India and World – Russia

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India and World – Russia



  • India had strong ties during the days of the Soviet Union
  • 1971: Treaty of peace, friendship and cooperation
  • Strong defence ties
  • After the breakup of the SU, when Boris Yelstein came into power, he showed little interest in continuing the ideology based special relationship of the Soviet times.
    • Hence, relations and cooperation during this period plummeted
  • When Putin came into power, he revived the relations.

Soviet Days

  • India was heavily dependent on the erstwhile Soviet Union economically as well as politically
  • Trade turnover between the two countries had risen to Rs 8000 crores (that time prices) by 1990
  • India’s exports to USSR stood at more than 16% of Indian exports
  • Imports from USSR constituted 6% of the country’s gross imports
  • Soviet assistance accounted for the building of key sectors of Indian economy
  • At one stage Soviet contribution accounted for
    • 36% of the metal production in India
    • 32% of the oil produced
    • 47% of the power generating equipment
    • 43% of mining equipment
  • At the time of its disintegration, Soviet was the source of about 70% of India’s defence supplies
  • Economic
    • Soviet provided credit to India without conditionalities
    • India could repay loans by exporting commodities
    • Soviet exported India heavy industrial products in exchange for consumer goods
  • Political
    • SU had been extending support to India by using veto in its favour on the Kashmir question
    • sided with it when the Sino-Indian border dispute arose
    • Countered American Seventh Fleet in the Bay of Bengal in 1971
    • Supplied India sophisticated weapons and weapon technology
    • Trained Indian personnel for setting up production facilities in the country
    • India, on its part, refused to condemn SU when it invaded non-aligned Afghanistan

Post Soviet changes in India’s foreign policy

  • India lost a major destination for export and economic assistance
  • India had a major shift in its foreign policy: Look East, increased cooperation with US
  • India became a nuclear power. This altered India’s position at the world stage
  • There has been a rightward tendency in India’s foreign policy
  • Nehruvian consensus is perhaps not the basis of India’s foreign policy now
    • <Nehruvian consensus consisted of three pillars: socialism, secularism and India’s leadership of the non-aligned world>
  • India’s principle of non-alignment has lost its old sway
  • Increased strategic cooperation with US
    • Indo-US nuclear deal
  • Move towards a balanced relationship with major powers and a durable and equitable multilateral global order
  • India’s foreign policy now has a strong multilateral aspect
  • Thanks to its growing economic status, India has come to acquire a key role for addressing the challenges to the revival of global economy
  • India’s stand on issues related to climate change, nuclear proliferation and global terrorism has demonstrated that it has the ability even to take a stand that is independent of the major powers

Present Ties

  • Declaration of Strategic Partnership, 2000
  • The two countries have expanded defence cooperation
  • Political contacts have been revived through the mechanism of annual bilateral summits
  • India companies have gained a foothold in Russia in the energy sector with ONGC-VL acquiring a stake in Sakhalin oil and gasfield. It has also bought a Russian oil company, Imperial Energy
  • They have setup multilateral forums
    • The Russia-India-China (RIC) and BRIC

Defence ties

  • During Soviet days SU was the largest supplier of defence equipments to India for several decades
  • Russia still remains a large supplier of defence equipment to India
    • Skohoi
    • Mig
    • Admiral Gorshkov (INS Vikramaditya)
  • But the relationship has now expanded to include joint R&D, training, service to service contacts, including joint exercise
  • Inter-Governmental Commission on military-technical cooperation
  • Joint ventures
    • Fifth General Fighter Aircraft
    • Multirole transport aircraft
    • Brahmos
    • Sukhoi Su-30MKI (to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
    • Ilyushin/HAL Tachtical Transport Aircraft
    • T-50 stealth fighter
  • The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is jointly operated by India and Russia
  • There have been some recent issues in defence cooperation though
    • In May 2011, Russia cancelled joint army and naval exercises with India allegedly in response to the elimination of Mikoyan MiG-35 from the Indian ICRA competition

Nuclear cooperation

  • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project
  • Negotiations for setting up units 3&4 at Kudankulam
  • Atomstroyexport, a subsidiary of the State-owned nuclear company Rosatom, is building two 1000 MW reactors in Kudankulam in collaboration with NPCIL
    • Atomstroyexport handles international nuclear project of Rosatom
  • Inter-governmental agreement on cooperation in the field of use of Atomic Energy for peaceful purposes
  • Russia supports India’s candidatures to all export control regimes, including the NSG
  • In June 2011, they signed a MoU on Russian cooperation in India’s ‘Global Centre for Nuclear Energy’ initiative <this centre is to be set up in Haryana>


  • Under the aegis of the Inter Governmental Agreement signed in 2004, Russia and India cooperated in the Chandrayan-1 project
  • Involved in the joint development of Chandrayan-2
  • Human Space Flight Project
  • Youthsat was jointly developed by Indian-Russian students
  • Indian access to the Russian GLONASS navigation system

