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About India-Russia Bilateral Meeting


Summary: India’s External Affairs Minister undertook a recent visit to Russia, resulting in crucial bilateral agreements. The focus areas of collaboration encompassed nuclear power, medicines, pharmaceutical substances, and medical devices. This diplomatic engagement reflects the strengthening ties between the two nations across diverse sectors.


GS II: International Relations

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Highlights of India-Russia Bilateral Meeting
  2. Indo-Russia Relations: A Historical Overview
  3. Significance of Russia for India: A Multifaceted Partnership

Key Highlights of India-Russia Bilateral Meeting

Strategic Collaboration:

  • Emphasis on strategic collaboration in defense, space exploration, nuclear energy, and technology sharing.
  • Reflects the robustness of the longstanding partnership and explores avenues for deeper cooperation.

Economic Cooperation:

  • Agreement to expand exports of Russian hydrocarbons to the Indian market.
  • Cooperation in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Far East Cooperation:

  • Finalization of the program of cooperation in the Far East.
  • Decision to hold an early meeting of EaEU-India FTA negotiations.

Nuclear Power Agreements:

  • Signing of agreements to advance future units of the Kudankulam nuclear power project in Tamil Nadu.
  • Operation of two Russian-built nuclear plants in India, with four more under construction in Kudankulam.
  • Expected full capacity operation of the Kudankulam NPP in 2027.

Multilateral Forums:

  • Discussion on multilateral forums and international organizations.
  • Collaboration and common interests in forums like BRICS, SCO, and UN affairs.

Indo-Russia Relations: A Historical Overview

Cold War Era:

  • Strong strategic, military, economic, and diplomatic ties during the Cold War.
  • Shared Special Strategic Relation after the Dissolution of the Soviet Union.

Recent Challenges:

  • Steep downfall in recent years, exacerbated by Russia’s close relations with China and Pakistan.
  • Geopolitical issues affecting Indo-Russia relations.

Bilateral Trade:

  • Total bilateral trade at ~USD 13 Billion in 2021-22 and USD 8.14 Billion in 2020-21.
  • Russia is India’s seventh-largest trading partner.

Military Cooperation:

  • Regular Tri-Services exercise ‘INDRA.’
  • Joint military programs include BrahMos cruise missile, 5th generation fighter jet, and Sukhoi Su-30MKI programs.
  • Acquisition of military hardware like S-400 Triumf, Kamov Ka-226, T-90S Bhishma, and INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier.

Science & Technology Collaboration:

  • Key role of science & technology in bilateral partnership, especially in India’s early days after independence.
  • Soviet assistance crucial for establishing Bhilai Steel Plant, IIT Bombay, and India’s space program.
  • Ongoing collaboration in basic sciences, materials science, mathematics, and advanced areas like Gaganyaan, nanotechnologies, and quantum computing.

Significance of Russia for India: A Multifaceted Partnership

Diplomatic Role:

  • Russia’s role in defusing tensions between India and China during the eastern Ladakh border standoff.
  • Trilateral meetings involving Russia, India, and China to address regional challenges.

Economic Engagement:

  • Traditional cooperation in weapons, hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, and diamonds.
  • Emerging sectors include mining, agro-industrial, and high technology (robotics, nanotech, and biotech).
  • India’s expanding footprint in the Russian Far East and the Arctic.

Global Collaboration:

  • Cooperation on Afghanistan to address regional challenges.
  • Advocacy for India’s permanent membership in a reformed UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.

Arms and Defense:

  • Historical significance as India’s largest arms supplier.
  • A declining share in recent years, falling from 64% to 45% in arms imports, as per SIPRI’s Trends in International Arms Transfers 2022 report.

-Source: The Hindu

March 2024