Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin on Monday held the 21st India-Russia summit, covering an array of areas with an aim to further enhance the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries.
“Your visit to India is a reflection of your commitment to ties with India,” the prime minister Modi said.
Modi said the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two sides was getting stronger and both sides remained in touch on the situation in Afghanistan and other issues.
In the last few decades, the world witnessed many fundamental changes and different kinds of geopolitical equations and variables, but the friendship of India and Russia remained constant, Modi said.
The summit talks took place hours after the foreign and defence ministers of the two countries held their inaugural ‘2+2’ dialogue with an aim to widen the ambit of discussions on strategically important issues.
The day began with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu under the framework of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC).
At the end of talks, the two sides inked the agreement for joint production of over six lakh AK-203 assault rifles at a manufacturing facility in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi and extended the pact on military cooperation for 10 years (2021-31).
The rifles will be manufactured for the Indian armed forces at a cost of around Rs 5000 crore. The 10 year pact on military cooperation is a renewal of an existing framework.
Referring to his bilateral meeting with Shoigu, Singh said he had discussed the “emerging challenges India is confronted with and the enhanced requirement of India for closer military and military-technical cooperation with Russia .
Shoigu said bilateral military-technical cooperation is especially important in India-Russia relations, and that he and Singh had finalised plans for future cooperation.
Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar held talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Then the foreign and defence ministers of the two sides held the ‘2+2’ dialogue.
In his remarks, Jaishankar said ties between India and Russia have been “close and time-tested” in a world that has changed so much.
“As close friends and strategic partners, India and Russia have been working together to safeguard our common interests and to ensure peace, progress and prosperity for our peoples,” Jaishankar said.
The external affairs minister also said that the situation in Afghanistan has wider repercussions including for central Asia.
“The Covid-19 pandemic has raised questions about the current model of global affairs. But the long-standing challenges remain even as new ones emerge Prominent among them are terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization. The situation in Afghanistan has wider repercussions, including for Central Asia,” he said.
Russian foreign minister Lavrov said the 2+2 ministerial dialogue mechanism will further expand traditional understanding and help reinforce the bilateral special and privileged strategic partnership.
“Both Russia and India have a similar worldview of a more poly-centric, more multi-polar, more equitable world order. We advocate similar or identical positions on the most important political and military issues, he said.
Cooperation in Space Sector
During India-Russia summit held between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, India and Russia vowed to deepen collaboration in the space sector, including in the human spaceflight programme.
Both sides also signed an agreement for cooperation in the building as well as operation of launch vehicles.
A joint statement issued after the summit said the two countries welcomed the enhanced cooperation between the Russian State Space Corporation ‘Roscosmos’ and the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO) including in the human spaceflight programmes and satellite navigation.
They agreed to study the prospects of the development of mutually beneficial cooperation in the development of launch vehicles and the use of outer space for peaceful purposes, including planetary exploration.
The two sides welcomed the active work carried out within the framework of the Memorandum of Understanding between Roscosmos and ISRO on joint activities in the human spaceflight programme and noted with satisfaction the training of four Indian astronaut candidates from the Yu.A.Gagarin Research and Test Cosmonaut Training Center.
Four Indian astronauts have already undergone generic space flight training in Russia as part of the Gaganyaan programme, India’s first manned space flight mission.
To facilitate further cooperation in Space, the two countries signed an agreement on technology protection due to cooperation in the field of research and use of outer space for peaceful purposes and building and operation of launch vehicles and ground-based space infrastructure.
Both sides intend to strengthen cooperation within the UN Committee on the Peaceful Uses of Outer Space (UN COPUOS), including the issues of the long-term sustainability of outer space activities, the statement said.
Two sides alsonoted the significant progress achieved in the construction of the remaining nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam.
Both sides noted the importance of continued further discussion on the second site in India and the Indian side will strive to finalise formal allotment of the second site in accordance with earlier signed agreements, the statement said.
They welcomed the continuation of technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design, joint manufacturing of equipment and localisation of components.
The two countries also noted successful cooperation in the setting up of the Rooppur Nuclear Power Plant in Bangladesh and expressed their readiness to explore similar cooperation in third countries as well.
The leaders during the summit reaffirmed that bilateral energy cooperation is a key pillar of ties and an energy bridge between the two countries.
Both sides reiterated their joint efforts under the Roadmap for Cooperation in Hydrocarbons for 2019-24 to further deepen bilateral cooperation in the energy sector and welcomed the opening of Bharat Energy Center in Moscow, representing five Indian oil and gas public sector companies, to enhance engagement with Russian stakeholders in the energy sector.
They noted with satisfaction, the fruitful, wide-ranging collaboration between the oil and gas companies of the two countries, including between JSC Rosneft Oil Company and Oil and Gas Public Sector Undertakings of India in implementing the Vankorneft, Sakhalin-1 and Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha projects in Russia, and Nayara Energy Limited’s oil refinery in India.
The two sides also welcomed prospective two-way investment initiatives of both countries, which are currently under discussion.
India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment for increasing sourcing of Russian crude oil on long-term contracts through preferential pricing, strengthening LNG imports to India, and the possible utilisation of the Northern Sea Route for energy supplies.
The two sides further agreed for the expansion of cooperation in the gas sector and welcomed the creation of a Gas Task Force to identify mutually beneficial areas including the development of investment in gas infrastructure and distribution projects, use of natural gas in transport and emerging fuels including hydrogen.
Both sides, appreciating the strength of the Indian petrochemical market, agreed to expand collaboration through Russian participation by way of investment, technological and other ways of collaboration in the Indian petrochemical sector.
They welcomed the interest of Nayara Energy in the production of products like polypropylene in India, the statement said.
The two countries also agreed to consider prospects for expanding cooperation in hydro and thermal power, energy efficiency and the sector of renewable energy.
They also noted the need for cooperation in hydrogen economy, low-emission development, including exchange of best practices.