- Russian President Vladimir Putin’s recent visit to New Delhi for the 21st India-Russia Summit meeting with Prime Minister Narendra Modi highlights the constant efforts by both leaders to nurture and to provide further impetus to the ‘India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership’.
- The resilience of both the countries is built on the firm foundation of strategic national interest and the synergy of geopolitics.
- In the post-Cold War era, while India has emerged as an economic powerhouse and a key stakeholder in today’s global debate be it climate change, international trade, or the menace of terrorism, Russia with its global status and presence presents a win-win situation for deeper cooperation.
- This relation between both countries has evolved with time, deepening the integration and widening the breadth of the relation.
Areas of Convergence
- Russia is the key and principal supplier of arms and armaments to the Indian armed forces accounting for over 60% of weapons.
- It comprises the whole gamut covering the Indian Army, Indian Air Force and Indian Navy.
- India recently inducted the S-400 Triumf missile systems.
- Sukhoi Su-30 fighter aircraft, T-90 tanks, and the Talwar and the Krivak class stealth frigates are key weapons in the armoury of the Indian armed forces.
- The India-Russia defence cooperation has evolved from a buyer-seller model to new areas of military-technical collaboration.
- The BrahMos missile system was a successful collaboration of joint research, development, and production.
- Science and technology, nuclear energy, and space have been key driving forces.
- “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” was signed by Russia in October 2000 that unlocked new opportunities in strategic, science and technology, space, energy, nuclear ties, trade and commerce, culture and a people-to-people connect and it was elevated to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership”.
- For smooth functioning of this strategic partnership, it was governed by an institutionalised dialogue mechanism involving key stakeholders at the political and official levels.
- The inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue between the Foreign and Defence Ministers of the two countries promises to provide new vitality to the special and privileged strategic partnership.
- Bilateral trade has seen the two countries progressing from defence and energy to IT, pharmaceuticals, agro-industries, mineral and metallurgy, fertilizers, and infrastructure projects.
- India-Russia trade was valued at the U.S.$10.11 billion in 2019–20.
Areas of divergence
- Changes in interests and capabilities are being fuelled by geopolitical differences which are widening the divergence between India and Russia.
- In terms of geostrategy, Russia is aligned with China and India is more anchored toward the United States which was apparent in the Indian and Russian approach over Afghanistan.
- Apart from convergence in defence, trade and investment, energy, and science and technology, India and Russia need to work together in a trilateral manner or using other flexible frameworks, particularly in Southeast Asia and Central Asia.
- Their growing collaboration can be a force of stability and will bring more diversity to the region while strengthening multilateralism.
Encourage youth exchanges
- The two countries also need to look at peoples’ power — youth exchanges as well as deeper links in various fields including sport, culture, spiritual and religious studies.
- In the new era of multipolarity and globalisation, it is of utmost importance for dependable partners to ensure enduring sensitivity to their mutual interests. The Modi-Putin meeting has sent the unambiguous signal to the world that the India-Russia partnership is an incredible friendship ensuring stability and diversity.