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I am author of the books Political Internet(Routledge, 2017), Intimate Speakers ( Fingerprint! 2017), has finished the typescript of three books—first, on Internet and sexuality; second, on the negative impacts of social media; and third, a novel—and is presently working on a narrative non-fiction with the working title Lovescape: Why India is afraid of love.

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Friday, November 26, 2010

Indo-Russia Relations

India-Russian relations refers to the bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Russian Federation. During the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union enjoyed strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relationship. After the collapse of the USSR, India improved its relations with the West but it continued its close relations with Russia. India is the second largest market for Russian arms industry. In 2004, more than 70% on Indian Military's hardware came from Russia, making Russia the chief supplier of arms.[1] India has an embassy in Moscow and 2 Consulates-General (in Saint Petersburg and Vladivostok). Russia has an embassy in New Delhi and 3 Consulates-General (in Chennai, Kolkata, Mumbai). Since 2000 and the visit of Vladimir Putin in India there have been an Indo-Russian Strategic Partnership. There is an Inter-Governmental commission on military-technical cooperation co-chaired by the two Defence Ministers.


India and Russia have several major joint military programs such as

Additionally, India has purchased/leased several military hardware from Russia:


Russia's MiG-35 is competing in the Indian MRCA Competition and is considered to be the front-runner for the winning bid, given India's already, largely Russian-built air force. The Farkhor Air Base in Tajikistan is currently jointly operated by India and Russia.

Economic relations-Bilateral trade turnover is modest and stood at US $ 3 bn in 2006-07, out of which Indian Exports to Russia were valued at US $ 908 mn. Main Indian exports to Russia are pharmaceuticals; tea, coffee & spices; apparel & clothing; edible preparations; and engineering goods. Main Indian imports from Russia are iron and steel; fertilizers; non-ferrous metals; paper products; coal, coke & briquettes; cereals; and rubber. Indo-Russian trade is expected to reach US$10 billion by 2010.There are India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC) which has had 13 sessions so far and is co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister from the Indian side and a Deputy Prime Minister from the Russian side. There are six Joint Working Groups [WG] under the IRIGC, namely, WG on Trade and Economy [trade and financial matters], WG on Energy [oil and gas, thermal and hydel power, non-conventional energy], WG on Metallurgy and Mining [steel, non-ferrous metal, coal], WG on Science & Technology; WG on Communication and Information Technology; and WG on Culture and Tourism. The 13th of the IRIGC was held in Moscow on 12 October 2007.The two countries have set-up India-Russia Forum on Trade and Investment at the level of the two Commerce Ministers to promote trade, investment and economic cooperation. The first Forum was held in New Delhi on 12-13 February 2007 which was attended by the Minister of Commerce and Industry and the Russian Minister of Economic Development and Trade, apart from a large number of business representatives from both sides. The Minister of Commerce & Industry, Shri Kamal Nath participated in the 11th Saint Petersburg International Economic Forum on 9-10 June 2007.In February 2006, India and Russia also set-up a Joint Study Group to examine ways to increase trade to US $ 10 bn by 2010 and to study feasibility of a Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA).

Cooperation in the Energy sectorEnergy sector is an important area in Indo-Russian bilateral relations. In 2001, ONGC-Videsh Limited acquired 20% stake in the Sakhalin-I oil and gas project in the Russian Federation, and has invested about US $ 1.7 billion in the project. The Russian company Gazprom and Gas Authority of India Ltd. have collaborated in joint development of a block in the Bay of Bengal. Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project with two units of 1000 MW each is a good example of Indo-Russian nuclear energy cooperation. Both sides have expressed interest in expanding cooperation in the energy sector.In December 2008, Russia and India signed an agreement to build civilian nuclear reactors in India during a visit by the Russian president to New Delhi.

Space Cooperation -Space is another key sector of cooperation between the two countries. During President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India in December 2004, two space-related bilateral agreements were signed viz. Inter-Governmental umbrella Agreement on cooperation in the outer space for peaceful purposes and the Inter Space Agency Agreement on cooperation in the Russian satellite navigation system “GLONASS”. Subsequently a number of follow-up agreements on GLONASS have been signed. In November 2007, the two countries have signed an agreement on joint lunar exploration. These space cooperation programmes are under implementation.

Science and TechnologyThe ongoing cooperation in the field of science & technology, under the Integrated Long-Term Programme of cooperation (ILTP) is the largest cooperation programme in this sphere for both India and Russia. ILTP is coordinated by the Department of Science and Technology from the Indian side and by the Russian Academy of Sciences and and Technology from the Russian side. Development of SARAS Duet aircraft, semiconductor products, super computers, poly-vaccines, laser science and technology, seismology, high-purity materials, software & IT and Ayurveda have been some of the priority areas of co-operation under the ILTP. Under this programme, eight joint Indo- Russian centers have been established to focus on joint research and development work. Two other Joint Centres on Non-ferrous Metals and Accelerators and Lasers are being set up in India. A Joint Technology Centre based in Moscow to bring cutting edge technologies to the market is also under processing. An ILTP Joint Council met in Moscow on 11-12 October 2007 to review cooperation and give it further direction. In August 2007, an MoU was signed between Department of Science and Technology and Russian Foundation of Basic Research, Moscow to pursue scientific cooperation.

North-South Transport corridor-The “North-South” Transport Corridor Agreement [INSTC] has been ratified by all the three original signatory states, viz. India, Iran and Russia, and has come into force since 16th May, 2002. This route is expected to reduce the cost of movement of goods between India and Russia and beyond. The 3rd Coordination Council Meeting of the INSTC was held in October 2005 in New Delhi and the 4th meeting was held in Aktau, Kazakhstan in October 2007 to discuss further streamlining the operation of the corridor.

Cooperation in the sphere of Culture-India-Russia relations in the field of culture are historical. Five Chairs relating to Indology have been established in Moscow, Saint Petersburg, Kazan and Vladivostok. Days of Russian Culture were held in India in November 2003, in Delhi, Kolkata and Mumbai. “Days of Indian Culture” in Russia were organized from September- October 2005 in Russia. 130th birth anniversary of Nikolai Roerich and 100th birth anniversary of Svyatoslav Roerich were celebrated in India in October 2004. Chief Minister of National Capital Territory of Delhi led a delegation for participating in the event “Days of Delhi in Moscow” from 28 May-01 June 2006. The “Year of Russia in India” is being held in 2008. It will be followed by the “Year of India in Russia” in 2009. There is a Hindi Department, in the University of Moscow.

Terrorism-On international terrorism, India and Russia agree that there is no justification for terrorism, and this must be fought against, without compromise and wherever it exists. Russia has supported the Indian draft at the UN on Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism [CCIT]. The two sides signed a MoU on cooperation in combating terrorism in December 2002. A Joint Working Group on Combating International Terrorism meets from time to time and its fourth meeting was held in Delhi on 24th October 2006.

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