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Decision on India-Russia fifth generation fighter aircraft 'in near future'

 Moscow, July 19 (IANS): India and Russia have concluded the first stage of negotiations on developing a fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) and would sign the contract documents on the ambitious project "in the near future", an official from Russian state-firm Rostec has said.

Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Rostec Corporation, to a question about the negotiations, said the progress was slow as the project and its negotiations are very "complicated".

"As for the fifth generation, the work is underway. Stage one of negotiations is over. Now, we are discussing the second stage," Chemezov said, on the sidelines of 13th International Aerospace Show MAKS.

"I think that in the near future, all decisions will be made. And the contract documents will be signed," he said.

India and Russia had inked an inter-governmental pact for the FGFA project in 2007.

In December 2010, India had agreed to pay $295 million towards the preliminary design of the fighter, also referred to as the 'Perspective Multi-role Fighter' (PMF).

However, negotiations faced various hurdles in the subsequent years.

The two sides hope to sign a detailed agreement on the design and development soon, though a deadline was not given.

While the slow pace of progress has been a concern, the discussions have been going in a positive direction, according to officials on both sides.

Chemezov, however, said there were delays as the project is "complicated".

"The work is going, it is very complicated, so it is not going fast," Chemezov said. "The only country for India, which without any restrictions transfers all technologies, is Russia," he added.

Asked about other ongoing projects between India and Russia, he said: "We have an enterprise that has been working for a long time producing cruise missiles BrahMos. They are already completely localised today... This is one of the first projects that we implemented in India, as well as the T90, Su-30MKI. That is a fairly large number of projects -- some have already been implemented, some are being implemented."

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