Dr. Nivedita Das Kundu writes: Prime Minister Modi’s forthcoming visit to Russia will boost India-Russia strategic partnership. The India-Russia Strategic partnership was formed in the year 2000. Indian Prime Minister’s forthcoming visit to Russia on 23rd -24th December, 2015, will be a significant event as far as India-Russia relationship is concerned.[i] Russia was the first country with whom India established a strategic partnership in the year 2010 during the 11th Summit, by Vladimir Putin and A.B.Vajpayee (the then Prime Minister of India). India and Russia further elevated their relationship to a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership” status, indicating a mutual desire to emphasize the exceptional closeness of ties.[ii] In today’s complicated and fast changing geopolitical situation, both countries have wisely diversified their foreign policy options, yet have been careful not to abandon a mutually beneficial partnership of trust built up over decades between these two great Nations.
Today, India-Russia relationship has many positive dimensions to lend fresh impetus to their cooperation and friendship. India-Russia cooperation is going on smoothly and steadily in various sectors. Cooperation in the defence sector is still the strongest link. Even today around 50% of the defence equipment used by the Indian defence forces is of Russian origin. India and Russia have similar views on many international developments. Today, the weakest link in Indo-Russian cooperation remains trade & economic ties.[iii] Both sides have expressed their intention to improve the trade ties in the coming years. It is expected that as soon as the International North South Corridor (INSTC) will start operating full flegedly, this target might be achieved faster as then, the time limit of the consignment passing and reaching the destination will be much less than what it is taking today and also it will be much cheaper. But there are still number of challenges that need to be looked into closely. Now that the stringent visa regulations have eased to a certain extent, the dynamic private sector in both the countries is also able to connect with each other easily to boost the economic partnership. Nonetheless, Indo-Russian cooperation can be boosted up even further if people to people contact can be increased and cultural as well as educational linkages can be enhanced
The forthcoming 16th Annual Summit will reflect how India and Russia continue to value each other’s steadfast friendship. During Prime Minister Modi’s forthcoming visit vital decisions would be taken in the spheres of military-technological cooperation and nuclear power sector as well as on the aspects of humanitarian ties. It has been observed that India-Russia cooperation and friendship remains un-affected by any global developments. The meeting and discussion that will take place in Moscow between both the leaders will further strengthen the framework for cooperation between India and Russia.
[i] “Indian prime minister to pay first state visit to Russia on December 23-24”, 2015 TASS Report, available at http://in.rbth.com/news/2015/12/16/indian-prime-minister-to-pay-first-state-visit-to-russia-on-december-23-24_551437 accessed on 18 December 2015
[ii]Ajai Malhotra, “India-Russia Relations”, lectured deliver at Pondicherry University, Pondicherry
March 20, 2015
[iii] Embassy of Russia Report December 2015.