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At the Russian-Indian summit held in New Delhi, there were signed the order of 20 agreements worth several tens of billions of dollars
The first Russian-Indian summit took place against the background of the growing cooling of relations between Russia and the West due to the crisis in Ukraine, and the transactions concluded between India and Russia worth tens of billions of dollars predictably aroused surprise. In essence, the meeting between Modi and Putin stressed that India and Russia are ready to move away from the cliches of “time-tested”, “special” and “privileged” relations and bring more economic substance and strategic weight into them in the context of rapidly changing geopolitical realities. The success of the revitalization of Russian-Indian relations depends on the specific actions on the order of the 20 agreements concluded between the countries. But now 5 can draw key conclusions from the results of the last summit in New Delhi.
First of all helicopters
Russia will continue to be India’s key defense partner, despite the fact that New Delhi is expanding imports of military goods from other countries, including from the main geopolitical opponent of Russia - the United States. In a statement to the press after talks with the Russian president, Mr. Modi stressed that "even if the number of opportunities for India has increased, Russia remains for us the most important partner in the field of defense." Mr. Modi’s assurances about the central role of Moscow in providing India with modern weapons should sound like music for the ears of the Russian leader, who is becoming increasingly isolated from the Western world because of the policy towards Ukraine. To date, Russia's share in the import of military goods to India is 60 percent.
Speedy "peaceful atom"
Russia will also remain India’s main partner in the field of non-military atomic energy. In this regard, a separate agreement regarding nuclear energy and offering a "road map" of sequential construction of nuclear reactors on Russian projects in India over the next ten years looks particularly important. In addition to the two reactors in Kudankulam in the state of Tamil Nadu and four planned for construction there, India promised to choose an area in which another cluster of six atomic reactors would be built. This will bring the number of reactors built in accordance with Russian projects to 12. In the long term, it is possible to design eight more reactors, which guarantees Russia the superiority in the Indian market of atomic energy. Currently, the project is estimated for the Russian nuclear industry and the state monopoly Rosatom at least in 30-40 billion dollars. Another important aspect of the revised “roadmap” is that Russia will receive part of the reactor components from Indian companies.
In the relationship between India and Russia, a surge of energy will happen. The importance of cooperation in the field of hydrocarbons and the zeal with which Russia offers exploitation of its gas and oil fields to Indian companies are equally great. India has demonstrated its confidence in this area by sending the head of the oil and gas ministry, Dharmendru Pradan, to meet President Putin at the airport. The parties signed an ambitious cooperation program under the Intergovernmental Agreement on the Expansion of Cooperation in the Oil and Gas Sphere in the 2015-16 years, which consists of many projects, including joint exploration and production of hydrocarbons, long-term supplies of liquefied natural gas and joint study of the pipeline system connecting Russia with India. The agreement between TATA Power and the Russian Direct Investment Fund, which reinforces investment opportunities in exploration, also points to an increased focus on energy cooperation in Indian-Russian relations.
Restart economic ties
Economic relations between India and Russia can be set in motion if procedural barriers are removed, and agreements concluded during Putin’s visit will be operationalized. The parties raised the bar and set an ambitious goal to achieve a reciprocal trade turnover of 30 billion dollars by the year 2025. Ten years will be enough not only to achieve this goal, but also to exceed it. Compared to other countries, 30 billion dollars is a modest goal. By 2025, the trade turnover between India and China could reach 150-200 billion dollars. The United States has set a goal to quadruple trade with India, to 500 billion dollars.
In addition, the beginning of negotiations between India and the Eurasian Economic Commission on the achievement of full-fledged economic cooperation can become a factor in increasing the effectiveness of economic interaction.
One of the important but less discussed consequences of the Russian-Indian summit was the reaffirmed intention of the parties "to work together to achieve a multipolar and democratic world order based on the common interests of all countries." It may sound cliched, but if you think about the subtext, it becomes clear that, despite all the talk that India is drifting to the US camp, the country will retain its strategic autonomy and will work closely on a range of regional and global issues, including the world Terrorism, Afghanistan and the spread of nuclear energy. It is also important that President Putin repeated his words about Russia's support for India's admission to the UN Security Council as a permanent member, about India's participation in multilateral organizations of countries exporting nuclear energy, including the Nuclear Suppliers Group. Thus, Moscow will remain crucially important for many of India's long-sought strategic goals.
The way is ahead
In the long term, the Putin-Modi summit created a detailed model for the transformation of Russian-Indian relations, which slowly moved towards stagnation and fell into the trap of predictable diplomatic clichés. The agreements signed during the summit, especially the economic and energy ones, have great potential if they are implemented on time. However, the ultimate success of the restart of Russian-Indian relations will generally depend on trust in strategic issues.