Druzbha-Dosti Strengthening Friendship
The Joint Statement (Druzhba-Dosti) issued during the visit of President Putin for the Summit was in the backdrop of Prime Minister Modi reassuring President Putin that Russia will stay India’s top defence partner.
Talking to the Indian media before his recent visit to India, President Vladimir Putin remembered his previous visits to India particularly in October 2000 when both countries signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership. He mentioned his meetings with Prime Minister Modi in Brazil and Australia and felt confident to further develop the bilateral relationship with serious preparatory work done during past sessions of the Inter-Governmental Commis- sion on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation and the Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment held on November 5, 2014, at New Delhi; joint projects for construction of nuclear power plants, promoting Russian Sukhoi Superjet-100 and MS-21 aircraft, introduction of GLONASS system in Indian economic sector and Russian priorities to build butyl rubber plant, helicopter manufacturing, creating smart cities, assembling industrial tractors, etc. He stressed
importance of military, technical and nuclear energy cooperation, adding that the 20-year agreement between Gazprom Group and India’s GAIL caters for 2.5 million tonnes natural gas every year commencing 2017. He pointed out that Kudankulam is the world’s only plant which meets all the post-Fukushima safety requirements. He emphasised possibilities in the development of high-technology areas of cooperation, namely nuclear energy, military and technical cooperation, space research, aircraft and automobile production, pharmaceuticals industry, chemical industry, information technologies and nanotechnologies.
President Putin’s visit to India was the sixth as Russian President, this time to attend the 15th Annual India-Russian Summit. His meeting and discussions with Prime Minister Modi and others were on wide-ranging issues in cordial and friendly environment. The Annual India-Russia Summits are at the apex of an elaborate multilayered mechanism for bilateral interaction, one of the largest India had with any other country in the world. The other key institutional mechanism for high-level dialogue between the two countries are an Intergovernmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation, co-chaired by the two Defence Ministers; and an Intergovernmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation, the other one being India-Russia Trade & Investment Forum.
The Joint Statement (Druzhba-Dosti) issued during visit of President Putin for the Summit was in the backdrop of Prime Minister Modi reassuring President Putin that Russia will stay India’s top defence partner. The main issues highlighted in the Joint Statement comprised: Energy—bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, including oil and gas, electric power production, nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency. Indian companies to participate in projects related to oil and gas in Russia. Joint study to examine possibility of Russia-India hydrocarbon pipeline system and participation in petrochemical projects in each other’s country and in third countries. Cooperation in nuclear energy for serial construction of nuclear power units using Russian design and expand cooperation in science and technology, industry, localisation of equipment and spares, uranium mining, fabrication and supply of nuclear fuel, management of spent fuel and in other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle.
Towards this objective, the Indian side agreed to expeditiously identify a second site, Energy efficiency agencies of both sides to engage more closely to exchange experiences and best practices including development and efficient use of renewable energy; Technology and Innovation—developing knowledge-economy powered by technology and innovation by increasing collaboration in joint design, development, manufacturing and marketing of technologydriven products and scientific interaction in particular space applications, defence technologies, aviation, new materials, communications and information technology. In 2015, commemorate 40 years of the launch of Indian satellite Aryabhata using Soyuz launch vehicle. Expand defence cooperation increasingly based on joint R&D, joint manufacturing, technology sharing and collaborative research in futuristic technologies, in accordance with existing agreements on military-technical cooperation. Enrich bilateral interaction through regular joint military exercises, training in each other’s services institutions and institutionalised consultations between armed forces.
Intensify bilateral scientific and technological interaction to increasingly focus on innovative, high-technology sectors and their commercial applications, support mechanisms and collaboration to include areas like environmental science, power sector (including alternative sources of energy), energy efficiency and energy security, information and communication technologies, nanotechnology and new materials, engineer science, bio-energy, nano-biotechnology, bio-equipment and affordable diagnosing equipment for health care and agriculture. Cooperative activities to address Arctic issues by the Arctic Council, given that Russia is a member and India has joined as an observer in May 2013. Enhance cooperation in rare earth minerals’ mining, technology development and research; Economic Engagement—Promote bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation to contribute to the enhanced role of emerging markets in the world economy and to foster sustainable, balanced and inclusive global growth. Russian companies to utilise the opportunities in a wide range of Indian sectors and Make in India. Encourage payments in national currencies for bilateral trade. Joint Study Group to explore the feasibility of a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement covering trade in goods, services, investment cooperation, movement of natural persons and mutual recognition of standards, is of great importance for bilateral economic cooperation.
Promoting Russian investments in India in major infrastructure projects like DMIC, smart cities and freight corridors, as well as in broader sectors like telecom, power and roads. In Russia, Indian participation in industrial parks and technology platforms, in sectors like pharmaceuticals, fertilisers, coal and energy will be encouraged. Direct investment fund of $2 billion between Rosnano and suitable Indian investment partners for implementation of high-tech projects. Agreement to finalise shortly a protocol on a Green Corridor project. Promote strengthening of bilateral inter-regional cooperation. Encourage further linkages between other regions and cities of the two countries with a view to enhance trade and investment, tourism, cultural and people-to-people contacts. Enhance bilateral trade setting target of $30 billion by the year 2025. It is expected that the level of mutual investments by then will be over $15 billion each way; Global Order and World Peace – cooperation to promote a polycentric and democratic world order based on shared interests of all countries.
