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Russian Air Chief talks to top Indian defence officials

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New Delhi (Nov. 17, 2014): Russian Air Force Chief Colonel Gen Viktor Nikolaevich Bondarev today held talks with top Indian defence officials after arriving here on three-day visit to India.

During his stay, he will visit the Su-30 warplane squadron, which was last week cleared for flying after being grounded for a month following a crash.

Bondarev called on Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar and met with Indian Air Force Chief Air Marshal Arup Raha and Army Chief Gen Dalbir Singh.

His visit coincides with the arrival of an 18-member Russian Air Force team at Air Force Station Halwara in Punjab to participate in Phase II of the Indo-Russian bilateral exercise "Aviva Indra".

Some of the major procurement contracts signed with Russia for IAF in the last decade have been intermediate jet trainer plane engines, Mi-17 V5 and Medium Lift Helicopters (MLH), besides that for MiG-29 aircraft upgrades.

Contracts for joint production of Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Multirole Transport Aircraft have also been signed.

The Russian Air Force Chief will be going to the National Defence Academy followed by a visit to the Su-30 plane squadron.

He is also scheduled to visit the Air Force Academy (AFA) at Hyderabad to get a first-hand account of the training being carried out on the PC-7 Simulator and the Virtual Tower Simulator. He would also be interacting with instructors and trainees at AFA.

This visit aims to enhance air force to air force ties between the two countries, an official statement said, adding it also coincides with bilateral exercise.

Phase I of the exercise was held at Russia for two weeks during August-September this year. The Russian delegation is headed by Major General Alexander N Lyapkin and consists of fighter and helicopter aircrew as well as air defence personnel, among others.

The Russian team will be in India till November 28. During the exercise, Russian aircrew would be flying the Su-30 MKI planes, Mi-17 and Mi-35 aircraft with the IAF. The joint exercise will further strengthen the relations between the two air forces taking forward India-Russia strategic partnership, the statement said.