India will be gifting three MiG-21 fighter jets to Russia during the upcoming India-Russia bilateral summit in New Delhi this week.
“Three MiG-21s are scheduled to be handed over to Russians based on a request from their Defence Minister to our Defence Minister. They comprise one Type 75 aircraft and two Type 77 aircraft,” the Hindu news daily reported quoting unnamed official source as saying last Saturday.
The aircraft will also get new registration numbers, and may be adopted for vintage flight. However, it is not clear how the Russians intend to use them, the news daily reported.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in New Delhi on October 4 and 5 for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The aircraft to be gifted are in flight-worthy condition and the cost of crating and transportation will be borne by the Russians, another official said.
This will be major symbolic gesture to showcase the all-weather friendship and deep strategic partnership between India and Russia, which has been put to test in recent times due to changing geopolitical conditions.