India and Russia rejuvenates strategic bilateral relations

Defence ties to be strengthened between traditional allies

Business & Politics

September 15, 2016

/ By / New delhi



The bilateral relation between India and Russia promises to take an upward trajectory as the nations look likely to sign a defence pact in October this year. The defence cooperation will surely infuse trust and confidence which was staggering for some time.

India and Russia are looking to revitalize their strategic partnership as negotiations are on to strike a defence deal.  Since the Nehruvian era, Russia (USSR then) shares close ties with India. Russia is also the only country to give impetus to Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘Make in India’ campaign in the two key strategic sectors of civil nuclear energy and military-technical cooperation.

 India aims to hold a vital position in the global defence market. Furthermore, both the countries are committed to cooperate in politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism operations and space and to size up the opportunity in trade, economic dimension is added as both the nation aimed to achieve 30 billion USD trade by 2030. In the recent past Indo-Russia relation has taken back seat with India being tilting towards United States in defence cooperation.  The signing of India’s three defence pact with US Logistics Support Agreement (LSA), Communications Interoperability and Security Memorandum of Agreement (CISMOA) and Basic Exchange and Cooperation Agreement (BECA) for Geo-spatial Cooperation seems to be unpleasant for Russia.

Upgrade of India-Russia relations

However, Russia has been the largest the defence exporters to India with 70 percent of the defence armament s are procured from that country.  To upgrade the strategic partnership relation both the countries will be entering into a mega defence deal.  India has always considered Russia to be a reliable partner.

The projected defence agreement includes acquisition of five S-400 advanced air defence missile system, 1.5 billion USD leases of a powered submarine, a IL-78 multi-role tanker transport by India and the joint upgrading of the SU30MKI and Kamov 28. As per the Defence ministry sources both the countries will sign agreement for the futuristic fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA) or the Perspective Multirole Fighter (PMF).

The Intergovernmental committee on technical and economic cooperation meeting which is expected to address by the Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin on September 13 will lay an opportunity to scale up bilateral relations for both the nations.  To add up, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is schedule to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in Western Indian state of Goa on October 15 on the sidelines of BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Summit.  There are high end expectations from both sides as India and Russia will also sign agreements on economic cooperation and looking forward to boost investment opportunities especially in the energy sector.

Significance of Indo-Russia and Indo-US ties

The enhancing of Indo-Russia defence partnership has raised questions whether it will have any impact on Indo-US relations as both the countries sought to defence ties and military level cooperation in the past four years. India signed bilateral logistic pact with the United States to enhance defence ties and military cooperation and on the other hand reassured Russia for its longstanding defence partnership goals. Russia has been a major defence partner since 1960 with a sale of 45 billion USD of armaments.   Indo- Russia relations strained most likely when United States signed nuclear deal in 2008 and the growing defence ties with US.  However, with the changing geo-political scenario both the leaders must focus on strengthening relations and need to be assertive to understand India’s growing ties with United States.  Therefore, the Indo-Russia agreements likely to be signed will be significant for both the countries.

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