Free Online Course on IIR: India-Russia Relations

Free Online Course -India and Its International Relations

:: India-Russia Relations ::

Relations with Russia are a key pillar of India's foreign policy and Russia has been a longstanding time-tested partner of India. Since the signing of “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in October 2000 (during the visit of President  Vladimir Putin to India), India-Russia ties have acquired a qualitatively new character with enhanced levels of cooperation in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship including political, security, trade and economy, defense, science and technology and culture. Under the Strategic Partnership, several institutionalized dialogue mechanisms operate at both political and official levels to ensure regular interaction and follow up on cooperation activities. During the visit of Russian President to India in December 2010, the Strategic Partnership was elevated to the level of a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership.”

Political Relations

Annual Summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism under the Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation. So far 14 Annual Summit meetings have taken place alternatively in India and Russia. The last (14th) Annual Summit was held in Moscow on 21 October 2013 when then PM Dr. Manmohan Singh visited Moscow and had a meeting with President Putin. A Joint Statement “Deepening the Strategic Partnership for Global Peace and Stability” was adopted during the Summit. Bilateral agreements concluded during the Summit included a Treaty on sentenced persons; MoUs on standardisation and on energy efficiency; and Programmes of Cooperation in science & technology and in biotechnology. On 23 May, Russian President Vladimir Putin had a telephone conversation with PM Shri Narendra Modi to congratulate him on the election victory. President Putin also sent a congratulatory message to PM Shri Narendra Modi, in which he gave a high assessment of the traditionally friendly ties between India and Russia and said “Fruitful cooperation over recent years has produced impressive results, and he is confident that the two countries can work together to build on and multiply these achievements.” There are regular high-level interactions between the two countries. Two Inter- Governmental Commissions - one on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC), co-chaired by the External Affairs Minister (EAM) and the Russian Deputy Prime Minister (DPM) and another on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC- MTC) co-chaired by Russian and Indian Defense Ministers, meet annually. The 19th session of the IRIGC-TEC and the 13th session of IRIGC-MTC were held in Moscow on 4 October and 18 November 2013 respectively. Then EAM Shri Salman Khurshid visited Moscow for intersessional meeting of IRIGC-TEC in April 2013 and then in October 2013 for the IRIGC-TEC meeting with Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin and meeting with Foreign Minister of Russia, Mr. Sergey Lavrov. Foreign Minister Mr. Sergei Lavrov visited India from 9-11 November 2013 for the India-Russia-China Foreign Ministers’ meeting and Asia-Europe Ministerial meeting. In February 2014, Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin visited India for intersessional meeting of IRIGCTEC, which he co-chaired along with then EAM. He also called on former PM and met former NSA. Foreign Secretary visited Moscow on 15-17 April, 2014 for intersessional Foreign Office Consultations, where she met with First Deputy Foreign Minister Vladimir Titov, and Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov. Minister of State for Petroleum and Natural Gas, Shri Dharmendra Pradhan visited Moscow on 15-18 June, 2014 to participate in the 21st World Petroleum Congress (WPC). On 19 June 2014, DPM Rogozin visited India and met with EAM, Raksha Mantri, and new NSA. He also called on PM Shri Narendra Modi.

India has longstanding and wide-ranging cooperation with Russia in the field of defence. India-Russia military technical cooperation has evolved from a simple buyer - seller framework to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced defence technologies and systems. BrahMos Missile System, Joint development of the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft and the Multi Transport Aircraft, as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples of such flagship cooperation. The two countries also hold exchanges and training exercises between their armed forces annually. The Inter Governmental Commission and its Working Groups and Sub-Groups review defence cooperation between the two countries. On 14 June 2014, PM Shri Narendra Modi dedicated the Russian-built aircraft carrier’ INS Vikramaditya to the nation at a special ceremony off the coast of Goa.

Commercial Relations

Trade, investment and economic cooperation between India and Russia has been growing steadily. In 2009, both sides set the target of US $ 20 bn bilateral trade by 2015. India-Russia bilateral trade in 2013 stood at US$ 10.01 bn, out of which India’s exports to Russia stood at US$ 3.1 bn (an increase of 1.7% over 2012) and India’s imports amounted to US$ 7 bn (showing decrease of 14% over 2012). Indian investments in Russia are estimated to be US$ 7 bn, bulk of which is in the energy sector, while Russian investments in India are estimated to be of the order of US$ 3 bn, primarily in the telecommunications sector. Priority areas for expanding bilateral economic cooperation are pharmaceuticals, IT, steel, diamonds, aviation, fertilizers, infrastructure, heavy engineering and food products.

