By Vladimir Khromov
Mr. Lukashenko noted, “We have a great many questions to discuss regarding the defence industry of Russia and the military-industrial complex of Belarus; issues need to be solved.”
He noted that much time was spent discussing such issues at his last meeting with the President of Russia in Sochi, adding, “I’d like to discuss our strategy of co-operation seriously, taking into account our existing liaisons and mutual work. Most importantly, I’d like to find concrete solutions to specific issues, to guide us in future.”
Mr. Lukashenko suggested that Mr. Rogozin learn about opportunities in the Belarusian military-industrial complex, noting, “In truth, we have a ‘common’ army so should have a common defence sphere; you know all that is happening around the world and the threats which exist.” Mr. Rogozin stressed the good dynamics of Belarusian-Russian military co-operation, saying, “Indeed, this year, we’ve come a long way in finding new paths of strategic partnership.”
The Russian Deputy Prime Minister stressed the importance of combining the potential of Belarus and Russia in the military-technical sphere, explaining, “We don’t simply aim to trade ready-made products but wish to combine our intellectual potential and industrial abilities. Our existing strategic partnership can be taken to a new level of industrial capitalisation.”
Mr. Rogozin noted that the President of Russia, Vladimir Putin, has launched a huge state arms programme with the aim not just of strengthening defence of Russia and its allies, but to inspire further industrialisation. He added, “No one can afford to be weak in this world. Of course, weakness is determined not only by a lack of weapons and military equipment but by market conditions. True protection lies in powerful industrial potential. In this sphere, we see great possibilities in the co-operation of the Russian Federation and the Republic of Belarus.” The President of Belarus confirmed this assessment, saying Belarus felt similarly regarding security.
Following the Minsk meeting, a working group is to continue discussing the best path to military-industrial co-operation. Mr. Rogozin notes that the Russian military industry is interested in close co-operation with Belarusian military-industrial enterprises, as well as with Integral and MAZ. “Industrial co-operation between the enterprises of our two countries is connected not only by acquisition of assets, purchase of shares and other transactions. Co-operation may also preserve between enterprises which preserve their independence and have different forms of property,” he said.
Belarus and Russia have now signed a programme of measures to strengthen co-operation between their military-industrial enterprises from 2012-2015. The First Deputy Prime Minister, Vladimir Semashko, is confident that this joint action plan will promote integration of military-industrial complexes of Belarus and Russia.