Economic cooperation

  • USD 8.5 bn in 2010
    • India’s imports: USD 6.4 bn
    • India’s exports: USD 2.1 bn
  • Target to increase bilateral trade to USD 20 bn by 2015
  • Indo Russian Forum on Trade and Investment

Energy Sector

  • In 2001, OVL acquired 20% stake in Sakhalin-I oil and gas project
  • Gazprom and GAIL have collaborated in joint development of a block in the Bay of Bengal
  • Nuclear energy <already discussed>

Science and Technology

  • Cooperation through the Integrated Long-Term Programme of Cooperation
  • Development of SARAS duet aircraft, semiconductor products, supercomputers, poly-vaccines etc

North South Transport Corridor

  • The route is expected to reduce the cost of movement of goods between India and Russia and beyond

International Issues Cooperation

  • Russia supports India’s bid for permanent UN seat
  • India set to become a member of the Russia-China led SCO
  • Cooperation in anti-terrorism

Cultural Cooperation

  • Strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia
  • Close cooperation between universities
  • 2008: Year of Russia in India
  • 2009: Year of India in Russia


  • Economic ties are still too weak
  • Bilateral trade is near $10 bn but it is only a fraction of each country’s trade with China
    • India-Russia have promised to expand the two-way trade to $20 bn by 2015.
  • India has been becoming closer to the US
  • Russia has responded to India’s tilt towards US by exploring options in Pakistan
    • In 2009, a meeting was held of what has come to be known as the Dushanbe Four: Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Russia and Tajikistan

Medvedev’s visit to India (December 2010)

  • 30 agreements signed
  • Civil Nuclear
    • Setting up two more reactors at Kudankulam (Tirunelveli) postponed on the liability issue
    • Russian reactor are due to come up at Haripur in West Bengal, besides Kudankulam
    • Cooperation in joint research and development in reactor technology
  • Defence
    • First ever collaboration in producing a next generation fighter aircraft. Contract for the preliminary design of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft signed between Hindustan Aeronautics Limited and Russia’s Rosoboronexport and Sukhoi. This is the biggest defence programme in India’s history and involves production of 200-250 aircraft. The aircraft would be called Perspective Multi-role Fighter (PMF)
  • Hydrocarbons
    • MoU between Sistema, a telecom-petro giant with rights over two lucrative hydrocarbon fields, and ONGC Videsh
  • Space
    • India to get access to the Russian satellite constellation, the Global Navigation Satellite System
  • Trade
    • CECA to be signed to push bilateral trade to $20 bn by 2015


Russia-India-China Trilateral

  • Foreign ministers level meeting
  • The importance of the trilateral initiative can be attributed to the fact that India, Russia and China, as countries with growing international influence, can make substantive contributions to global peace, security and stability. It is increasingly felt that cooperation rather than confrontation should govern approaches to regional and global affairs.
  • The three countries together encompass approximately 40 per cent of the world’s 6.5 billion people. There is no military angle to this tie-up and it is aimed at promoting international harmony and facilitating mutual cooperation in a multi-polar world. As India, China, and Russia enjoy economic growth and development never before seen in their history, they appear to have a lot to contribute to each other’s growth and become a force to reckon with on the international scene.
  • Vladimir Putin, the prime minister of Russia, has been pressing for a multi-polar world. Russia believes that multilateral diplomacy based on international law should manage regional and global relations. In his famous Munich speech, Putin had said that a “unipolar world had failed to materialise and the new international system has not one but several leading actors and their collective leadership is needed to manage global relations.” He further said that this multi-polarity encourages a network of diplomacy as the best way for states to achieve their shared objectives.
  • India is of the view that trilateral cooperation would help in contributing to peace and development in the region and in the world at large. Russia too is of the opinion that as the three countries uphold the concept of a multi-polar world and frequently take similar stands at multilateral bodies, they could utilise the synergy to promote their domestic economic development.
  • China has been articulating the view that the three countries could join hands in several fields, including trade, energy, and science and technology to broaden strategic ties with each other. In this context, the trilateral meeting assumes significance because the forum of foreign ministers could be useful to chalk out a concrete road map for future cooperation.
  • The trilateral is not a pipedream or rhetoric. It has the potential to promote and facilitate regional security and stability and also provides a good platform for bilateral meetings on its sidelines. On the issue of terrorism, which afflicts all three countries, they can effectively and meaningfully collaborate and cooperate. They can also work together in disaster mitigation and management.



Russia and Chechnya

  • Chechnya declared independence in 1991
  • First Chechen War lasted from 1994-96
    • Russian forces were unable to regain control
  • Chechen Republic of Ichkeria was established after this
  • Second Chechen War (1999-2009)
    • Russia was successful in installing a pro-Moscow Chechen regime


Skolkova Initiative

  • The Skolkova initiative is part of Russia’s attempt to develop a robust national innovation system and a knowledge based economy.


12th Indo-Russia Summit (December 2011)

  • Decided to move forward with the units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam
  • Exceptional soft loan terms for the reactor
  • S&T centre with offices in Delhi and Moscow
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