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India says future arms purchases to include technology transfer

NEW DELHI, May 28 (RIA Novosti) - India's defense minister said on Wednesday his country is no longer prepared to buy weapons from foreign companies unless deals include the transfer of technology, the ministry press service said.

India, which is a major weapons purchaser, is now set to develop military and technical cooperation only with countries prepared to develop partnerships in the joint development and production of military technology, A.K. Antony said.

The defense minister, who was attending the opening of the ILA-2008 Berlin Air Show, said "Companies that proactively search out industry partners in India will gain in our expanding market," adding that "as far as India is concerned, the era of purchasing just weapons themselves is over."

Russia is India's leading arms provider with annual contracts totaling around $1.5 billion trailed only by Israel with about $1 billion in sales.

In October 2007, Moscow and New Delhi signed a $1.6 billion contract for the supply of 40 Russian Su-30 fighter assembly sets to India by 2010 in addition to a deal on the licensed production of 140 Su-30MKIs in India, which was signed in December 2000.

The two countries are also involved in the joint production of BrahMos cruise missiles and have agreed to develop a fifth generation fighter.

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