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New Era of Friendship between India and Russia

Bilateral ties with Russia are a key pillar of India’s foreign policy. India sees Russia as a longstanding and time-tested friend that has played a significant role in its economic development and security. Since the Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership in October 2000, the ties between the two countries have acquired a new character with enhanced levels of cooperation taking place in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship including political, security, trade and economy, defence, science and technology and culture.

On 6th November 2021, Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in India and met Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi. The meeting came after both the countries held their 2+2 Ministerial dialogue earlier in the day. This is their first in-person meeting after they met at the BRICS summit in Brasilia in 2019. But there have been six telephonic conversations between them since then apart from the virtual meetings that they’ve attended for multilateral summits.

Prime Minister Modi during the meeting stated that “Despite the challenges posed by Covid, there is no change in the pace of growth of India-Russia relations. Our special and privileged strategic partnership continues to become stronger.” He further added, “In the last few decades, the world witnessed many fundamental changes and different kinds of geopolitical equations emerged but the friendship of India and Russia remained constant.” 

President Putin while regarding India as a friendly nation and extremely important to them stated that, “We perceive India as a great power, a friendly nation, and a time-tested friend. The relations between our nations are growing and I am looking into the future.” He further added, “Currently, mutual investments stand at about 38 billion with a bit more investment coming from the Russian side. We cooperate greatly in the military and technical sphere like no other country. We develop high technologies together as well as produce in India.” 

Several agreements to deepen cooperation in defence, trade, space, technology, energy and culture were signed. The two countries signed an agreement for the procurement of 6,01,427 assault rifles AK-203 through Indo-Russia Rifles Pvt Ltd, under the military-technical cooperation arrangement for 2021-31. The deal worth 5,100 crores was signed to produce AK-203 assault rifles in India. The Indian Army is expected to acquire these riffles and replace INSAS rifles. Also, the S-400 air defence system is scheduled to be handed over to India soon.

India and Russia will be soon holding the first 2+2 format dialogue in New Delhi between defence minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu and external affairs minister S Jaishankar and his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. During the meeting, it is expected that a wide range of regional and international topics, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and developments in Afghanistan and Syria will be discussed in depth.