India and Russia did not discuss the BMP-3 infantry vehicle program during a Dec. 24 visit here by Russian President Vladimir Putin with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, despite the program being on the agenda, said Indian Defence Ministry sources.
Russian teams for the past two months have discussed the BMP-3 program with Indian Defence Ministry officials. The Russians have offered their advanced BMP-3 vehicles as an alternative for India’s indigenous $11 billion FutureInfantry Combat Vehicle (FICV) project.
The FICV has yet to take off, four years after it was conceived, and the Indian Army wants to replace its aging BMP-1 and BMP-2 infantry combat vehicles.
The big ticket BMP-3 program has not been shelved and is likely to be taken up later between the two countries, added the sources.
The FICV project envisages producing 2,600 combat vehicles to replace the Russian-made BMP-1 and BMP-2 vehicles at a cost of over $11 billion. The FICV project will be in the “Make India” category, under which only the domestic automobile companies will be able to compete. The shortlisted company or consortium will develop the prototype of the FICV on its own while the Indian government will fund 80 percent of the cost. Thereafter, production will be done in India by the winner.
While the details of the Russian BMP-3 proposal are not known, it is based on the joint production theme, added the source
Russia has already signed joint production agreements with India on fifth-generation fighter aircraft and multirole transport aircraft programs. This is in addition to the license-production of SU 30MKI aircraft and T-90 tanks at Indian facilities.