The Hindu : News / National : India closest in defence ties with Russia: Putin â€œTechnological problems in T-50 have all been solvedâ€ Russia has closer defence ties with India than with any other country, said Prime Minister Vladimir Putin. â€œAs far as joint [defence] projects are concerned, we have advanced farther with India than with any other country, including China,â€ Mr. Putin said, citing the Brahmos supersonic cruise missile, the Akula class nuclear submarine leased to India, the multi-role transport aircraft and the 5th-generation fighter plane. â€œThe nuclear submarine should have set sail to India the other day. We are very actively working with them [Indians] on the transport plane. They have joined us full swing in the work for the Perspective Aviation Complex for Frontline Aviation (PAK-FA), T-50,â€ Mr. Putin said at a meeting with Russian security and defence experts on Friday at the Sarov nuclear centre. Mr. Putin dwelt at length on progress in building the 5th-generation plane. â€œIt is now clear that we will have the fifth-generation aircraft. Two, or even three, planes are already up in the air, and more planes will join them this year. Technological problems have all been solved; it is quite obvious that we'll make the aircraft and make it quite fast. We needed a partner to bring down the final cost of the plane; they [Indians] will buy it in large numbers. The T-50 is shaping to be superior to the American 5th-generation plane.â€ Mr. Putin was responding to a suggestion from a defence analyst to â€œengage activelyâ€ with India, China, Iran and other countries, and to pursue issue-specific alliances to uphold Russia's security interests. â€œWe're engaging India full thrust, we're, in fact, doing it all as you say,â€ replied Mr. Putin, who is almost certain to reclaim Russian presidency in the March 4 elections.