India-Russia Bilateral Relations

INDIA-RUSSIA BILATERAL RELATIONS

To prepare for INTERNATIONAL RELATIONS  for any competitive exam, aspirants have to know BILATERAL RELATIONS WITH DEVELOPED COUNTRIESHere we will study about India-Russia Bilateral Relations. It gives an idea of all the important topics for the IAS Exam and the Governance syllabus (GS-II.). India-Russia Bilateral Relations terms are important from Governance perspectives in the UPSC exam. IAS aspirants should thoroughly understand their meaning and application, as questions can be asked from this static portion of the IAS Syllabus in both the UPSC Prelims and the UPSC Mains exams. Even these topics are also highly linked with current affairs. Almost every question asked from them is related to current events. So, apart from standard textbooks, you should rely on newspapers and news analyses as well for these sections.

 

Basics and Background
  • Russia has been a longstanding and time-tested partner for India.
  • The development of India-Russia relations has been a key pillar of India’s foreign policy.
  • India and Russia have enjoyed good relations since 1947 wherein Russia helped India in attaining its goal of economic self-sufficiency through investment in areas of heavy machine-building, mining, energy production and steel plants.
  • Later India and the Soviet Union signed the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in August 1971 which was the manifestation of shared goals of the two nations as well as a blueprint for the strengthening of regional and global peace and security.
  • After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India and Russia entered into a new Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation in January 1993 and a bilateral Military-Technical Cooperation agreement in 1994.
  • Since the signing of the “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000 (during the visit of President Putin), India-Russia ties have acquired a qualitatively new character with enhanced levels of cooperation in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship including political, security, defence, trade and economy, science and technology, and culture.
  • Under the Strategic Partnership, several institutionalized dialogue mechanisms operate at both political and official levels to ensure regular interaction and follow up on cooperation activities.
  • During the visit of the Russian President to India in December 2010, the Strategic Partnership was elevated to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.”
  • Russia assumed the BRICS Presidency in April 2015, and since then, it has been organizing a number of events and meetings under the BRICS format.

 

Political
  • New Delhi needs Moscow’s support in the former’s bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council
  • The Russians have backed the Indian position on Kashmir
  • India and Russia are engaged in several multilateral efforts that are greatly favoured by Russia such as the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.
  • Annual Summit meeting is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism under the Strategic Partnership.

 

International/Multilateral Organizations and Connectivity Projects

BRICS

  • Under the chairmanship of South Africa, EAMs attended the 2nd BRICS Foreign Ministers meeting in Pretoria on 4th June 2018.
  • NSA participated in the meeting of BRICS National Security Advisors from 28- 29th June 2019 in Durban.
  • PM participated in the BRICS summit in Johannesburg in July 2018 where he also met President Putin on the side lines.

 

SCO

  • Chief Justice visited Sochi from June 17-19 2019, for the 14th Meeting of Chief Justices of SCO and held bilateral meeting with Chief Justice of Supreme Court of Russia.
  • India participated for the first time ever in the Fifth Edition of the biennial Joint Military Counter-Terrorist Command and Staff Exercise ‘Peace Mission’ at Chebarkul (Chelyabinsk Region), from 22 Aug to 29 Aug 2018.

 

NSG

  • Russia has been a long standing supporter of India’s membership of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
  • This support was also reflected in the Joint Statement adopted during President Putin’s visit to New Delhi in October for the 19th Annual Bilateral Summit.

 

UNSC

  • In the recently adopted Joint Statement during the 19th Bilateral Summit, India & Russia reaffirmed the need to reform the UN Security Council to better reflect the current world order and make it more effective in dealing with emerging global challenges.
  • Russia reiterated its unwavering support to India for Permanent Membership in an expanded UNSC.

 

Trade and Economic Relations
  • Intensifying the trade and economic relations has been identified as a priority area by the leaders on both the sides as is clear by the revised targets of increasing bilateral investment to US $ 50 billion and bilateral trade to US $ 30 billion by 2025.
  • Recently India and Russia decided to institutionalize the CEO’s Forum and agreed to liberalize business travel which will help boost bilateral trade
  • Russia sees India – one of the fastest growing economies in the world – as a country that could alleviate Russia’s economic problems.
  • Make in India initiative would welcome Russian companies from the public and private sectors
  • Russian firms have shown a willingness to invest in India in construction, major infrastructure projects such as dedicated freight corridors and industrial clusters, smart cities, and engineering services, sharing technologies and skills.
  • Indian companies are exploring major investment options in Russia, especially in natural resources such as coal, fertilizers, hydrocarbons, minerals, and rare earth metals
  • In the aftermath of general economic slowdown and Russia’s ongoing dispute with the West over Ukraine issue, Russia has emphasized on import substitution due to which, there has been a significant reduction in Russia’s external trade.
  • India has also been affected by this contraction in Russian exports and imports.

