Source Pravda.Ru

Indian Defense Minister in Uzbekistan

A high level Indian delegation led by Defense Minister George Fernandes is arriving on official three day visit to Uzbekistan February 27 late night by special Boeing army flight. February 28, Mr. Fernandes will receive keys of six IL-78 feeder aircrafts worth 150 million US $ ordered by Indian government. Since independence this is the first time when Uzbekistan is receiving this type of delegation and selling aircrafts to the Government of India.

As per the reliable sources from the Tashkent Aircraft Building Plant named after CHKALOV six "ILIYUSHIN-78" aircrafts have been assembled for India on the basis of agreement signed in late 2001.It may be mentioned here that this type of aircraft can be refueled in the air. IL-78 was designed by the Iliyushin design bureau in 1983 on the basis of strategic operational military cargo aircraft IL 76 MD. The industrial production of IL-76 was began at Chkalov in 1984 and till 1999 Tashkent has commenced 40 aircrafts Il-78and IL-78M.The aircrafts are now included in the Russian and Ukraine airforce.

Sources added that officials from the Indian Ministry of Defense who arrived month earlier to Tashkent already inspected all the booked six aircrafts and found them ready for use.

Mr. Fernandes during his three days visit in Uzbekistan will call on President of Uzbekistan Mr. Islam karimov including the Prime Minister, Foreign Minister and his Uzbek colleague the Defense Minister. Among other members of the official delegation are Secretary of Defense, Joint Defense Secretary& Vice of the Air Force chief's. The delegation will also visit to Samarkand and Bukhara.

Aloke Shekhar Special to PRAVDA.Ru