India and Russia will review military-technical cooperation during Arun Jaitley's visit. (File photo)
Defence Minister Arun Jaitley on Tuesday left for a three-day visit to Moscow to further strengthen bilateral ties between India and Russia, with defence and security co-operation taking the top slot on the agenda.
Mr Jaitley's visit to Moscow comes nearly three weeks after Prime Minister Narendra Modi
and Russian President Vladimir Putin decided to "upgrade and intensify" defence ties through joint manufacture and co-production of key military hardware, during their annual summit talks at St Petersburg.
Mr Jaitley will co-chair the 17th meeting of the India-Russia
Inter Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation with his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu on June 23.
"The meeting will review the entire range of military and military-technical cooperation issues between India and Russia within the framework of the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries," the Defence Ministry said in a statement.
Mr Jaitley will co-chair the first meeting of the India-Russia High Level Committee on Science and Technology with the Deputy Prime Minister of Russia Dmitry Rogozin, on Wednesday.
This is a newly established committee to discuss cooperation in high technologies.
The meeting will be held on the sidelines of the Technoprom Exhibition in the city of Novosibirsk. The Defence Minister will also address the main plenary session of the Technoprom, which is a major annual science, technology and innovation exhibition of that country.
Russia has been one of India's key suppliers of arms and ammunition. However, it has been a long-standing grievance of armed forces that supply of critical spares and equipment from Russia takes a long time affecting maintenance of military systems procured from that country.
In March, Mr Jaitley had argued Russia should adopt a liberal approach in sharing technology for components of major defence platforms as it was critical to keep them in operational readiness as most of India's weapon systems are of Russian-origin.
A vision document, issued after the talks between Prime Minister Modi and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin in St Petersburg, said both the countries decided to work towards a "qualitatively higher level of military-to-military cooperation".