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India - Russia Relation

On Putin's Visit to India

India and Russia are expected to review bilateral ties including defense cooperation during the 19th annual bilateral summit . Both countries are expected to deliberate on a range of regional and global issues. 


The two countries are expected to sign a number of agreements. However, the focus of the Russia will be on possible signing of a 5 billion dollars deal to produce Moscow's most advanced air defence system, the S-400 Triumf Missile deal. 

History of India and Russia relationship 
India- Russia relationship has evolved into an equal partnership. The deep roots of this relationship go back to the early 20th century when India  was under British rule and Czars ruled Russia. The Russian revolution of 1905 inspired Indian freedom fighters. Mahatma Gandhi was also struck by the similarity in the prevailing conditions in Russia and India. Following 1917 Bolshevik Revolution, soviet leaders understood that their revolution stood better chance to success and their revolution encouraged India to become free and independent.  

It was pandit Nehru's thinking which laid foundation of the friendly policy of the Indian National Congress towards the Soviet Union. After visiting soviet union in 1927, Nehru got inspired with the soviet experiment. He was convinced that poor developing country like India needed to flow not the capitalist path but a development model that emphasized social justice, equality and human dignity. 

It is noteworthy that even before India become independent an official announcement was made soon 13 April 1947 on the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and soviet union. 
Since then India and Russia have been the balancing force in this realignment of global powers. Both countries are in position to influence geostrategic politics with regard to sanction on Iran, the middle equation, tariff manipulation, terrorism and several other issues. 
India attended bilateral  G20 summit in Astana (Russia)last year in June. Russia has supported India's demand for a permanent seat at the UN security council. Russia also helped India attain full membership of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). Russia also supported for India's entry into the exclusive club of the Nuclear Supplier Group (NSG). The leaders from both the nations have met 4 times since the last year's summit.

Russia’s support and assistance 
India received generous assistance for its industrialization as well as  for development in the areas of defense, space and atomic energy. During times of economic struggle, India appreciated the support in form of low-priced economic credits for infrastructure projects repayable in rupees; reliable affordable and good quality military equipment supplies, also on credit and supply of crucial products like oil and oil products, fertilizer, metal etc. 
Some of India's globally completive public sector companies like BHEL, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) and Hindustan aeronautics limited (HAL), as well as the steel industry in India, were set up with soviet cooperation. 
The first Indian institute of technology set up with foreign collaboration was the one in Mumbai with Russia's support. Russia helped India in many ways to become more self-reliant an was a true partner of India. 
Cooperation in nuclear-sector 
In the nuclear sector Russia has already constructed two nuclear power plants at kudankulam in south of India under Indo-Russian nuclear cooperation program. Negotiations for two additional units on the same site are also going on.  

Cooperation in space sector 
India –Russia cooperation on Glonass which is a global navigational satellite system it’s a Russia's  GPS (global positioning system). India is also trying to get Russian technology in tracking satellite and to have a collaborative chandryaan II, project involving space probes to the moon. 

Energy cooperation  
India- Russia energy cooperation is also expected to get a boost in the coming years. India imports oil, mostly from volatile region of Middle East. However, to sustain current rate of growth. India need to secure and diversify sources of energy import. 
According to the International Energy Agency, India would be the third largest energy consumer in the world by 2025 after US and china. Russia, India's trusted strategic partner is destined to play vital role ensuring India's energy security in the coming decades.

Cultural ties 
There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia. Apart from Hindi, language such as Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit and Pali are taught in Russian institutions.   
There is a general interest among Russian people in Indian dance, music, yoga and Ayurved. There are regular cultural initiatives to promote people –to-people contacts between India and Russia. 

Weak trade between India-Russia 
Trade between both the two nations is extremely low. The weakest link in India-Russian cooperation's remains trade and economic ties. Make in India initiative would welcome Russian companies from the public and private sector, and companies of both the countries have shown a willingness to invest and  engaged in boosting- up the economic partnership with each other, and trying to give a new direction to the economic relationship. Major infrastructure projects such as dedicated freight corridors and industrial cluster, smart cities, and engineering services, sharing technologies and skills are also areas to enhance cooperation. 

Strain in the relationship 
The first of the concern is rapidly expanding ties between and India and USA, which started with the India US Nuclear deal in 2008. Other concerns the growing defence relations between USA and India. Russia's decision to supply Pakistan with Mi-35 hind attack helicopters has alarmed the Indian defense establishment. The Russia- Pakistan joint exercises along with the U.S  and has signed logistic agreements which can eventually give the US access to Indian naval bases. Russia had proposed a Russia-India-china forum. India is hesitant about this because of the unresolved issues with china. 

Why India needs Russia? 
Russia can be a major market for India industry such as pharmaceuticals, manufactured goods, diary products, bovine meat and frozen seafood. Geopolitically, Russia continues to be a balancing force against any designs China and Pakistan may have in Indian region. India can also meet its abundant energy requirements at a cost effective price with the help of Russia. Despite expanding its defense purchases from the US, Israel and Europe, India still needs to collaborate with Russia. 

Conclusion  
Both India and Russia reaffirmed their intention to expand the scope of such collaborations in different fields. This would give better opportunities for expanding mutual capabilities. Both countries are emphasizing to boost the trade. There is a need to create balanced relationship approach. It is clear that India-Russia relations remain vital for both countries to maintain global security environment.