 

Import During 2018

  • Minerals
  • Precious Stones & Metals
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, etc
  • Electrical machinery
  • Fertilizers

 

Exports During 2017-18

  • Pharmaceuticals
  • Electrical Machinery
  • Nuclear reactors, boilers, etc.
  • Organic Chemicals
  • Vehicles other than railway and tramway rolling stock

 

International North South Transport Corridor

 

  • India, Iran and Russia had in September 2000 signed the INSTC agreement to build a corridor to provide the shortest multi-model transportation route linking the Indian Ocean and the Persian Gulf to the Caspian Sea via Iran and St Petersburg.
  • From St Petersburg, North Europe is within easy reach via the Russian Federation.
  • The estimated capacity of the corridor is 20-30 million tones of goods per year.
  • The route primarily involvesmoving freight from India, Iran, Azerbaijan and Russia via ship, rail and road. The objective of the corridor is to increase trade connectivity between major cities such as Mumbai, Moscow, Tehran, Baku, Bandar Abbas, Astrakhan, Bandar Anzali and etc.
  • INSTC will not only help cut down on costs and time taken for transfer of goods from India to Russia and Europe via Iran but also provide an alternative connectivity initiative to countries in the Eurasian region. It will be India’s second corridor after the Chabahar Port to access resource rich Central Asia and its market.

 

Energy Ties

  • According to the International Energy Agency, India will cross Japan as the world’s third largest oil user this year, and is expected to have the highest rate of growth of crude demand globally through 2040.
  • The Russia-India investments in the oil and gas sector and exports to third countries need to be energised.
  • Russia is an important partner in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and it recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record.
  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is being built in India with Russian cooperation.
  • DAE signed a trilateral MoU on cooperation in the implementation of the Rooppur NPP construction project in Bangladesh along with the Ministry of Science and Technology of Bangladesh and Rosatom.

 

Defence Ties

  • India’s defence ties with the erstwhile Soviet Union and later with Russia were a major pillar of bilateral ties.
  • India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a buyer – seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems.
  • BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation.
  • Indian government recently announced the purchase of five S-400 supersonic air defence systems from Russia, costing around $6 billion, despite threats of sanctions by US under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

 

Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA)

  • It is a USA Act which aims to counter the aggression by Iran, Russia and North Korea through punitive measures.
  • Under the Act, the Department of State has notified almost all major 39 Russian entities from defence and intelligence sector, dealings with which could make third parties liable to sanctions.

 

  • Two sides agreed that the Kamov 226 helicopter would be manufactured in India.
  • Recent defence agreements have sent a strong message that New Delhi continues to view relations with Moscow an indispensable element of India’s foreign policy
  • India and Russia agreed to strengthen the defence partnership in line with the “Make in India” program.
  • The two countries also hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually.
  • The first-ever Tri-Services exercise –‘INDRA 2017’ took place in Vladivostok from October 19 to 29, 2017.
  • The bilateral Russian-Indian naval exercise Indra Navy-2018 was held in the Bay of Bengal. Joint Tri-Services Exercise ‘INDRA 2019’ between India and Russia was carried out simultaneously in Babina, Pune, and Goa from 8 10th -19th December 2019.
  • Representatives from the Armed Forces of the Republic of India and the Eastern Command of the Russian Federation participated in the exercises, to strengthen field, marine and flight skills as well as improve cooperation between Russia and India’s armed forces.
  • The new initiatives will encourage joint manufacturing of defence products in India and motivate the private sector in developing a strong defence manufacturing base in India
  • The boost to defence engagement will also help India contain the growing engagement between Russia and Pakistan.

Counter Terrorism

  • Counter terrorism is another area where both countries find a convergence of interest
  • Both countries strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms, stressing the need for an effective global effort in dealing with the terrorist menace.
  • They also called for the elimination, once and for all, of all terrorist “safe havens,” presumably referring to Pakistan.
  • India and Russia also share concerns about the aggravation of the security situation in Afghanistan, including along its borders.
  • India openly shared Russia’s concerns over developments in Syria
  • India’s stance on Syria will certainly help cement its ties with Russia countering the earlier feeling that India was not coming forward to support Russia in difficult times.

