Defence cooperation is an important pillar of the India-Russia strategic partnership. It is guided by the Programme for Military Technical Cooperation signed between the two countries which is valid, at present till 2020. It enshrines the interest of the two governments to further develop and strengthen the military and technical cooperation in the sphere of research and development, production and after sales support of armament systems and various military equipment. The two sides also have periodic exchanges of armed forces personnel and military exercises.
India and Russia have an institutionalized structure to oversee the complete range of issues of military technical cooperation. The India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), set up in 2000, is at the apex of this structure. The two Defence Ministers meet annually, alternately in Russia and India, to discuss and review the status of ongoing projects and other issues of military technical cooperation. There are two Working Groups and seven Sub-Groups under the IRIGC-MTC, which review and discuss an array of military technical issues. In 2008, a high level committee called the High Level Monitoring Committee (HLMC) was set up with Defence Secretary from the Ministry of Defence of the Republic of India and Director of Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation (FSMTC) from the Russian Federation as its co-chairs.
Bilateral projects currently underway include indigenous production of T-90 tanks and Su-30-MKI aircraft, supply of MiG-29-K aircraft and Kamov-31 and Mi-17 helicopters, upgrade of MiG-29 aircraft and supply of Multi-Barrel Rocket Launcher Smerch.
Over the years, cooperation in the military technical sphere has evolved from a purely buyer-seller relationship to joint research, design development and production of state of the art military platforms. Production of the Brahmos cruise missile is an example of this trend. The two countries are also engaged in joint design and development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and Multi-Role Transport Aircraft.
Joint exercises between the two Armed Forces are held under the title "INDRA". In the year 2014, Joint exercises of Army, Navy and the Air force were conducted. Joint exercises for the year 2015 for all the three services are under consideration.