New Delhi, December 11 (Telemedia) : India and Russia entered into a pact to strengthen its bilateral ties further by signing several agreements on strategic key areas. President of the Russain Federation Vladimir V.Putin who was here in on Thursday to attend 15th Annual Summit between the two countries. During the Summit, the leaders agreed on a vision for strengthening the India-Russia partnership over the next decade. Recognizing that the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has been built on the strong foundation of mutual trust, bilateral understanding and unique people-to-people affinities, the leaders emphasized that the time has come for a significant broad-basing of bilateral cooperation to carry the friendship between the countries to a qualitatively new level.
“India deeply values the monumental contributions made by Russia to India’s developmental and defence needs in the second half of the twentieth century’, says the Indian Prime Minister Narendar Modi. Both the leaders expressed confidence that a strong bilateral strategic partnership advances the national interests of the two countries and contributes to a more stable and secure world order. The two countries have resolved to strengthen this partnership over the next decade through concrete initiatives in diverse areas and to make the bilateral institutional dialogue architecture more result-oriented and forward-looking. While both leaders will continue to meet on the margins of multilateral events, the Annual Summits will review and supervise the progress in the realization of this vision for India-Russian partnership.
Acknowledging natural complementarities in the area of energy and India`s quest for energy security, the sides will expand manifold bilateral cooperation in the field of energy, including oil and gas, electric power production, nuclear energy, renewable energy sources, and energy efficiency.
The two countries view nuclear energy as a clean, reliable and viable source of energy. They have a joint vision for cooperation in nuclear energy, aimed at serial construction of nuclear power units, based on Russian design, as also on and existing and possible future bilateral agreements. India and Russia will expand their cooperation in science and technology, industry, localization of equipment and spares, uranium mining, fabrication and supply of nuclear fuel, management of spent fuel and in other aspects of the nuclear fuel cycle. Towards this objective, the Indian side agreed to expeditiously identify a second site, in addition to Kudankulam, for the construction of the Russian-designed nuclear power units in India.
Technology and Innovation
Noting the synergies between national efforts by the two countries to develop a knowledge-economy powered by technology and innovation, India and Russia will increase collaboration in joint design, development, manufacturing and marketing of technology-driven products and scientific interaction between the two countries. In particular, such cooperation will extend to space applications, defence technologies, aviation, new materials, communications and information technology.
Defence cooperation between India and Russia is founded on deep mutual trust and promotes wider peace and security. The two countries have already moved to a phase of joint design and development of defence systems. The sides recognize the virtually unlimited opportunities for enhancing this cooperation, increasingly based on joint research and development, joint manufacturing, technology sharing and collaborative research in futuristic technologies, in accordance with existing agreements on military-technical cooperation. To this end, India has permitted foreign direct investment in the defence sector up to 49 per cent. The sides will exploit these opportunities optimally and enrich bilateral interaction through regular joint military exercises, training in each other`s services institutions and institutionalized consultations between the armed forces.
India and Russia recognize the importance of the Arctic and the contributions in promoting cooperative activities to address Arctic issues by the Arctic Council, given that Russia is a member and India has joined as an observer in May 2013. The sides agreed to facilitate scientific cooperation to study the challenges (like melting ice, climate change, marine life and biodiversity), facing the rapidly-changing Arctic region.
Given the strategic importance of rare earth minerals and their economic and commercial utility, the sides will enhance cooperation in rare earth minerals’ mining, technology development and research. They will explore joint development of technologies for processing rare earth materials.
Expanded economic engagement
The two leaders recognized the enormous untapped potential in bilateral trade, investment and economic cooperation. The two governments will intensify efforts to identify measures to facilitate the full realization of this potential. They have encouraged Indian and Russian enterprises to explore more fully new opportunities arising from increasing national focus on infrastructure development and expanding the manufacturing sector. It is expected that Russian companies will utilize the opportunities in a wide range of Indian sectors and will ‘Make in India’.
The leaders noted that the International North-South Transport Corridor can vastly improve the efficiency of bilateral trade by significantly reducing transit time and freight costs. India and Russia will work together to conclude the necessary multilateral arrangements and outreach to step up the use of this corridor at the earliest. The leaders noted with satisfaction the progress made in promoting direct trade of diamonds between our two countries and particularly in facilitating enhanced diamond trade through diamond exchanges in India. These measures should expand the share of direct diamond exports from Russia to India significantly.
India-Russia mutual investment should become a new point of growth in bilateral economic cooperation. There will be constant focus on the agreed plans for bilateral investment cooperation, the sides will take all necessary measures to support successful implementation of such plans. An emphasis will be laid on promoting Russian investments in India in major infrastructure projects like DMIC, Smart Cities and Freight Corridors, as well as in broader sectors like telecom, power and roads. In Russia, Indian participation in Industrial Parks and technology platforms, in sectors like pharmaceuticals, fertilizers, coal and energy will be encouraged.
The sides will encourage specialized investment funds to invest in these sectors and in the joint manufacturing of high technology products. In this context, they welcome the initiative of a direct investment fund of US$ 2 billion between Rosnano and suitable Indian investment partners for implementation of high-tech projects. They will protect the legitimate interests of investing companies. In particular, the sides will enter into discussions to renegotiate the existing bilateral agreement for protection and promotion of investments, initially agreed on 23 December 1994, to provide for the protection of foreign investments in each other’s territory.
The sides will promote further strengthening and increasing the effectiveness of our bilateral inter-regional cooperation. They noted with satisfaction that many cities and regions in the two countries have established linkages (Cities: New Delhi-Moscow and St. Petersburg; Bangalore-Novosibirsk; Chandigarh-Ufa; Chennai-Volgograd; Hyderabad-Kazan; Kolkata-Vladivostok and Yaroslavl; Kochi-Pyatigorsk; Mumbai-St. Petersburg; Pune-Yekaterinburg; Panjim-Krasnodar; Thiruvanathapuram-Stavropol; Thrissur-Yessentuki. Regions: Andhra Pradesh-Tatarstan; Gujarat- Astrakhan and Tatarstan; Haryana-Bashkortostan; Karnataka-Irkutsk, Khanty-Mansiysk Autonomous Okrug-Ugra and Samara; Kerala-Irkutsk; Maharashtra-Siberia) for cooperation in various fields.
The leaders agreed to encourage linkages between other regions and cities of the two countries with a view to enhance trade and investment, tourism, cultural and people-to-people contacts. The leaders expressed confidence that a web of linkages between these and other regions and cities will bring substantial benefits to these regions and cities and bolster India-Russia partnership further. With these and other initiatives, the leaders agreed to step up efforts for enhancing bilateral trade in the coming years and set a target of bilateral trade turnover of goods and services at US$30 billion by the year 2025. It is expected that the level of mutual investments by then will be over US$15 billion each way.
The discussions and decisions of the two leaders, as well as the detailed agreements at the bilateral dialogue have given the leaders the confidence that objective political, economic, security and cultural factors will propel India-Russia partnership to a level that meets the aspirations of their people. The relationship between India and Russia has been tested by time and will continue to be a friendship based on complete trust that will bring happiness and prosperity to peoples of both countries.