Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
3 key defence agreements were signed between India and Russia.
Defence missile S-400 Triumph which will provide India a ballistic missile shield.
Making Kamov helicopters in India
Making four additional warships
India is trying to maintain a balance between Russia and USA. With Russia, India has good relations for last few decades and it has been 17th summit since 2000 when India and Russia signed strategic partnership. There have been ups and downs but whole partnership is based on mutual trust and friendship. The Core of the relationship for last few decades has been defence and technical cooperation where in last 15-17 years, more than 70% has been from Russia. But, there have been talks in last few years that India is now moving more towards USA and also buying from Europe.
Today, India and Russia are very close with defence, technical cooperation and energy being key pillars of partnership based on trust.
Missile defence system S400 is best in world at the moment. To India, it is a strategic paradigm as sophisticated equipment js given to India. Only China had been supplied by Russia before. This will change the regional security paradigm.
Space cooperation– There was special reference of Russian navigation GLONASS which India wanted to use it as an alternates to USA GPS. But this issue of GLONASS had been for a while and now things have moved beyond that. Today, India has developed own regional system and it is more concerned and focused on it. Any kind of additional help from the system is going to be useful.
Long term approach and outer space activities– In the past, Russia had tied up with China for Mars mission but it couldn’t take off. India went to Mangalyan and succeeded in the initiative. The relationship with Russia is long term relationship. So the key take away from the summit could be that after few years of drift, the outer space collaboration is back on track with Indo-Russian ties.
3 major pillars of India Russia relation– defence, energy (nuclear + hydrocarbon), trade and economics. First two pillars are strong but the weakest link between two countries continues to be commercial ties. There are plenty of issues concerning it – Connectivity issues where talks about new corridors like North South Trade Corridor (NSTC), rail line from Iran and Azerbaijan is going to Russia. Then there are visa issues and information gaps which act as irritants in commercial ties.
The target of 20 billion trade turnover was set in 2015 which is to be achieved by 2025 but it is still 7-8 billion dollars with Russia. Hence there is need for work on all fronts simultaneously.
Nuclear energy– two nuclear plants in TN are operational. The foundation of 3rd and 4th plant was laid during BRICS summit. India also talked of 5th and 6th unit and then 7th and 8th unit. Many years ago, India had agreed to have 16-18 nuclear power plants across the country with help of Russia. It is expected that India and Russia will achieve this goal.
In hydrocarbons, some 5.5 billion USD have been invested in Russia by Indian companies.
India’s major task has been: Russia is major source of oil and gas and India is largely dependent on it. So India will like to diversify energy resources from Middle East to Russia. So far the investments that have been made haven’t been much to India. Earlier, there were talks of bringing Russian hydrocarbons via gas pipelines. There are two ways of bringing it to India:
Russia-China pipeline exists and India can take advantage of it.
The second one is upto central Asia, where there are pipelines. From there it can take TAPI route to Afghanistan, Pakistan and then further to India. These routes have geopolitical implications as they have political and security risks.
BRICS summit and terrorism
History of BRICS- it came as a group of emerging economies which was going to dominate global economic scene in next 40-50 years. Alternative world view to western world view. The larger agenda is economic cooperation, sustainable development and now climate change also. In every summit, there is particular issue that is focused more and India focused more on terrorism part. But it has to be made sure that one issue is not going to derail other issues.
In ufa BRICS summit in 2015, India had flagged terrorism which is a key issue. BRICS decreed all forms of terror. India is now looking for actual paraphrasing that what will happen to countries which fund, abet and aid terror. But with china being a BRICS member and openly opposing India’s bid on azhar in UN, it is a difficult task.
Now, BRICS is a larger platform where terrorism is one of the issues amidst other global issue like global economic governance, climate change, trade and economic cooperation, education, culture, sustainable development goals.
As a host, India is interested in successful completion of the summit and it indicated about the strong emphasis on terrorism.
Russia has told Pakistan to shut down terrorist activities, China was in between and asked India and Pakistan to solve the issues after Uri attacks and surgical strikes. Unification of BRICS on such matters is important as other blocks like NATO are together in certain issues. But in BRICS, on issue of cross border terrorism, it has seen divisions in issues.
Connecting the dots:
What is the history of BRICS and why is it significant to India? What have been the key highlights of BRICS 2016?