Russia and India strengthen strategic partnership

Wednesday, 2021-12-08 11:14:50
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Commencement of construction of a nuclear power plant in India, a project in cooperation with Russia. (Photo: The Financial Express)
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NDO - Russian President Vladimir Putin has just had high-level talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, during his visit to New Delhi. This is Putin's second foreign trip since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The two leaders affirmed that the time-honoured partnership between the two countries is a unique and reliable model of friendship between nations.

Prime Minister Modi highly lauded President Putin’s visit to India and emphasised that, despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, the growth pace of both countries’ relations has remained unchanged. The leader of the Indian government affirmed that the “special and privileged strategic partnership” between Russia and India is growing further.

Over the past few decades, the world has seen many radical changes and different geopolitical structures emerge, but the friendship between India and Russia has remained unchanged. President Putin affirmed that Russia considers India as “a great power, a friendly nation and a time-tested friend”.

The strategic partnership between Russia and India is strengthened, especially in the fields of energy and space, in the context that India is an important partner in the field of large arms for Russia. Despite the threat of US sanctions, India signed a missile purchase agreement worth 5.4 billion USD with Russia in 2018.

Bilateral trade increased steadily with investments in each other's markets. The two sides affirmed their strong relationship with a program for development of military-technical cooperation until 2031 and pledged to boost annual trade to 30 billion USD by 2025. As the largest vaccine producer in the world, India has also been licensed to produce Russia's Sputnik V vaccine against COVID-19.

During President Putin’s visit to India, Russia and India continued to sign a series of trade and arms deals, including one that allowed India to produce more than 600,000 Kalashnikov assault rifles. The Indian government has approved a plan to produce AK-203 rifles in India under the Indo-Russian joint venture Rifles Private Limited, to replace the INSAS rifles produced more than three decades ago.

This project reflects the deepening partnership between the two countries, and provides business opportunities for many micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs), and other defence companies, in order to supply raw materials and components, as well as create many new job opportunities.

The Russia-India Summit has been held annually since 2000, this year, the 2+2 dialogue mechanism, a meeting between the defence and foreign ministers of the two countries, was held on the eve of the summit. Through the signing of cooperation agreements, the two sides expressed their desire to engage strongly on many issues, from how to strengthen bilateral cooperation in trade, connectivity and energy, to issues of regional security such as the situation in Afghanistan, in the context of both Russia and India's concerns about the threat of cross-border terrorism and the complicated situation in Afghanistan.

The new defence commitment between India and Russia showed that the military cooperation between the two countries has constantly been developing and taking unprecedented steps. The Russian President’s visit to India comes amid increasingly tense relations between Russia and the United States, which is also a key ally of India. The US has expressed reservations about the close military ties between Moscow and New Delhi. India continues to insist that Russia is its major partner, even though a defence agreement with Moscow, including an agreement for Russia to supply S-400 air defence missile systems to India, could make New Delhi sanctioned by the US.

Along with the defence cooperation agreement, the two sides also pledged to continue promoting cooperation in a series of important fields, such as energy, creative innovation, space, COVID-19 prevention and control, vaccine production and medicine. It can be seen that the time-honoured Russia-India strategic partnership is growing stronger than ever.

Translated by NDO