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India and Russia: An “indispensable” partner

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India has clarified that Russia will remain an “indispensable” partner for India’s defence needs.  But at the same time, India stressed that the bilateral ties should adapt to changing times to address challenges. During the visit of Indian PM, India hailed that the India-Russia relations are marked by “abiding comfort with each other” and the warmth and goodwill between the people ensure that the strategic partnership will continue to grow in strength and relevance in the changing world. The joint statement, after the 14th annual series summit, specified that both sides “agreed to expeditiously finalise” the General Framework Agreement and the Techno-Commercial Offer for nuclear power reactor units 3 and 4. But the nuclear deal was not signed over liability provisions. It is to be referred that Russia was the first country with which India signed a Declaration of Strategic Partnership in 2000.

Indian PM has correctly emphasised that developments in Central and South-Central Asia are of relevance to the security of both Russia and India. As India revitalizes its historic links with Central Asia, therefore, it looks forward to working more closely with Russia in the region. Further, peace and stability in the Gulf and West Asia are in shared interest. For reasons of proximity, security, energy supplies and the livelihood of more than six million Indians living in a region which is also a major destination of exports, peace and stability in the region is particularly vital for India. India regards Russia as an important partner in shaping an inclusive, cooperative and rule-based regional security architecture in the Asia Pacific region, which is the focus of India’s Look East Policy. As the world becomes increasingly multi-polar and emerging economies grow in strength, cooperation between Russia and India in multilateral forums, including the Group of 20 and BRICS, will assume greater importance. We have converging interests in non-proliferation, cyber security and space security. We also appreciate Russia’s support for India’s membership of international export control regimes and permanent membership of UN Security Council. India and Russia have inked five agreements to collaborate in the areas of energy, education, science and technology and prisoner exchange policy.

The five MoUs were:

  • To facilitate the process of social rehabilitation of persons sentenced in the other country by providing them the opportunity to serve out their remaining sentences (under certain conditions) in their country.
  • To Cooperate in the field of energy-saving and efficiency through joint implementation of activities and projects by organisations/companies in smart grids, energy audits, energy efficient building designs, industrially efficient technologies, etc.
  • To facilitate closer technical cooperation in the field of standardisation (trade and commerce) through exchange of information, practices and expertise.
  • To cooperate in innovation and science and technology through implementation of joint programs and exchanges involving educational, research and development and industrial institutions mainly in the areas of sunrise’ sectors such as information technology, nano-technology, environmental sciences and alternate energy.
  • To broaden cooperation in biotech-