Relationship between India and Russia is rooted in history, friendship, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation
Sammy Kotwani, the President of the Indian Business Alliance (IBA) in Moscow
A strategic partnership unwithered by time and changing global geopolitical scenario. A deep rooted philosophical bonding and friendship between the people. The acceptance of yoga, meditation, and Indian philosophy by Russians is an acknowledgement for this, even the famous Vladimir Visotski dedicated a song to Indian Philosophy.
The friendship treaty between USSR and India was the manifestation of the shared goals of the two nations as well as a blueprint for the strengthening of regional and global peace and security. The unconditional support by USSR/Russia on numerous issues for India in the UN security councils has to be recollected.
But unfortunately, Indo-Russian relations have made little progress since they stalled following the end of the Cold War. Today the special and privileged strategic partnership focuses heavily on defence cooperation, while the economic partnership remains low. While the relationship remains generally strong and without significant obstacles, both countries need to critically examine the substance and future of their ties for more coherent policies for the economic and cultural relationship.
The process of re-establishing the multi-dimensional relationship is slow, the special and privileged strategic partnership status should ride through the unpredictable geo-political and geo-economic shifts both at the regional and global levels. We have to overcome the old romanticism of the Indo-Soviet ties and engage at a pragmatic level keeping in mind the present and the future for both the countries with a long term vision. We cannot deny the mutual trust and friendship that exists between the two countries but the divergences in the goals of the two nations have differed in recent times fuelled by both bilateral and international factors and have the potential to deeply impact the future of the Indo-Russia relationship.
A new reset
Energy and defence are the core of the bilateral relationship but are no longer enough on their own, necessitating a search for new areas to serve as catalysts for expanded cooperation. The presence of USSR/Russian companies in areas such as metallurgy, thermal power, hydro power and heavy machinery has been replaced by western companies or indigenous suppliers.
India and Russia need to explore several new areas of cooperation. Some of the focus areas should be future soft skills, IT, AI, robotics, quantum computing, nuclear energy, biotech, aerospace and composites.
Building knowledge-based economies based on science and technology, innovation, focussing on infrastructure, skill development, agriculture, shipbuilding, railways, aviation and greater connectivity, especially people-to-people contacts. Special focus will be given to cooperation between the younger generation and cultural sphere.
The engagement can be taken up to the next level when there is a deep cooperation in Science & Technology and cultural tie-ups between the people. Today, a common Indian hasn’t seen any Russian product for civilian use.
In the international arena both countries should have similar positions and coordinate their actions. Russia's support to Indian SCO membership and India’s permanent membership to the United Nations Security Council is a great symbol of support. Both the countries share similar views on fighting terrorism without double standards, a more representative multi-polar world order based on international law with UN playing a central role, and resolving threats to international peace and security.
We wholeheartedly open our arms and hearts in welcoming the President of Russia to India. India and Russia will continue to remain a role model for harmonious and mutually beneficial partnership and strong friendship between states. This will be to the benefit of our states and international community as a whole.