Cooperation in democratisation of global political, economic, financial and social institutions, and jointly opposing economic sanctions that do not have the approval of UN Security Council. Cooperation for UNSC expansion reflecting contemporary realities and effectively dealing with emerging challenges. Consult and coordinate with each other in multilateral fora such as G-20, EAS, BRICS and RIC with Russia looking forward India becoming full SCO member. Both sides support open, balanced and inclusive security architecture in the Asia-Pacific region based on collective efforts, considering legitimate interests of all states and in accordance with international law. Agreement that threat to all humanity posed by terrorism justifies a collaborative approach, in accordance with international law and the Charter of the United Nations, putting aside differences and tensions between countries and regions in other political and economic areas – agreed to work together for the adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism by the 70th Anniversary Summit of the UN. Welcomed peaceful transition of political authority in Afghanistan and called upon the international community to join efforts to support reconstruction and economic development in that country and to continue capacity building of its national security forces. Cooperation in preventing proliferation of weapons of mass destruction.
Russia confirmed its support to India for full membership in the Nuclear Suppliers Group, of MTCR and Wassenaar Arrangement. Cooperation for peaceful use of outer space; people-to-people ties— promote and support cultural exchanges through annual festivals of culture, exchanges between cultural institutions, think tanks, tourism promotion events and other initiatives. Strengthen education ties including partnerships between universities and early conclusion of agreements on mutual recognition of education, qualification and degrees. Enhance sport cooperation through exchanges between
sports federations, scientific and research institutions, promote physical training and sports and direct contacts between organisations of the two countries including cooperation to promote Yoga and Ayurveda; Bilateral Perspectives—discussions and bilateral dialogue have given the leaders the confidence that objective political, economic, security and cultural factors will propel India-Russia partnership to a level that meets the aspirations of their people.
President Putin’s visit has given a boost to Indo-Russian ties. Reuters reports among other things that Rosatom will build 12 nuclear reactors in India, oil major Rosneft signed a 10-year crude supply deal with Essar Oil and India agreed to assemble 400 Russian multi-role helicopters a year. While the signing the ‘vision’ document setting out a road map for cooperation in the sphere of nuclear power, Putin said Russia could eventually supply India with 20 nuclear reactors. Indian officials said a total of six reactors will be built at Kudankulam and a further six will follow at a site to be determined. Other strategic deals covered oil supply, infrastructure and an increase in direct diamond sales to India by Russian state monopoly Alrosa. A $1 billion joint venture to support hydro-electric power projects in India has also been agreed. Earlier in March 2014, India had concluded a contract with Rosoboronexport of Russia for procurement of 42,000 rounds of fully formed AMK 339 tank ammunition. Besides this, the Ordnance Factory Board, Kolkata has entered into ‘transfer of technology’ contract with the same Russian company for indigenous manufacture of AMK 339 tanks rounds.
The US was quick to criticise by saying that this was not the time to do ‘business as usual’ because of Russia’s aggressiveness in Ukraine. This was only expected after the deliberate snub given to President Putin during the G-20 Summit in Australia by US and its allies. As regards criticising India for ‘business as usual’, the US needs to look at its own record for continuing to do much more than business as usual with a country like Pakistan that has been sponsoring terrorism in India and Afghanistan for over past three decades, and even ignoring blatant nuclear proliferation of that country. For India, Russia has always been a reliable strategic partner albeit and how can we forget the actions by the Russian Navy during 1971 while the US positioned USS Enterprise in the Bay of Bengal and wanted to enter the Arabian Sea as well but the arrival of Russian submarines forced the issue. Yes there have been hiccups in Indo-Russian relations in recent years; costs and time delays, Russia critical of India going for the Rafael and Apaches, India critical of Mi-35s to Pakistan and the like. But then, hiccups in bilateral relationships are globally across the board. Media is also raising question marks on the future of two major Indo-Russian pacts – multi-role transport aircraft agreement signed in November 2007 and fifth-generation fighter aircraft signed in October 2007. There is no reason to believe that these projects will not come through besides Russia is also a level player in the defence sector of India which is open under Prime Minister Modi’s call of Make in India and relaxation of FDI limit relaxed to 49 per cent, and even beyond 49 per cent for selective projects. The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the best of its kind in the world and hallmark of Indo-Russian joint ventures. In any event, the Indo-Russian strategic partnership is important to both countries and should be expected to grow speedily.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the President of the Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin at the joint press conference
in New Delhi on December 11, 2014
The BrahMos supersonic cruise missile is the best of its kind in the world and hallmark of Indo-Russian joint ventures