Medvedev says armed forces need upgrading to tackle challenges

Moscow is pursuing a pragmatic foreign policy that rules out being dragged into a costly arms race, President Dmitry Medvedev has said.

­Russia’s polices are aimed at protecting national interests and the security of its citizens. Those policies will not allow the country to be pulled into an arms race with other countries, the president stressed at a meeting of an extended Defense Ministry’s board on Friday.

Medvedev highlighted the new START treaty with the United States, which sets parameters for the reduction of the strategic offensive arms for the next decade. The treaty is one of the key factors of guaranteeing international security, but not the only one, Itar-Tass quoted him as saying.

The current international situation and lingering threats to Russia, including hotbeds of instability along its borders demand that the country modernizes its armed forces. Medvedev noted that two years ago, he set off on a task to modernize the army, and “since then we have advanced in tackling this issue.” The armed forces have obtained “a new structure and the system of military planning.” The training and support systems have been overhauled as well.

But the military still have a lot to do so as the structure and weaponry meet modern standards. Medvedev put forward three tasks for the modernization project: new armaments, new quality of troops’ management and the new status of officers.

The state will allocate “an unprecedented sum of about 20 trillion rubles” for a new armament program, the president said. By 2020, the share of modern weapons should reach at least 70%.  The plans should be implemented as efficiently as possible, Medvedev said.

Speaking about the placement of state’s orders for weapons, he stressed the need to balance the interests of contracting and executing parties. Such orders should guarantee proper profits for the military and industrial enterprises. But, on the other hand, they should develop new technologies and their prices should be “transparent and clear.”

The major efficiency consideration for such enterprises is their capacity to fulfill the state armament program, the president warned. It will be linked closely to another program, aimed at developing the military and industrial sector itself.

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