India has traditionally remained a reliable strategic partner of Russia and remembers the aid Moscow provided to India at its most difficult times in the past. That Development of Indo-Russian relations was a cornerstone of Indian foreign policy. India-Russia relations enjoy enhanced cooperation in almost every area of bilateral relations, including politics, security, defense, trade and economy, science and technology, and culture.
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Russians and Indians cherish and share values like friendship and loyalty, and this binds the people of the two countries, and particularly the members of their permanent bureaucracies, in ways that outside observers rarely realise. The special privileged strategic partnership between the two countries has become stronger and more diversified over time. In the defense sector, India has a long-standing and far-reaching cooperation with Russia. Military-technical cooperation between India and Russia has evolved from a buyer-seller framework to one that includes joint research, development and production advanced defense technologies and systems. BrahMos missile system and the licensed production of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks in India are examples of such flagship cooperation.
Key sectors of cooperation:
Both sides cooperate on the peaceful uses of space, including satellite launches, navigation systems, remote sensing and other societal uses of space. It is worth noting that Indian astronauts who will fly into space aboard an Indian spacecraft in 2024 received basic training in Russia, another enduring symbol of this Friendship India-Russia. In the field of peaceful uses of nuclear energy, Russia is an important partner for India. It recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology and an impeccable non-proliferation record. In December 2014, India’s DAE (Department of Atomic Energy) and Russia’s Rosatom signed the Strategic Vision on Strengthening Cooperation in the Peaceful Uses of Atomic Energy. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) will be built in India with Russian cooperation.
India and Russia shared close ties at the highest level for decades during the Soviet era. However, the tumult of the immediate post-Soviet years was also echoed in Indo-Russian relations as the newly formed Russian Federation attempted to rebuild its foreign policy. In the years immediately following the collapse of the Soviet Union, Boris Yeltsin took over the government a pro-Western foreign policy orientation. Meanwhile, it was time for India to liberalize its economy and look to the West for trade and investment. Both countries were therefore busy with domestic political priorities in adapting to a changed world order United States (USA) as sole superpower.
Despite this, India and Russia made efforts to revive their relations. In 1993 they signed a friendship and cooperation agreement, and a year later an agreement on military-technical cooperation followed. After a brief period from 1990 to 1993, when the volume of arms sales plummeted, India eventually became a leading importer of Russian arms.
However, there was no parallel revival of economic relations. In the 1990s, disputes continued over the rupee-ruble rate and the repayment of the amount owed by India. The downturn of the Russian economy, alongside competition from other rapidly developing nations, as well as the opaqueness of the laws in the post-Soviet state, all contributed to the decline in India’s share of Russian trade. Until 1996, Russia’s trade with India accounted for only 1 percent of Russia’s total trade.
The cultural and interpersonal contacts that had flourished during the Soviet period – sustained by significant financial resources and grants for regular exchanges – also declined. The number of institutions in India teaching Russian decreased, as did the number of students enrolled in these courses.
At the beginning of the year renewed efforts were made to strengthen bilateral relations Vladimir Putin’s presidency in 2000, when the annual summits between India and Russia were introduced. The year 2010 marks a decade of “Declaration on Strategic Partnership‘ Between the two countries, the joint statement announced that the relationship has reached ‘the level of a special and privileged strategic partnership.’
India’s position on the recent conflict:
- In the context of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine conflict, the West has criticized India’s balanced position in line with its own politics of multilateralismRussia has shown understanding for India’s position in the ongoing crisis. Russia’s newly appointed ambassador to India, Denis Alipov, recently said that India has a “fairly balanced position” on the Russia-Ukraine conflict. He added that the current situation will not affect Russian-Indian cooperation in the military-technical sphere.
- In the pharmaceutical sector, Indian companies could fill the gap created by Western manufacturers. The Russian ambassador pledged increased cooperation with India on the supply of hydrocarbons and said that if New Delhi showed interest, Moscow was ready to study the possibility closely Selling its S-500 system to India.
- Given the historical strategic ties between the two countries and against the background of the Russia’s “military special operation” in Ukraine, interaction with India assumes significant importance for Russia. Moscow considers the political dialogue with India to be essential at this stage; while recognizing that with the expansion of Western sanctions, economic cooperation with India has become all the more important. Therefore, the visit of Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov to India must be viewed not only in the light of ongoing operations, but also in the light of the vision of both countries to build long-term and strategically important cooperation. The relationship between India and Russia has a unique strength that has shown time and again that it follows its own logic and is immune to pressure from third countries.
How the approach should be:
The process of Restoring the multidimensional relationship it is a long time ago; it has also had to contend with the geopolitical and geoeconomic shifts on both a regional and global scale. This required both countries to overcome the old romance of Indian-Soviet Relations and get involved on a pragmatic level. Today there is no denying the mutual trust and friendship between the two countries. However, divergences in the two nations’ goals have recently deepened, fueled by bilateral and international factors – and have the potential to profoundly influence the future of India-Russia relations.
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