For the last 15 years India-Russia bilateral summit has been taking place every year in the month of December.
PM Modi has described the Indo-Russia relations as “special privileged strategic ties”.
India and Russia had strong ties during 50s, 60s, 70s and 80s. The change in the international geopolitical scenario from late 80s, with the fall of Berlin Wall in 1989 and break up of USSR in the early 90s, Indo-Russian relations started getting affected.
The present visit by PM Modi is being seen as a course correction for India getting closer to the West. Two main factors that compelled India to look West – rise of China and the need of capital and technology. It seems that Russia has not taken kindly the moves made by India. Russia on its part moved closer to China. Beside, Russia is going through an economic depression.
Defence relations have been one of the cornerstones of Indo-Russia relations. 70% of our inventory consists of Russian armaments. But this has been dwindling now. During the Soviet times, Russia used to be a supplier. Now it is only collaborating – BrahMos and other 5th generation fighter air craft.
At the turn of the century, the trade between India and Russia was about $1.5 billion. In 2012, it was about $11 billion. Target was set to reach $30 billion by 2025. It is very less compared to that with China which is $70 billion and with USA which is $100 billion. India is trying to negotiate a free trade agreement with Eurasian Economic Zone (Russia, Belarus, and Kazakhstan).
Energy sector is another area where big investments were made – for example India invested in Sakhalin 1; Russia collaborated with India for Kudankulam reactors.
India did not vote against Russia in the Ukraine debate in UN.