India and Russia have a decades-old bilateral relationship. Diplomatic relations between India and Russia began even before India achieved independence, on 15 August 1947. In the period immediately following independence, the goal for India was of attaining economic self-sufficiency through investment in heavy industry. The Soviet Union invested in several new enterprises in the areas of heavy machine-building, mining, energy production and steel plants. During India’s second Five Year Plan, of the sixteen heavy industry projects set up, eight were initiated with the help of the Soviet Union. This included the establishment of the world-famous IIT Bombay.
The historic moment in relations between India and the Soviet Union was the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in August 1971. The Treaty was the manifestation of shared goals of the two nations as well as a blueprint for the strengthening of regional and global peace and security. Since then, the bilateral relations between India and Russia have flourished expeditiously.
Traditionally, the Indo-Russian strategic partnership has been built on five major components: politics, defence, civil nuclear energy, anti-terrorism co-operation and space. The planned visit of Foreign Secretary of India Mr. Harsh Shringla to Moscow on 17-18 February 2021, prior to the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit to be held in the first half of 2021 is of substantial significance.
The visit is a part of preparations for the 21st India Russia Annual Summit and includes Foreign Secretary of India Mr. Harsh Vardhan Shringla’s meeting with Hon’ble Deputy Foreign Minister of Russia Mr. Igor Margulov to finalize a high-level interaction calendar for Hon’ble President of Russia Mr. Vladimir Putin’s visit to India for the 21st India Russia Annual Summit.
From the perspective of strengthening India Russia bilateral trade, these all events will play a crucial role along with other measures to boost the bilateral trade which are as follows:
-An India Russia Green Corridor to be established soon.
-The multi-modal International North-South Transportation Corridor, already planned, will reduce the transit time and costs for containers to get from Mumbai via Iran to Russia and onwards to Central Asia or Western Europe.
-Negotiations on an India-Eurasian Economic Union FTA are to be completed very soon.
Tribhuvan Darbari, MD & CEO – Texmaco Defence Systems Private Limited, Chief Executive (Corporate Business) – Texmaco Rail & Engineering, said that this visit of Foreign Secretary of India Mr. Harsh Shringla to Moscow after the disengagement between India and China along the LAC is also strategically important as Hon’ble Foreign Secretary of India is expected to draw up a roadmap with his counterpart in Russia to deepen the strategic ties that enabled incessant supply of defence items for the military during India and China stand-off along the LAC.
Tribhuvan Darbari further added that Texmaco has a strong relationship with Russia and has signed several strategic ‘Make in India’ MoUs with globally renowned Russian OEMs.Texmaco has also arrived at an understanding to set-up a dedicated Indo-Russian Centre of Excellence for facilitating the transfer and promotion of advanced emerging technologies, such as: Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things (loT), Cyber Security, Blockchain, Robotics, Quantum and Cloud Technology and other emerging ‘State-of-the-art-Technologies’ from Russia and other sources.
Tribhuvan Darbari also said that we all wish for the success of this visit as the core objective of the visit is to revive the proposed Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor and finding ways to increase bilateral trade, which is currently worth $10-11 billion.
Mr. Ajai Malhotra, a former Indian career diplomat who has also served as Ambassador of India to the Russian Federation, in his article in the Economic Times, said, “With the original India-Russia cumulative investment target of $30 billion by 2025 already being exceeded, the performance snapshot of our trade & economic cooperation changes radically when the two-way investment is taken into account.”
“As preparation for the annual summit, Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu would visit India in early 2021 for the IGC on Military and Military-Technical Cooperation. It would review the timely delivery to India of five S-400 air defence systems, the purchase/construction of four stealth frigates, besides progress in implementing projects to make AK-203 rifles and Ka-226 light utility helicopters in India. A long-term Military-Technical Cooperation Program for 2021-30 would be finalized as also an IGA,” according to the article by Mr. Ajai Malhotra.
On the basis of the above-mentioned facts, Tribhuvan Darbari said that this visit and several other high-level engagements and summit in the pipeline are expected to give a push to pending projects as well as open a new window of multiple opportunities to boost the India-Russia trade partnership.