IRIGC-TEC is the main institutional mechanism to review economic cooperation. It integrates seven working groups on trade and economic cooperation, modernization and industrial cooperation, energy, investment projects, tourism and culture, science and technology, and communications & IT. India - Russia Forum on Trade and Investment co-chaired by the Commerce and Industry Minister of India and the Russian Minister for Economic Development, and India - Russia CEOs’ Council are the two primary mechanisms to promote direct bilateral business-to- business contacts between India and Russia. Mechanisms such as India - Russia Business Council (partnership between FICCI of India and CCI of Russia), India - Russia Trade, Investment and Technology Promotion Council (partnership between CII of India and RUIE of Russia), India – Russia Business Dialogue (partnership between CII of India and Russia’s Business Council for Cooperation with India) and India - Russia Chamber of Commerce (with focus on SMEs) supplement the efforts to build direct business - to - business ties. India-Russia CEOs’ Council met in St. Petersburg in June 2013 and in Moscow in October 2013. Seventh India-Russia Forum on Trade & Investment was held in St. Petersburg in September 2013. In May 2014, the 5th India-Russia Business Dialogue was held within the framework of the annual St. Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF). Russia is an important partner in peaceful uses of nuclear energy and it recognizes India as a country with advanced nuclear technology with an impeccable non-proliferation record. Construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) Units 1 & 2 (VVER 1000 MW units) is an example of fruitful cooperation between India and Russia. KKNPP Unit 1 became operational in July 2013, and attained full generation capacity on 7 June 2014, while its Unit 2 is at an advanced stage of construction.

India and Russia also have ongoing cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons and power. ONGC Videsh Limited has substantive investments of over US$ 5 billion in two major oil and gas projects – Sakhlin-1 and Imperial Energy Limited (Tomsk). Russian companies are engaged in several power plant and oil and gas projects in India. In May 2014, ONGC and Rosneft signed an MoU for the exploration of hydrocarbon in the Arctic offshore.

India-Russia cooperation in the field of peaceful uses of outer space dates back to about four decades. The two countries are currently engaged in cooperation on GLONASS and other space applications.

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, while the Science Academies of the two countries promote inter-academy exchanges. ILTP which supports collaborative research in basic and applied sciences has resulted in establishment of 9 thematic centers in India and Russia and implementation of about 500 projects. In 2010, ILTP was extended for another 10 years with a renewed mandate “innovation led technology programme”. India-Russia Science and Technology Centre with a branch each in Delhi-NCR and Moscow was set up in 2011-12 in order to promote transfer of technologies and their commercialization. Two Programmes of Cooperation in the field of science and technology and in biotechnology were signed in October 2013 and are in the process of implementation.


There is a strong tradition of Indian studies in Russia. Jawaharlal Nehru Cultural Center at the Embassy of India, Moscow (JNCC) maintains close cooperation with leading Russian institutions including the Institute of Philosophy, Moscow, Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow, Institute of Oriental Studies, Moscow, Institute of Asian and African Studies at the Moscow State University, School of International Relations at the St. Petersburg University, Kazan Federal University, Kazan and Far Eastern National University, Vladivostok. There is a Mahatma Gandhi Chair on Indian Philosophy at the Institute of Philosophy, Moscow, while a Chair of Contemporary Indian Studies is at the Russian State University for Humanities, Moscow. About 20 Russian Institutions, including leading universities and schools, regularly teach Hindi to 1500 Russian students. Apart from Hindi, languages such as Tamil, Marathi, Gujarati, Bengali, Urdu, Sanskrit and Pali are taught in Russian Institutions. There is general interest among Russian people in Indian dance, music, yoga and ayurveda. JNCC conducts classes in yoga, dance, music and Hindi for approximately 500 students every month. There are regular cultural initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts between India and Russia. A Festival of Indian Culture covering 10 cities of Russia took place in 2013.

This is Part of Online Coaching & Study Kit of IAS Mains General Studies Combo

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