MEETING OF INDIA-RUSSIA FOREIGN MINISTERS
To build on the common “resilient” ground, Indian and Russian Foreign Ministers addressed each other’s concerns on a wide range of issues. The issues range from defence supplies to the S-400 air defence system, India’s role in Afghanistan and Taliban’s involvement in power-sharing to cooperation on Covid vaccines and India’s participation in the Quad grouping.
Discussed Cooperation in Following Sectors: Economic opportunities in the Russian Far East.
The Russian Far East stretches from Lake Baikal, the world’s largest freshwater lake, to the Pacific Ocean and comprises roughly a third of Russia’s territory. Although it is rich in natural resources including minerals, hydrocarbons, timber and fish, it is an economically underdeveloped region.
Leveraging the Atmanirbhar Bharat campaign to boost manufacturing in India. Connectivity through the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC). INSTC is a multi-modal transportation established in September 2000 in St. Petersburg, by Iran, Russia and India for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation. The Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern maritime corridor. It is a maritime route covering approximately 5,600 nautical miles, aimed at increasing bilateral trade between India and Russia. Long standing partnership in space and nuclear sectors.
S-400 AIR DEFENCE SYSTEM
Issues regarding the sale of the S-400 air defence system figured in the discussions. The S-400 Triumf is a mobile, surface-to-air missile system (SAM) designed by Russia. It is the most dangerous operationally deployed modern long-range SAM (MLR SAM) in the world, considered much ahead of the US-developed Terminal High Altitude Area Defense system (THAAD). While India is keen on buying it, the USA has expressed reservations by threatening sanctions under Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
Views on Military Alliance and Indo-Pacific: Military Alliance: Russian Foreign Minister clarified that the Russia-China relations are at the highest in the history, but these relations do not pursue a goal of establishing a military alliance. He also referred to the Quad grouping and called it an “Asian NATO”, a term sometimes used by China. Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad) is an informal strategic dialogue between India, USA, Japan and Australia with a shared objective to ensure and support a “free, open and prosperous” Indo-Pacific region.
Indo-Pacific: Russia and India are working for stability and connectivity in the Asia-Pacific and urged that “military alliances” should not come up in Asia. Russia referred to the formulation of “Asia Pacific” while India referred to “Indo-Pacific”.
Afghan Peace: There is a need to “harmonise” the interests of various stakeholders that are active in and around Afghanistan. The peace process should be based on foundational principles and a political solution should mean independent, sovereign, united and democratic Afghanistan. Decision on the settlement in Afghanistan should foresee the participation of all political, ethnic and religious groups in the country. Otherwise the solution will not be stable. It needs to be noted that India was not a part of a recent meeting led by Russia on Afghan peace.
Medical Cooperation: The Russian Fund for Direct Investment has signed contracts with various Indian manufacturers for Sputnik V vaccines for 700-750 million doses. Both ministers also took up the possible export of the Covaxin to Russia which is likely to be cleared by experts.
RELATIONSHIP B/W INDIA & RUSSIA
Political (Annual Summit): The Annual Summit meeting between the Prime Minister of India and the President of the Russian Federation is the highest institutionalized dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between India and Russia.
Economic: India-Russia trade, amounting to USD 10.11 billion in 2019-2020, is far below the potential. Both countries have set the bilateral trade target at USD 30 billion by 2025.
Defence and Security: BrahMos Missile System as well as the licensed production in India of SU-30 aircraft and T-90 tanks, are examples.
Cooperation in Nuclear Energy: Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) is being built in India with Russian cooperation. Cooperation in Space Sector: Cooperation in Gaganyaan program.
COMMON MULTILATERAL FORUM B/W BOTH THE COUNTRIES
BRICS: BRICS is an acronym for the grouping of the world’s leading emerging economies, namely Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa. The BRICS Leaders’ Summit is convened annually. BRICS does not exist in the form of organization, but it is an annual summit between the supreme leaders of five nations. The Chairmanship of the forum is rotated annually among the members, in accordance with the acronym B-R-I-C-S. BRICS cooperation in the past decade has expanded to include an annual programme of over 100 sectoral meetings. Together, BRICS accounts for about 40% of the world’s population and about 30% of the GDP (Gross Domestic Product), making it a critical economic engine. It’s an emerging investment market and global power bloc.
Shanghai Cooperation Organisation: SCO is a permanent intergovernmental international organisation. It’s a Eurasian political, economic and military organisation aiming to maintain peace, security and stability in the region. It was created in 2001. The SCO Charter was signed in 2002, and entered into force in 2003. It is a statutory document which outlines the organisation's goals and principles, as well as its structure and core activities. The SCO's official languages are Russian and Chinese. Prior to the creation of SCO in 2001, Kazakhstan, China, Kyrgyzstan, Russia and Tajikistan were members of the Shanghai Five. Shanghai Five (1996) emerged from a series of border demarcation and demilitarization talks which the four former Soviet republics held with China to ensure stability along the borders. Following the accession of Uzbekistan to the organisation in 2001, the Shanghai Five was renamed the SCO. India and Pakistan became members in 2017.
India Engaging Russia Into Indo-Pacific Narrative: India should pursue and facilitate Russia’s engagement in the Indo-Pacific. Russia’s active engagement in the region would contribute to making the Indo-Pacific truly “free and inclusive”.
Prioritizing RIC (Russia, India & China) in Indian Foreign Policy: India can also promote a mutually beneficial trilateral cooperation between Russia, China, and India that could contribute towards the reduction of mistrust and suspicion between India and China.
Q.1 Which of the following Ministers of the Russian Government was recently on a visit to India?
- Sergey Shoygu
- Vladimir Yakushev
- Sergey Lavrov: ANSWER
- None of the above
Q.2 Consider the following statements and state which of the following is incorrect in the reference to the talks b/w the India & Russian counterpart?
- Russia and India are working for stability and connectivity in the Asia-Pacific and urged that “military alliances” should not come up in Asia.
- Russian Foreign Minister referred to the Quad grouping and called it an “Asian CSTO”, Collective Security Treaty Organization, a term sometimes used by China.
- Only I follows
- Only II follows: ANSWER
- Both I & II is correct
- None is correct
Q.3 The International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) is a multi-modal transportation established in 2000 in St. Petersburg by which of the following countries for the purpose of promoting transportation cooperation?
- India, Russia & Kazakhstan
- Iran, India & Russia: ANSWER
- Iran, Kazakhstan, Russia
- Ukraine, India, Russia
Q.4 Which of the following is not the common multilateral platform between India & Russia in which both countries shared same goals and objectives?
- BRICS NATIONS
- South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation: ANSWER
- Shanghai Cooperation Organisation
- All of the above
Q.5 Consider the following statements & state which of the following is/are correct in the reference to the
- Human spaceflight module of Gaganyaan will be launched after the second unmanned mission planned in 2022-23.
- Under the Gaganyaan Mission there will be two unmanned flights and no human spaceflight: ANSWER
- GSLV Mk III, the launch vehicle will be used to launch Gaganyaan as it has the necessary payload capability.
- None of the above