Thursday, October 8, 2009


During the Cold War, India and the Soviet Union enjoyed a 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.

Both countries signed the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971, in which the dominant aspect was the emphasis on security clauses. As a consequence, India benefited from the FSU’s support to its covert and later overt role in the creation of Bangladesh in 1971. On its part, India remained supportive of FSU’s policies throughout the Cold War era, especially the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan in 1979.
A major breakthrough was achieved when the Russian President, Vladimir Putin, paid an official visit to India in October 2000. Both countries signed a ‘Declaration on Strategic Partnership’, and ten agreements covering various aspects of bilateral relations. The Declaration spelt out in detail the long-term nature of Indo-Russian relations in all aspects of mutual cooperation, like political, defence, economic and trade, science and technological and cultural spheres.  Also, the Joint Statement issued at the conclusion of the bilateral talks affirmed Indian and Russian positions on various bilateral, regional and international issues. The Putin visit was reciprocated by that of the Indian Prime Minister, Atal Behari Vajpayee, to Russia in November 2001. In the second visit of President Putin to India in December 2002, both countries signed a ‘Declaration on Further Consolidation of Strategic Partnership’ between them. These visits have resulted in the signing of numerous agreements encompassing political, defense, economic, legal, and cultural aspects of their relations.

Defence relations between India and the Russian Federation have a historical perspective. Russia has been an important supplier of defense goods for several decades. Today, the cooperation is not limited to a buyer-seller relationship but includes joint research and development, training, service to service contacts, including joint exercises. India is the second largest market for Russian arms industry.

India and Russia have several major joint military programs such as those mentioned below:
§                     BrahMos cruise missile program
§                     INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier program
§                     5th generation fighter jet program
§                     Sukhoi Su-30MKI program (230+ to be built by Hindustan Aeronautics)
§                     Ilyushin/HAL Tactical Transport Aircraft
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.
Energy 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
At present, Russia and India have a scientific and technological cooperation arrangement under the Integrated Long Term Programme of Cooperation in Science and Technology (till 2010)
In a nutshell, India and Russia are in the process of institutionalizing their relations. The formation of various working groups to monitor developments on political, economic, science and technology and cultural fronts will go a long way in strengthening their bilateral relations. Warmth in Indo-Russia relations depends to a greater degree on how India balances itself between its increasing desire to ally with the US, Israel and the West, and maintain traditional relations with the Russian Federation.

1 comment:

  1. thanx a lot sir 4 posting such useful material. it wud be very helpful if u cud plz post some material on indo-china, indo-nepal, indo-srilanka relations as well.

    all d vey best 4 mains