The friendship between India and Russian has stood the test of times and through difficult situations. Both have now signed a programme of cooperation in the field of defence for the next ten years (2021-2031).
|The Author is Former Director General of Information Systems and A Special Forces Veteran, Indian Army|
The 21st bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin on December 6, 2021, preceded by the first ever India-Russia 2+2 Dialogue, meeting between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh with Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu under the framework of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation and the two foreign ministers co-chairing the two Inter-Governmental Commissions (one on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) gave further impetus to the India-Russia Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.
Of the 28 agreements and memorandums of understanding (MoUs) signed between India and Russia, following four pertained to defence or could impact defence -
The joint statement titled ‘INDIA-RUSSIA: Partnership for Peace, Progress and Prosperity’ spoke of positively assessing the multi-faceted India-Russia relations that span various areas of cooperation including political and strategic, economy, energy, military and security, science and technology, culture and humanitarian cooperation, which are being further strengthened. Both sides welcomed the enhanced cooperation in space including in the human spaceflight programmes and satellite navigation and agreed to study the prospects of the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the development of launch vehicles and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including planetary exploration.
Both sides welcomed the enhanced cooperation in space including in the human spaceflight programs and satellite navigation
In terms of Military and Military-Technical Cooperation, the statement included following:
Following were the two major pacts signed at the inaugural ‘2+2 dialogue’ -
Before the inaugural 2+2 Dialogue, there was speculation that a Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) would be signed since both countries had reportedly reached the final phase of negotiation for the agreement. Signing of RELOS will allow militaries of the two countries to use each other’s bases for repair and replenishment of supplies. Apparently, inking of this agreement has been left for a later date, perhaps during the next round of the 2+2 Dialogue in 2022.
Both nations to work together in advanced and emerging fields of defence technology, and in niche domains of military capabilities
There are many Indo-Russian defence deals which are either ongoing or frozen, some of which are -
India and Russian have set a target for $30 billion in trade and $50 billion in investment by 2025
The friendship between India and Russian has stood the test of times and through difficult situations. Both have now signed a programme of cooperation in the field of defence for the next ten years (2021-2031) and set a target for $30 billion in trade and $50 billion in investment by 2025. The world is witnessing geostrategic changes. The US has pushed Russia and China in tighter embrace while India joining the QUAD is looked askance by Russia and China. However, these would not shake India-Russia friendship. Accelerating the pace of defence cooperation would be good for both including focusing on emerging and niche technologies that would influence wars of the future.