India-Russia 'Shared Trust, New Horizons'

Global Centre Stage

The deepening of India's defence partnership with Russia is important, and will go a long way in further boosting the ties between the two countries

The much anticipated first state visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Russia has been instrumental in adding strength to bilateral ties between the two countries.

During the annual summit talks, PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin underlined the need for the world to unite against terrorism 'without distinction and discrimination between terrorist groups and target countries.'

A Joint Statement titled 'Shared Trust, New Horizons' was released, accompanied by 16 agreements. The deals were signed on defence, hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, etc between the two governments, as well as a few between private enterprises.

Major Takeaways

• Anil Ambani's Reliance Group signed a $6 billion agreement with Russian manufacturer AlmazAntey to work jointly on a range of air defence missile and radar systems for the Indian defence forces and it also signed a deal with Russian United Shipbuilding Company for warships;

• Manufacturing of Kamov-226 T military attack helicopters in India, contributing to creating jobs, up-gradation of technology and bringing down the volume and value of defence imports;

• Site identified in Andhra Pradesh where six nuclear power plants will be constructed;

• Mining of hydrocarbons and trade in diamonds, of which Russia is the world's largest supplier and India the biggest processor, have been identified for enhancing bilateral cooperation;

• Collaboration in nuclear energy also witnessed a huge upsurge, with the decision to construct at least six additional nuclear reactors with Russian assistance over the next 20 years.

PM Narendra Modi described Russia as 'a strong and reliable friend,' while President Putin expressed his happiness about 'developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.'

The deepening of India's defence partnership with Russia is important, and will go a long way in further boosting the ties between the two countries. The significant aspect is that the defence partnership between India and Russia is in line with the 'Make in India' program. Several Russian companies from the public and private sectors have expressed their willingness to be a part of the Indian government initiatives, and are exploring investment opportunities in India in construction, infrastructure projects such as dedicated freight corridors and industrial clusters, smart cities, etc. Similarly, Indian companies are exploring investment options in Russia in coal, fertilisers, hydrocarbons, minerals, and rare earth metals.

India's membership of the Eurasian Economic Union, promoting connectivity with Russia and Central Asia through the International North South Transport Corridor as well as Chabahar seaport in Iran also featured prominently during the discussion between the two leaders. Both leaders expressed their determination to achieve the bilateral trade target of $30 billion by 2025. Currently, the trade figure stands at $10 billion. Putin expressed support for India's UN Security Council membership; Modi conveyed full understanding and support for Russia's action in Syria and Ukraine.

Fighting the Global Menace of Terrorism

While strongly condemning terrorism in all its forms, PM Modi and President Putin called for the elimination, once and for all, of all terrorists' 'safe havens.' Amid the complex and changing regional and global security environment, it is imperative to impart more energy and vitality into India-Russia relations.

PM Narendra Modi has invested a lot in India's foreign policy; his pragmatic, innovative and bold moves on the diplomatic front are making global headlines. A robust foreign policy is crucial; 2016 will see India playing host to President Putin twice. Let's hope for a renewed engagement and momentum in India-Russia ties.

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Diplomatist Magazine was launched in October of 1996 as the signature magazine of L.B. Associates (Pvt) Ltd, a contract publishing house based in Noida, a satellite town of New Delhi, India, the National Capital.