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    Indonesia's navy chief of staff will start an official visit to Russia on Wednesday to discuss bilateral military-technical cooperation.

    JAKARTA, October 21 (RIA Novosti) - Indonesia's navy chief of staff will start an official visit to Russia on Wednesday to discuss bilateral military-technical cooperation.

    "The main purpose of my visit is to study Russia's shipbuilding capacity, both in terms of surface ships and submarines," Fleet Admiral Tedjo Edhy Purdijatno said Tuesday on the eve of his visit to Moscow.

    Jakarta became a major weapons customer for Russia eight years ago when the United States slapped an arms embargo on the country over alleged human rights violations.

    Washington has since lifted the ban, but Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, continues to turn to Russia for its military hardware imports.

    In the fall of 2007, then Russian president Vladimir Putin reached an agreement with Indonesia's leadership on a $1 billion Russian loan for Indonesia to buy 22 helicopters, 20 tanks and two Kilo-class attack submarines from Russia. In addition, Jakarta said it would buy six Sukhoi aircraft worth a total of $335 million.

    In late August, 2008, Russia's state-run arms exporter Rosoboronexport and the Indonesian Defense Ministry had signed a $40 million contract for the delivery of 20 BMP-3F infantry fighting vehicles, to be made in 2010.

    Indonesia is also negotiating a deal to buy Russian amphibious tanks.

    "In addition, the Indonesian navy would like to make a separate purchase of Russian-made Yahont anti-ship missiles, which I hope will happen in the near future," Purdijatno said.

    The admiral stressed the importance of strengthening military ties with Russia including in the sphere of naval cooperation.

    "Our navies have developed good relations, but we would like to strengthen these ties with joint naval exercises and sending our naval personnel to study in Russia," he said.

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