Science & Technology

  • The Working Group on Science and Technology functioning under IRIGC-TEC, the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) and the Basic Science Cooperation Programme are the three main institutional mechanisms for bilateral Science and Technology cooperation, while the Science Academies of the two countries promote inter academy exchanges.
  • A number of new initiatives in this sphere include India-Russia Bridge to Innovation, cooperation in telemedicine, creation of a Traditional Knowledge Digital Library (TKDL), GIAN, and the Russia-India Network (RIN) of Universities.

Space Cooperation

  • India-Russia cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of outer space dates back to about four decades.
  • 2015 marked the 40th anniversary of the launch of India’s first satellite “Aryabhatt” on a Russian (then USSR) launch vehicle ‘Soyuz.’
  • An agreement was signed between C-DAC and GLONASS for cooperation in technologies based on satellite navigation.

Cultural Cooperation

  • There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia.
  • Apart from Hindi, languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit and Pali are taught in Russian Institutions.
  • There is general interest among Russian people in Indian dance, music, yoga and ayurveda.
  • There are regular cultural initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts between India and Russia
  • The Embassy of India through the grant provided by the Ministry of Culture of the Republic of India conducted a six month long “Festival of India in Russia” from September 2018 to March 2019 in 22 cities with 34 performances by 10 groups, showcasing the best of Indian music, dance, food and spiritual traditions.
  • The President of India inaugurated the Year of Indian Culture ‘Namaste Russia’ in Moscow on 10 May 2015.

Tri-lateral relation between Russia-China-Pakistan and its impact on India

  • Russia’s growing affinity with Pakistan is bound to give rise to some ruffles between India and Russia. The rivalry between Pakistan and India only gets worse as the latter accuses the former of breaching international border norms.
  • Pakistan’s relationship with Moscow deteriorated during 1980s, when the former allied with the West to fight the Soviet in Afghanistan. The reason of their rivalry has yet again brought the two countries together, binding them with defence agreements.
  • The reason of their rivalry (Afghanistan) has yet again brought the two countries together, binding them with defence agreements.
  • In June 2014, Russia announced the lifting of its long-standing embargo on arms sales to Pakistan.
  • The problem for India, of course, is the strategic import of such moves by Russia. Then again, we must realise that our growing proximity to the U.S. reduces our leverage over Russia. As does Russia’s increasing tilt towards China. As always, a bit of history can be useful.
  • Russia leaning towards China to combat the pressure of the West might bring about certain changes in the power pattern in the South Asian region.
  • The common apprehension that India and Russia shared with regards to the long borders they shared with China seems to have lost its significance for Russia, as Russia expands its economic, political, and security ties with China.
  • It would be overrated to call Russia’s shift towards Pakistan a move taken by the country to bring India on track. The combination of secure Pakistan and China backed by Russia would mean a huge challenge to India’s position in the South Asian region. The allegation however, cannot be ignored either.
  • In a joint statement issued at the conclusion of the third meeting of Pak-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technical Cooperation in Moscow, both, Pakistan and Russia, hoped to collaborate in trade, economy, science, technology, agriculture, education, and culture.
  • The growing closeness between Russia and Pakistan is seen as a threat to India’s strategic defence moves.

India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue

  • The second India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was recently held in New Delhi.
  • The India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue (IRSED) was established by a bilateral Memorandum of Understanding between NITI Aayog and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation during the 19th edition of the Annual India-Russia Bilateral Summit in New Delhi.
  • The First India-Russia Strategic Economic Dialogue was held in Petersburg in 2018.
  • The Second meeting of the IRSED focussed on six core areas of cooperation:
  1. Development of Transport Infrastructure and Technologies
  2. Development of Agriculture and Agro-Processing sector
  3. Small and Medium Business support
  4. Digital Transformation and Frontier Technologies
  5. Cooperation in Trade, Banking, Finance, and Industry
  6. Tourism & Connectivity

