India-Russia Bilateral Talks

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    • India’s External Affairs Minister recently held wide-ranging talks with his Russian counterpart.

    More about the news

    • On the Ukraine conflict:
      • Indian Minister stated that the Ukraine conflict was a dominant feature in his discussions with the Russian Foreign Minister.
      • Interdependence of economies:
        • He also stated that the global economy is too interdependent not to be impacted by a significant conflict and the Global South is feeling “this pain very acutely”, especially after two years of the pandemic.
      • Global South:
        • The Global South refers to the developing and less developed countries in Latin America, Asia, Africa and Oceania.
      • Dialogue and diplomacy:
        • India “strongly advocates a return to dialogue and diplomacy” and is on the side of “peace, respect for international law and support for the UN Charter”.
        • He even offered help in issues including food grains and fertiliser shipments, and support for any initiative that de-risks the global economy.
    • Russian Oil:
      • On buying cheap Russian oil, he made it clear that India will continue with the purchases to cater to the needs of its consumers.
    • Trade:
      • Indian Minister expressed concern about the trade imbalance and also urged Russia to address impediments that stand in the way of greater Indian exports.
      • They talked about cooperation in the area of logistics and transportation, including the International North-South Transport Corridor, high-tech and nuclear.
      • Promotion of inter-regional cooperation has been a key priority for India, particularly with the Russian Far East.
    • Defence Cooperation:
      • Both ministers had a detailed discussion on the prospects in military and technical cooperation including joint production of weaponry.

    India-Russia Relations

    • India and Russia have a history of strong strategic, military, economic, and diplomatic relationships.
    • Political Relations:
      • The Annual Summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between India and Russia. 
      • So far 20 Annual Summit meetings have taken place alternatively in India and Russia. 
    • Intergovernmental Commissions: 
      • There is regular high-level interaction between the two countries.
      • The IRIGC (India-Russia Intergovernmental Commission): 
        • It is the main body that conducts affairs at the governmental level between both countries. Both countries are members of international bodies including the UN, BRICS, G20 and SCO.
      • Two Inter-Governmental Commissions: 
        • One on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), co-chaired by EAM and the Russian DPM, and 
        • Another on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC- MTC) co-chaired by Russian and Indian Defence Ministers, meet annually.
    • Trade and Economic Relations: 
      • Both sides revised targets of increasing bilateral investment to US $50 billion and bilateral trade to US $30 billion by 2025. 
        • India’s merchandise imports from Russia include petroleum oil and other fuel items, fertilizers, coffee and tea, spices, nuclear reactors, and animal and vegetable fats, among others.
    • Nuclear Energy: 
      • Russia recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record. 
      • Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is being built in India with Russian cooperation. 
    • Space Cooperation: 
      • Both sides cooperate in the peaceful uses of outer space, including satellite launches, GLONASS navigation system, remote sensing and other societal applications of outer space.
    • Science & Technology: 
      • The Working Group on Science and Technology functioning under IRIGC-TEC, the Integrated Long Term Programme (ILTP) and the Basic Science Cooperation Programme are the three main institutional mechanisms for bilateral Science and Technology cooperation.
    • Cultural Cooperation: 
      • There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia. 
      • There is strong interest among Russian people in Indian dance, music, yoga and Ayurveda.
    • Defence and Security Cooperation:
      • India has longstanding and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia in the field of defence. 
      • BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks are examples of such flagship cooperation.
      • Both sides concluded agreements on the supply of S-400 air defence systems, construction of frigates under Project 1135.6 and shareholders agreement on the formation of a joint venture to manufacture Ka-226T helicopters in India.
      • The two countries also hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually termed INDRA.

    About the Far East

    • It is the easternmost part of Russia
    • It borders two oceans, the Pacific and the Arctic, and five countries (China, Japan, Mongolia, the United States and the DPRK).
    • It is rich in natural resources like diamonds, stannary, borax materials, 50 gold, tungsten, and fish and seafood. 
    • About 1/3 of all coal reserves and hydro-engineering resources of the country are here. 
    • In 2019 India announced a commitment to an “Act Far-East” policy
      • This policy is an important part of a special and privileged strategic partnership with Russia.
    • India has also made significant investments in the Russian far east in the fields of pharmaceuticals and diamonds.

    International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC)

    • The legal framework for the INSTC is provided by a trilateral agreement signed by India, Iran and Russia at the Euro-Asian Conference on Transport in 2000
    • Aim: 
      • To reduce the carriage cost between India and Russia by about 30% and reduce the transit time from 40 days by more than half.
      • The corridor is expected to consolidate the emerging Eurasian Free Trade Area.
    • Connectivity & Length:
      • It is a 7,200-km multi-modal transport corridor that combines road, rail and maritime routes connecting Russia and India via Central Asia and Iran. 
      • It links the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea via the Persian Gulf onwards into Russia and Northern Europe.
      • It offers the shortest connectivity route between India and Russia.

    Source: ET