All documents have been agreed upon. We are planning to sign them during the India-Russia and BRICS Summits on October 15-16 in Goa. Currently, in addition, the Russian Helicopters Holding is participating in a tender for the supply of two civil aviation Mi-172 helicopters, in addition to those that are already operating in India.

The long-time close cooperation (for more than 50 years) in high technology areas between Russia and India has proven its effectiveness. Over the years, we have got to know each other well, we know our strengths and weaknesses; together we have built factories, debugged technologies and trained pilots, engineers and technicians.

Besides, we are engaged in serial manufacturing of various classes of ships, the construction of India’s first domestically built aircraft carrier, the Vikrant. In India, we are also working on designing the new aircraft carrier Vishul. We are also engaged in serial manufacturing of various classes of ships.