Russian FAR EAST

  • The 20th India-Russia annual summit and the fifth meeting of the Eastern Economic Forum (EEF) were recently held in Vladivostok, Russia.
  • The focus of the visit was on the development of the Russian Far East for which India has extended a $1 billion line of credit.
  • The Eastern Economic Forum (EEF), established in 2015 aims to support the economic development of Russia’s Far East, and to expand international cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.
  • Among the participants in this fifth Summit were India, Malaysia, Japan, Australia, and South Korea.
  • Earlier, a proposal for maritime route between Chennai and Vladivostok has been made. It will bypass Europe, which would enable to transfer cargo between Chennai and Vladivostok in 24 days in comparison to over 40 days currently taken to transport goods from India to Far East Russia via Europe.
  • Also, recently, India and Russia have finalized roadmap for a government-to-government agreement for long-term import of crude oil by India from Russia’s Far East region.
  • The pact was part of five-year road map for cooperation in the hydrocarbons sector (2019-24).

Concern

  • The first concerns the rapidly expanding ties between India and USA, which started with the India-US nuclear deal in 2008.
  • The second concerns the growing defence relationship between India and USA. Russia’s share of Indian

defense imports fell from 79 percent between 2008-2012 to 62 percent between 2013-2017.

  • Russia’s decision to supply Pakistan with the Mi-35 Hind attack helicopters has alarmed the Indian defense establishment.
  • The Russia-Pakistan joint exercises raise many questions
  • India having its own military exercises with the U.S. and has signed logistics agreements which can eventually give the S. access to Indian naval bases.
  • Growing economic relations between Russia and China. Russia has also made efforts for strategic outreach towards China since Ukraine Crisis.
  • Russia-China Defence ties: Recently Russia has also sold Su-30 30MKK/MK2 fighters and especially the Su-35, S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles to China.
  • Russia had proposed a Russia-India-China (RIC) forum. India is hesitant about this because of the unresolved issues with China.

 

 

 

Russia-India-China (RIC)

  • The trilateral Russia-India-China meeting.
  • Conceived by the then Russian foreign minister in 1998, the trilateral grouping has met annually since 2002.
  • Together, the RIC countries occupy over 19 percent of the global landmass and contribute to over 33 percent of global GDP. All three are nuclear powers and two, Russia and China, are permanent members of the UN Security Council, while India aspires to be one.

Importance of RIC

Strategic

  • Despite differences India, China and Russia have converging interests in Eurasia, like, peace and stable Afghanistan. So, they could work together as part of the RIC to ensure stable peace in Afghanistan and by extension, in Central Asia.
  • Regular RIC interactions could also help the three countries identify other issues where they have congruent views like the volatile situation in the West Asia, particularly on issues like the sanctions on Iran.
  • RIC forms the core of both the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS. Also, Russia can act as bridge between India and China, as it enjoys strong relations with both.

Economic

  • The trio could also contribute to creating a new economic structure for the world, by pushing reforms in global economic governance and international economic cooperation.
  • With Russia being a major exporter of energy and India and China being major consumers, the three countries could discuss the creation of an Asian energy grid, which could go a long way in ensuring energy security for the region as well as allow these countries to determine prices suitable to them.

RIC stand on global issues

  • RIC countries emphasised on global issues like- reforms in UN, having Global Counter-Terrorism Strategy, commitment to address the world drug problem, Prevention of arms race in outer space
  • The RIC countries could work together on disaster relief and humanitarian assistance.
  • With the Northern Sea Route opening up due to climate change, the RIC has a common interest in ensuring that it is not left to the West and Russia alone and that India and China make the transition from rule followers to rule makers by helping formulate some of the rules governing the Arctic route.

Way Forward

  • India has to rebuild on its strengths and common concerns with the Russians.
  • Both have to revitalize their earlier agreement on sharing intelligence for a joint strategy on terrorism.
  • Indian and Russian anxieties on terrorism need to converge and bring about some positive outcome.
  • India needs to deepen its scientific and technological relations with Russia since a base for this already exists.
  • Needs focus is increasing trade and investment ties between India and Russia
  • There are enough reasons for India to remain deeply engaged with Russia as it may well become a key energy partner as our own energy demand increases and Russia looks for markets outside Europe.
  • India should pursue the proposed FTA with the EEU and seek to play a more active role in the SCO as a member.
  • The cordiality and mutual trust of the past may be leveraged to fashion a new relationship but they cannot substitute for a lack of substantive drivers in the relationship.
  • Reinventing Indo-Russian relations is an important task facing the political leadership of both countries, who must find ways to rejuvenate the confluence of political and strategic interests if the relationship must break out of its current shackles.
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