By Siksha Singh Image: mil.ru
India-Russia Strategic Partnership: The Way Forward
India and Russia have had decade’s old
privileged friendship based on trust and mutual interests. A relationship which
has been nurtured with utmost care and precision over the years. Russia’s
unflinching support for India on Kashmir issue where it helped veto the Kashmir
issue and also extended its unsolicited help during the 1971 Bangladesh war is
also a notable mention. In the initial years post-independence, the former
Soviet Union came to India’s rescue by lending hand to develop its core
industries which were at a nascent stage. India also owes a great deal to
Moscow for its scientific and technological development. Moscow and New Delhi
are committed to developing a multipolar world order despite having a different
interpretation of its characterisation.
Recently Indian Prime minister Narendra Modi
and Russian President Vladimir Putin met in Sochi as part of an informal summit
and had wide-ranging talks on issues ranging from defence cooperation, military
and international issues having a significant bearing on both of their
economies. The meeting was seen as a high point since the relations have not
seen a positive trend in recent years. Russia’s cold response to Dokalam crisis
did not instil much enthusiasm and confidence in South Block. There are
several reasons which have contributed to strained relations between the two.
First is Russia’s growing bonhomie with China
post-Ukraine Crisis and its sale of Su-30 30MKK/MK2 fighters especially Su-35
along with S-400 long-range anti-aircraft missiles which have led to
Sino-Indian military imbalance. Russia has been reeling under economic
sanctions and therefore considers China as a more suitable partner for
solutions to its economic woes.
Second are India’s efforts to forge military
deals with France, Israel and United States. Recent years have seen the United
States and Israel become the largest defence trade partners of India overtaking
Russia which has had a detrimental impact on the ties. India should not
undermine Russia’s importance as far as other critical infrastructures like
nuclear submarines are concerned. Diversifying its nuclear arsenals through
procurement from other nations may irk Russia which can hamper our national
security as well.
Third and most pivotal is India’s growing
propinquity to the United States of America which has not gone down well with
the Russian bureaucracy. However, India allayed Russia’s fear when the Indian
Prime Minister gave a feisty speech at Shangri La Dialogue earlier this year
reaffirming the cherished and nuanced positioning of India on International
issues as well as independent decision making without external manoeuvring.
These issues have resulted in a rough patch,
therefore, India needs to do a fine balancing act. The good part is India knows
that pragmatism and balance of power are the keys while handling its foreign
policy, In respect of major power blocs like Russia since strategic ties with
Moscow are very crucial for India, as 70% of our defence inventory is dominated
by Russian systems. What should underline our continued strategic overreach
with the former Soviet nation are the civil nuclear energy, defence cooperation
and efforts to bring to fruition agreements for Oil and natural gas from
Russia. India should make sincere efforts to solicit Russian cooperation to
ensure its own strategic interests as losing out on an ally like Russia would
not bode well for long-term Indian interests.
About the Author
Siksha Singh is a member of the Information Services team at MitKat Advisory Services.
Disclaimer: Any views or opinions represented in this blog are of the author and do not represent those of MitKat. Any views or opinions are not intended to malign any religion, ethnic group, club, organization, company, or individual.