India and Russia on Friday signed eight pacts pertaining to defence, space exploration, trade, and energy, with a deal on S-400 Triumf surface to air missile (SAM) system being the most vital strategic agreement between the two countries.
The Russian President was on a visit to New Delhi for the 19th Indo-Russian annual bilateral summit between the two historic allies. The two sides also signed agreements on tackling issues like drug trafficking and disaster management. Here’s a list of the major agreements signed between India and Russia:
S-400 Triumf Surface to Air Missiles (SAM)
Russia providing state of the art surface to air missile system, S-400 Triumf, to India has been the biggest takeaway from Putin’s visit to India. The S-400 Triumf SAM is said to be the most formidable air defence system in the world in the present day and supersedes its American counterparts Patriot SAM or THAAD (Terminal High Altitude Area Defense) when it comes to guarding their country’s airspace against enemy aircrafts or other ballistic threats.
The deal comes at a time when the United States and Russia are engaged in some of the biggest geopolitical conflicts since the cold war, with US imposing sanctions on countries that attempt to buy military hardware from Russia. The US has, however, clarified that its legislation, namely, Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) is a diplomatic instrument to gain leverage against its adversaries, not to ‘weaken its allies’.
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Besides the S-400 Triumf deal, India and Russia reaffirmed their commitment to enhancing military cooperation.
President Putin’s visit to India was crucial to India’s ambitions of furthering its space exploration programmes with special emphasis on the nation’s first of its kind mission to send astronauts to space on without depending on foreign assistance. The mission, which is officially known as ‘Gaganyaan’ is expected to gain considerable Russian support in terms of space technology. A crucial MoU was signed between the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Federal Space Agency of Russia ‘ROSCOSMOS’ with respect to joint activities in the field of human spaceflight programme Gaganyaan.
Along with assistance to India ‘s ambitious ‘Gaganyaan’ project, Russia has also agreed to set up data collection ground stations for India’s recently developed navigation system NaVIC. The two sides also agreed to develop cooperation on BRICS remote sensing satellite constellation.
Cochin Shipyard pact with Russia to boost water transport
India’s Cochin Shipyard signed a pact with Russian firm United Shipbuilding Corporation in what can be seen to be an attempt to boost water transport. As per the pact, the Russian shipbuilding company will provide the technical support to develop advanced vessels suitable for inland waterways and coastal transportation. India is also engaged in talks with other Russian firms in the field of water transport as the country is bestowed with 20,000 km of river length and 7,500 km coastline.
“State-owned CSL..is now planning to make a joint venture with Russian company USC …it has already been formalised. At the same time we are planning a tie-up in river transport like catamarans, seaplane technology and other areas,” Union Minister Nitin Gadkari was quoted as saying by PTI.
A memorandum of cooperation (MoC) signed between the Ministry of Railways and the Russian Railways intends to further the activities taken up under a previously signed memorandum of understanding (MoU) between India and Russia on December 24, 2015. The MoC includes the implementation of a ‘speed-upgradation project’ in the Nagpur-Secunderabad section, installation of a single traffic-control centre for efficient management of rail traffic at the local level, efficient practices in freight and cargo operations, development of multi-modal terminals and a mutual exchange of the advanced technologies used by the two countries.
An additional MoU was also signed between the two countries for the cooperation in transport education with an aim to avail organisational and methodological assistance to the higher educational institutions. It also envisages cooperation between the Russian University of Transport and the National Rail Transportation Institute, Vadodara to organise educational transport seminars jointly.
The Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Indian Potash Ltd and producers of phosphate-containing fertilisers PhosAgro Friday announced joint investments in mineral fertiliser production in Russia and India. As per the agreement, PhosAgro is expected to supply mineral fertilisers to Indian firms on a long-term basis. PhosAgro has agreed to supply a maximum of 2 million tonne (MT) during 2019-2021 which is estimated to have a potential value of $1 billion, the company was quoted as stating in its press release. “This cooperation agreement significantly contributes to the development of Russia’s high-tech non-energy exports and gives an additional impetus to further investments into our mineral fertilisers sector, which in turn will bolster Russia’s and India’s food security and increase trade between our countries,” PhosAgro CEO Andrey Guryev was quoted as saying by PTI.
The two countries noted that the volume of annual bilateral trade soared by 20 per cent during the previous year. Russia and India also agreed upon encouraging the use of national currencies while engaging in bilateral trade. The two countries also reviewed the progress on the achievement of the objective to increase inter-depending investment to $30 billion by the year 2025. Russia and India have signed the MoU between National Small Industries Corporation of India and the Russian Small and Medium Business Corporation for boosting the economies through cooperation at a micro level.
President Putin invited India to invest in the Russian Far Eastern region with India welcoming the decision to open an office of the Far East Agency in Mumbai. The Indian delegation, which was led by the Minister for Commerce & Industry Suresh Prabhu, participated in the Eastern Economic Forum in Vladivostok in September 2018. A high-level Russian delegation is scheduled to visit India in order to organise investment road-shows and promote greater Indian investments in the Far East.
Agreement on consultation between the foreign ministries of Russia and India
Besides the above mentioned MoUs, a ‘Protocol for Consultations between the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Ministry of External Affairs (India)’ was signed for the period 2019-2023. This was undertaken with an effort to execute a comprehensive policy vis-a-vis international relations of the two countries.