- This year marks the sixty-fifth anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India-Russia.
- India was the host to this year’s 13th India-Russia annual summit.
- Russia is a valued friend of India.
- India-Russia reviewed the ongoing developments in Afghanistan, and agreed to work together against threats posed by extremist ideologies and drug trafficking.
- India-Russia also discussed the situation in West Asia, and agreed to continue consultations.
- New Delhi’s increasing preference for Western suppliers has been worrying Moscow for a long time, especially after Boeing’s Apache helicopter was picked last month over Russia’s MiL plant for a major contract. India is also unhappy with the delays in deliveries of some naval equipment, especially the aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which is being refurbished for the Indian Navy at Russia’s Sevmash naval yard. This was originally expected to be delivered in August 2008 and has now been pushed to the end of 2013. The carrier’s price has more than doubled to $2.3 billion.
- India-Russia moved to strengthen their economic ties by inking a pact on a Kremlin-backed $2 billion investment fund.
- Both countries agreed to open talks on a Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement that will also involve Belarus and Kazakhstan.
- The details of the military contracts are as under:
- India to procure 42 new Su-30 MKI combat aircraft and 71 Mi-17V5 medium-lift helicopters.
- The contracts for acquiring these weapon systems were signed during the 13th India-Russia Annual Summit in New Delhi.
- With this contract, the number of Su-30MKIs in the IAF would go up to 272 in next four to five years with 170 of them already at present in the force.
- In the contract worth around $2.2 billion for licence production of 42 Su-30MKIs, Russia will deliver technical kits to the Hindustan Aeronautics Limited to assemble them here. These multi-role frontline aircraft could also be equipped with Indo-Russian joint venture BrahMos (Indo-Russia joint venture to produce supersonic cruise missiles. Name of the venture: ‘Brah’ from Brahmputra river of India and ‘Mos’ from Moskva river of Russia) supersonic cruise missiles.
- Under the contract for 71 Mi-17V5 choppers, 59 of the machines would be given to the IAF while the remaining 12 would be used by paramilitary forces in their anti-Naxal operations.
- On the positive side, despite the setback suffered after the Supreme Court cancelled all 2G licences, Sistema indicated its faith in the country with GLONASS, its sister company, signing two agreements in the satellite segment. India has already signed the military side of the contract with GLONASS, a constellation of 34 satellites, last year.
- India-Russia also agreed to take the first steps towards operating a “ranging station” that will help accurately fix the location of satellites. A military side agreement on receiving precision signals from GLONASS was signed last year, following active interest shown by National Security Advisor Shiv Shankar Menon.
- India-Russia also resolved to further extend their partnership in the energy sector, which has moved beyond investment (Sakhalin-I) to direct trade (Gazprom-Gail) and is now seemingly set for joint investment in downstream and upstream sectors. India put its interest areas on the table — equity participation through ONGC-OVL in existing and new projects in Siberia, Russia’s Far East and the Arctic Shelf besides interest in acquiring equity stake in discovered or producing assets and in proposed Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) projects in Russia.
India-Russia ‘Issues of Discord’
- Delay in commissioning aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov (The former Soviet aircraft carrier Admiral Gorshkov, which has been procured by India, and renamed INS Vikramaditya is estimated to enter service in the Indian Navy in 2013).
- Stalemate on clinical trials in Russia.
- Applicability of the Nuclear Limited Liability Act on six new reactors to be put up by Russia at Kudankulam.
- Inability of Russian companies Sistema and Severstal to move ahead with their investment plans in India and the tax imposed on Imperial Energy, an Indian company operating in Russia.
- Russia is a key partner in our efforts to modernise our armed forces. A number of joint design, development and production projects are underway in high technology areas.
- The development of our nuclear energy programme has been a key pillar of our strategic partnership. Construction of Unit-1 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is now complete, and power generation will commence shortly. We look forward to the completion of Unit 2 next year. Negotiations for the construction of Units 3 and 4 at Kudankulam have made good progress.
- India-Russia have multi-faceted bilateral cooperation, especially in energy, defence, space, trade and investment, science and technology, education, culture and tourism. The documents signed during this visit will further strengthen the framework for our cooperation.
- India-Russia bilateral trade has grown by over 30% this year. There is still untapped potential in areas such as pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, mining, steel, information technology, civil aviation, telecommunications, infrastructure, food processing, innovation and services, which we will work to exploit.
- India-Russia share the objective of a stable, united, democratic and prosperous Afghanistan, free from extremism, terrorism and external interference.
- India-Russia also discussed regional and global issues, on many of which there is a marked congruence in our approach.
- India-Russia consultations in international forums, such as the UN Security Council and BRICS, have deepened during the year.
- Operationalisation of the India-Russia Joint Science and Technology Centres in India-Russia, which can assist the development and commercialization of promising technologies, including in Nano-technology, bio-medicine and super-computing. Particularly welcome the agreement on cooperation in using the GLONASS satellite navigation system that has just been signed.