Thursday, August 25, 2011

Bilateral ties with Russia are a key pillar of India's foreign policy. India Views Russia as a time-tested, trustworthy and reliable strategic partner. Since the signing of the ‘Declaration on the India Russia Strategic Partnership’, in October 2000 (during the visit of then President Vladimir Putin to India), there has been a qualitative strengthening of the relationship. During the visit of President Dmitry Medvedev to India in December 2010, it was mutually decided to elevate the bilateral relationship to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership”.

The two countries closely cooperate in diverse spheres, including defence, civil nuclear energy, space, science and technology, hydrocarbons, trade and Investment, cultural and humanitarian fields, etc. To consolidate and advance the multifaceted bilateral ties, several dialogue mechanisms, operating both at the political and official levels have been instituted to ensure regular interaction and follow up on our cooperation activities.

Annual Summits

The system of Annual Summit meetings between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest and most important mechanism for bilateral interaction, with meetings held alternately in India and Russia. Since the year 2000, eleven Summits have taken place. The 11th Summit was held in New Delhi in December 2010 between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Dimitri Medvedev and 29 bilateral documents were signed at it. The 12th Annual Summit is likely to be held in late 2011 in Moscow.

Defence Cooperation

India is one of the largest buyers of Russian military equipment and systems. Indo-Russian cooperation in this sphere has transformed from a simple buyer-seller framework to a more elaborate and advanced cooperation involving joint R&D and joint production and marketing of state of the art defence technologies and systems. During the 11th Annual Summit in New Delhi the two sides signed an agreement to jointly develop the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft. BrahMos missile system is another shining example of this collaboration. Several other joint projects for co-development of cutting edge technologies are being pursued under the aegis of the bilateral defence cooperation.

The India-Russia Inter Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC), co-chaired by Raksha Mantri and the Russian Defence Minister is the main institutional mechanism for interaction in this area; the 10th and the latest meeting of the IRIGC-MTC took place in New Delhi in October 2010. The next IRIGC-MTC meeting is scheduled to take place in Moscow in the second half of 2011.

Russia Snubs India

Russia has cancelled both its 'Indra' series of military exercises with India. A flotilla of five warships from the Indian navy's eastern fleet that went for joint naval exercises to Vladivostok in the Russian far-east was turned back without any manoeuvres. The warships-which included the missile destroyers INS Delhi, INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay-were warmly received by the Russian navy, but when asked about the exercises, they were told the Russians had no ships to spare. On a request from the Indian fleet, a face-saving 'table top exercise or a land-based simulation, was carried out.

What rubbed salt in their wounds was that Russian warships sailed out for an exercise of their own, apparently belying their earlier claims. The cancelled exercise was hushed up even as the warships returned to Visakhapatnam. A befuddled Ministry of Defence (mod) was groping for answers when they were snubbed again. Last week, Russia informed the mod that it had cancelled the upcoming joint army exercises scheduled to be held in Russia in June. One of the reasons given was that the mod had not informed Moscow of the army exercises in advance. Petr Topychkhanov of the Carnegie Moscow Centre says the cancellation of the exercises does not reflect any change in relations with India. "One of the reasons could be the hard process of military reform in Russia. The Russian armed forces are unready for an international exercise at this stage," he says

Cooperation between the NSCS and the Russian Security Council

Regular contacts are maintained between the National Security Advisor to the Prime Minister of India and the Secretary of the Russian Security Council. An institutionalized mechanism for interaction between NSCS and the Russian Security Council known as the “Joint Coordination Group” is also in operation at the Deputy National Security Advisor level. The last meeting of the JCG took place in New Delhi from 22-24 November 2010. Deputy National Security Advisor visited Moscow from 24-26 July 2011 for regular consultations.

Foreign Office Consultations

The last round of such 0consultations was held in Moscow from 2-3 August 2010. Next round of Foreign Office Consultations are expected to be held in the later half of 2011 in New Delhi.

Nuclear Cooperation contact

Russia has been trusted partner for India in the field of nuclear energy, the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project is a fine example of this cooperation. Units 1&2 of the KKNP (VVER 1000 units) built with Russian collaboration are currently undergoing pre-commissioning testing and are expected to be commissioned in the near future. Negotiations for the start of construction work for Units 3&4 at Kudankulam are at an advanced stage and the construction work is likely to begin soon. During the visit of Prime Minister Putin to India in March 2010, an Inter Governmental Agreement on Cooperation in the Field of Use of Atomic Energy for Peaceful Purposes and a “Road Map” for our future bilateral nuclear cooperation were signed.

Russia recognizes India’s status as a country with advanced nuclear technology and vast industrial potential in the nuclear field, and also acknowledges India’s clean track record in non-proliferation. Russia supports India’s candidature to all export control regimes, including the NSG. In June 2011, the two countries signed a MoU.


