- 08 Dec 2021
- 7 min read
Why in News
Recently, the Russian President Vladimir Putin visited India. At the meeting, India signed many agreements with Russia. The meeting is significant as it was the first 2+2 meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.
- In April 2021, to build on the common “resilient” ground, Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers addressed each other’s concerns on a wide range of issues.
- First Indo-Russia 2+2 Dialogue: It is the first 2+2 meeting between the foreign and defense ministers of the two countries.
- India has held a 2+2 format of meetings with member nations of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) — the US, Japan and Australia.
- Agreement for Kalashnikov Rifles: The two sides signed two contracts for the manufacture of nearly 600,000 AK-203 rifles under a joint venture in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.
- Agreement for Military Cooperation:The two countries also signed an agreement for military technology cooperation for the next decade, from 2021 to 2031.
- India underlined its goal of becoming Russia’s defense development and production partner from just a buyer.
- The two sides are now looking at expanding the format of exercises to make them more complex as well as Ideas for expanding India-Russia cooperation In Central Asia.
- Moving Ahead on Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement: Beyond defense sales, a Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), as well as a Navy to Navy cooperation MoU are at advanced stages of conclusion.
- Singing of Military Protocol: The two countries also signed the Protocol of the 20th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC).
- The IRIGC-M&MTC “is a well-established mechanism since last two decades” and provides “a platform to discuss and implement mutually agreed agenda for defense cooperation”.
- Go Ahead With S-400 Air Defense System Deal: India asserted that it follows an “independent foreign policy”, hinting at the US’ Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
- This is referred to in the context of supply of S-400 air defence missile systems which began this month and will continue to happen.
- Discussion on Geopolitical Hotspots: The situation in Afghanistan and the Middle East has wider repercussions including for Central Asia.
- Maritime security and safety is another domain of shared concern.
- The issue of China’s aggressive posture along the northern border was also brought up at the meeting.
- Both the countries proposed greater engagements in Central Asia and the Indian Ocean Region.
Importance of Russia for India
- Balancing China: The Chinese aggression in the border areas of eastern Ladakh, brought India-China relations to an inflection point, but also demonstrated that Russia is capable of contributing to defusing tensions with China.
- Russia organized a trilateral meeting among the foreign ministers of Russia, India, and China following deadly clashes in the Galwan Valley in the disputed territory of Ladakh.
- Emerging New Sectors of Economic Engagement: Apart from traditional areas of cooperation such as weapons, hydrocarbons, nuclear energy, and diamonds, new sectors of economic engagement are likely to emerge — mining, agro-industrial, and high technology, including robotics, nanotech, and biotech.
- India’s footprint in the Russian Far East and in the Arctic is set to expand. Connectivity projects may get a boost too.
- Combating Terrorism: India and Russia are working to close the gap on Afghanistan and are calling for early finalization of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism.
- Support At Multilateral Forums: Additionally, Russia supports India’s candidacy for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council and of the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
- Russia’s Military Exports: Russia has been one of the largest arms exporters to India. Even as Russia’s share in India’s arms imports fell by over 50% in the last five-year period compared to the previous five years (2011–2015).
- In the last 20 years, India imported arms and weapons worth USD 35 billion from Russia, according to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute which tracks global arms trade.
- Russia To Provide Timely Maintenance Support: Timely supply of spares and support to the large inventory of Russian hardware in service with the Indian military has been a major issue from India.
- To address this,Russia has made legislative changes allowing its companies to set up joint ventures in India to address it following an Inter-Governmental Agreement signed in 2019.
- This agreement needs to be implemented in a time bound manner.
- Acknowledging Importance of Each Other: Russia will remain a key defense partner for India for decades to come.
- On the other hand, Russia and China are currently in a quasi-alliance setup. Russia repeatedly reiterates that it does not see itself as anybody’s junior partner. That’s why Russia wants India to act as a balancer.
- Joint Military Production: The two countries have been discussing how they can cooperate in using India as a production base for exporting to third countries Russian-origin equipment and services.