Admiral Grigorovich class of frigate which is based on India's Talwar class

Sources said that the deal would allow India and Russia access to one another's military and naval bases. India is strategizing ties with its allies to gain control in the Indian Ocean Region

India is set to ink a defence logistics sharing agreement with Russia, almost five years after signing a similar pact with the United States.

The bilateral Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement is one of nearly 10 pacts India and Russia will sign during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

The agreement will create a framework for India and Russia to open up their military bases for each other’s army, navy and air force, sources in New Delhi said. It will allow India access to the military bases of Russia, including the naval port facilities in resource-rich Arctic Ocean, which is the new strategic frontier of China and its People’s Liberation Army Navy (PLAN).

It will also give the Russian Navy access to the Indian Navy bases in the Indian Ocean region, where India’s growing strategic convergence with the United States and its other partners in the Quad (Japan and Australia) to contain China has caused wrinkles in Delhi's ties with Moscow.

India signed a military logistics sharing agreement with the United States in 2016, followed by similar pacts with Australia and Japan as well as with France, Singapore and South Korea. It is also negotiating similar agreements with Vietnam and the United Kingdom.

The Modi-Putin summit will be preceded by a “2+2 dialogue” that Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will hold with their counterparts in the Russian government, Sergey Shoygu and Sergey Lavrov, in New Delhi.

The two sides are likely to formally give their nod to manufacturing over 500,000 AK-203 riles at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh by the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL), a special purpose joint venture by the erstwhile Ordnance Factory Board (now Advanced Weapons and Equipment India Limited and Munitions India Limited) of India and Rosoboronexport (RoE) and JSC Kalashnikov Concern of Russia. The 7.62 X 39 mm calibre AK-203 rifles will replace the Indian Army’s standard-issue INSAS rifles.

Uncertainty, however, looms large over the project to manufacture the KA-226T helicopters by the Indo-Russian Helicopters Limited (IRGL), a joint venture among the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited of India and the JSC Russian Helicopters and the JSC Rosoboronexport of Russia.

The 2015 intergovernmental deal had provisions of India importing 60 helicopters from Russia and manufacturing 200 more at the HAL’s plant at Tumkur in Karnataka. The two sides, however, could not yet narrow differences on cost and extent of indigenous content. Sources said that the 2+2 dialogue and the summit between Modi and Putin on Monday might result in progress in India buying some KA-226T choppers from Russia off-the-shelf to meet the immediate requirement of the light utility helicopters for its armed forces.

The summit between Modi and Putin is likely to result in agreements for giving a fillip to bilateral trade and expanding cooperation in science and technology-related fields, particularly in the space sector.