Russia to double its ballistic missiles production from 2013

Last Updated: Wed, Apr 20, 2011 16:50 hrs

Moscow, April 20 (IANS) Russia will double its production of ballistic missiles from 2013, Prime Minister Vladimir Putin said Wednesday in his annual address to the Russian parliament - his last before legislative elections later this year and presidential elections early next year.

'The armed forces will receive new strategic and tactical missile systems, such as RS-24 Yars, Bulava and Iskander M,' Putin said.

Speaking to defence sector officials in Siberia in March, Putin had said Russia would invest 77 billion rubles ($2.6 billion) in the production of ballistic missiles in line with a state programme on the defense sector modernisation until 2020.

Stressing on the need to strengthen Russia's defence capability, modernise and upgrade weapons, including in the Navy and the Air Force, Putin durin his address outlined the blueprint for a stronger Russia.

Setting out an array of far-reaching goals, he said, they should see Russia emerge as one of the 'top five global economies' within the next 10 years.

'In the modern world - if you are weak - there will always be someone who wants to come and advise you on what direction you must move in, what policies to pursue and the path you should choose for your own country,' RIA Novosti reported Putin as saying, adding: 'We must be independent and strong.'

He said Russia needed to be strong and avoid experiments with 'unjustified liberalism' to safeguard its sovereignty and prevent outsiders from dictating the country's development.

Putin, who, some analysts believe, will bid to return to the Kremlin in 2012 and succeed his successor President Dmitry Medvedev, made it clear that he had a clear vision about Russia's future.

Presenting a glowing picture of his government's performance in 2010, he said: 'The country needs a decade of stable, calm development, without going to extremes one way or the other, without ill-conceived experiments, confusion over sometimes unjustified liberalism or social demagogy.'

Referring to a policy centerpiece of President Medvedev's administration - innovation - Putin said that acquisition of modern technology and know-how from abroad was useful up to a point.

Stressing investment at home would be decisive for Russia's development goals, Putin said the level of foreign direct investment in Russia should increase to $60-70 billion 'in the foreseeable future'.

Russia has emerged from the global financial crisis in far better shape than most countries and will completely offset economic crisis-related losses by the start of 2012, before moving on to new achievements, Putin said.

'In 2010, Russia's GDP grew four percent - the highest rate in the G8. This year's forecast is around 4.2 percent,' he said.

On social peace, Putin, said it was essential to secure peace inside the country and prevent any attempts to split Russian society.

On defence, Putin also said upgrading the air force and air defence systems would be a priority in the development of the Russian armed forces in near future.