India and Russia have been collaborating in several high-technology based space projects. Under the aegis of Inter Governmental Agreement signed in 2004, Russia and India cooperated in the Chandrayan-1 project and are currently involved in the joint development of the Chandrayan-2 project that will place an Indian rover-craft and a Russian lander-module on the surface of Moon. Additionally the two countries have been cooperating on the Human Space Flight Project (HSP). On 20th April 2011, the jointly developed Indian-Russian Student Satellite “Youthsat” was successfully launched by India with its PSLV rocket. During the 11th Summit in New Delhi in December 2010 a formal agreement for provision by Russia to India of access to the high precision signals of the Russian GLONASS navigation system was signed. Simultaneously, the two countries have been cooperating on the civilian applications of GLONASS with programmes for joint development and launch of satellites, and joint manufacture of receiving equipments.

Economic Cooperation

Bilateral trade in the year 2009 amounted to USD 7.46 billion and USD 8.535 billion in 2010, registering a growth of approximately 15 percent. During the year 2010 Russian exports to India amounted to USD 6.392 billion and imports from India to Russia amounted to USD 2.142 billion. The two-way investment between the two countries stood at approximately USD 7.8 billion. However, there is realization on both sides that there is a vast potential for substantial increase in the volumes of trade and investment, given the size of the two economies. In 2009, it was decided to set a target of USD 20 billion worth of

Bilateral trade by 2015. Both sides also realize that considerable potential exists for cooperation in the fields of modernization, energy, pharmaceuticals, IT aerospace, agriculture etc.

The Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), co-Chaired by External Affairs Minister on the Indian side and the Deputy Prime Minister o Russia Sergei Ivanov on the Russian side, is the main institutional mechanism supervising cooperation in the area of economic cooperation. The IRIGC-TEC integrates inputs from six working groups on economic and trade cooperation, mines and metallurgy, energy, tourism and culture, science and technology, and IT. The sixteenth meeting of the IRIGC-TEC took place in New

Delhi in November 2010 and its 17th meeting is to be held later this year in


Indo-Russian Forum on Trade and Investment (established in 2007 and co-Chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the Russian Minister for Economic Development) and the India-Russia CEO’s Council (established in February 2008, co-chaired by Shri Mukesh Ambani, Chairman Reliance Industries Ltd. and Vladimir Yevtushenkov, CEO of AFKSISTEMA) are the two primary mechanisms for promotion of direct business to business contacts between the two countries. In addition, mechanisms such as the India-Russia Business Council (in partnership with FICCI of India and CCI of

Russia) established in 2007; the India-Russia Trade, Investment and Technology Promotion Council (in partnership with Cll of India and RUIE of Russia) established in 2007; and the India-Russia Chamber of Commerce (focusing on 4 SMEs) supplement these efforts. In June 2011, 2nd India-Russia Business Dialogue was held within the framework of the St. Petersburg Economic Forum. Next meeting of the Forum is to be held in the 4th quarter of 2011.

Science and Technology

The Working Group on Science and Technology under the aegis of IRIGCTEC, and the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) are the two principle institutional mechanisms for S&T cooperation between India and Russia. The Working Group focuses on collaboration activities in mutually agreed priority areas of biotechnology, building materials, industrial realization of technologies, medical research, metrology & standardization, meteorology, oceanology and seismology. The ILTP programme focuses on the collaborative research in the basic sciences and on inter-academy exchange programmes.

The ILTP was given a ten 10 years extension beyond 2009 with a renewed mandating for "Innovation Led Technology Growth". The "ILTP Joint Council" reviews the functioning of the "Joint Centres of excellence" that have been established in India and Russia.

Centres of excellence on Powder Metallurgy (Hyderabad), Vaccine Production (Bulandshahr), Advanced Computing (Moscow), Gas Hydrate Studies (Chennai), Biotechnology (Allahabad), Ayurvedic Research (Moscow) and Earthquake Research (New Delhi) have already been set up. Three more Centres on Technology Transfer (Moscow & New Delhi), Laser & Accelerators (Indore) and Non-Ferrous Metallurgy (Jamshedpur) have been agreed to and are in the process of being set up.

Cultural Cooperation

There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia. Several prominent Russian academics involved in Indian studies have been given Padma awards. Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center (JNCC) of the Embassy maintains close links with six Russian institutions:-the Institute of Philosophy, Moscow that has a Mahatma Gandhi Chair on Indian Philosophy; the Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow; the Institute of Asian and African Studies of the Moscow State University; the School of International Relations, St. Petersburg University; the Kazan State University; and the Far Eastern National University, Vladivostok. ICCR is setting up Chair of Modern Indian Contemporary Studies in leading Russian Universities and Institutions. There are also about 20 Russian Institutions, including leading universities and schools, where Hindi is taught to over 1500 Russian students at various levels. There are also many Russian experts in diverse Indian languages, including Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Hindi, Sanskrit and even Pali.

in Indian dance and music is also widespread in Russia and yoga has become very popular. The JNCC conducts classes in yoga, dance, music and Hindi for approximately 800 students every month.

The year 2008 was celebrated as the Year of Russia in India, while 2009 was celebrated as the Year of India in Russia. Currently, as part of the celebrations of the 150th anniversary of Rabindranath Tagore, the JNCC has been organizing various cultural events around Russia. A mini Festival of Indian Culture in Russia is also being organized in Russia during the second half of 2011. On similar lines the Festival of Russian Cultural will be organized in India during 2012.


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