India, Russia expand relations and military cooperation


Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi is shaking hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a meeting at the Hyderabad House in New Delhi, India on December 6, 2021.

Sonu Meta | Hindustan Times | Getty Images

India and Russia signed more than 20 agreements in various fields on Monday and signed a 10-year defense cooperation agreement.

28 agreements signed the President of Russia Vladimir PutinVisit to New Delhi and talks with the Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi During the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit Meeting.

“With the diversity of agreements [memorandum of understandings] India’s Vice-Minister for Foreign Affairs Hirsch Baldan Schlingra at a press conference demonstrates the multifaceted nature of the bilateral partnership signed today. “

“India and Russia have also signed a cooperation program in the field of defense for the next decade from 2021 to 2031,” he added.

Keep options open

Putin’s visit to India is at a time when relations between Russia and the United States are tense.

On his side, Modi met the President of the United States Joe Biden September and Attend Biden’s first face-to-face quad leader summit.. The United States sees India as a major ally to counter China’s growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region.

The meeting between Modi and Putin on Monday showed that India wants to keep its options open, according to Richard Rossou, chairman of the US-India Policy Study at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“India is concerned about the credibility of the United States as a partner, not just in the field of defense, but has expressed concern about India’s religious tolerance and things,” Rosou told CNBC.Skoke Box Asia” on Tuesday.

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“I think they have most of the eggs in their U.S. baskets, but looking around, they want to keep their options open, at least when it comes to defenses that require strategic skills.” He said. Meanwhile, Moscow wants to prevent any country, including China, from taking hegemony across Asia, Rossou explained.

“Therefore, I think both have top-priority strategic interests, regardless of their relationship with the United States or other countries,” he added.

Defense cooperation

In a joint statement on Monday, India and Russia will strengthen defense cooperation, including “promoting collaborative development and production of military equipment, parts and spare parts, strengthening after-service systems, progress towards mutual recognition of quality control, regular joint exercises, etc.” I have an intention. ” The armies of both countries. “

Russia remains one of India’s largest arms suppliers. Approximately 23% of Russia’s arms exports from 2016 to 2020 are destined for South Asian countries, Reportedly From Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.

Foreign Minister Schlingla said on Monday that Russia had begun delivering long-range S-400 surface-to-air missile defense systems to India under an agreement signed by the two countries in 2018.

“Supply started this month and will continue,” he said. “We have an independent foreign policy, whether we or Russia, and we don’t need to consider it.” I think. Our relationship in the light of the other relationships out there. “

However, this partnership could lead to sanctions from the United States. Under the law of 2017 The purpose was to discourage allies from purchasing Russian weapons.Last year, Washington Turkey approved for purchase of S-400 missile system..

Media reports also said The two countries have signed a contract to locally manufacture more than 600,000 Russian AK-203 assault rifles in India.

Rossow of CSIS said the scope of military cooperation between India and Russia is limited by the lack of areas in which they share interests.

“In the next decade, we will see some nominal exercises, continued defense sales, and perhaps some areas of other types of technical cooperation, but the true depth of the relationship. , Practicality in the field, there are not many theaters with common interests, so it is still very limited. “

In recent years, India has stepped up its purchase of military equipment from the United States, but most of its defense inventory is still of Russian origin.

last year, The United States has signed a contract with India This will give New Delhi access to US satellite data that is important for targeting missiles and other military assets.

India, Russia expand relations and military cooperation

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