India’s friendship with Russia: Myth or reality

Russia and india Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock
Russia and India Images, Stock Photos & Vectors | Shutterstock

India and Russia is said to share cordial relations and let us check the reality of this friendship

International relations have gained immense significance since time immemorial. India also handles its external relations with due importance. This has made India a significant player in international relations by establishing close relations with biggest nations of the world. One of the most important relation among them are India’s close ties with Russia.

 Russia and its forefather USSR have always stood with India since independence. There were several instances when the socialist nation has offered support both ideologically as well as in person. Let us look into some such instances:


The Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission (IRIGC) is a significant institution that manages the intergovernmental activities between both countries. It is considered as the steering committee of Indo-Russia relations. It has two wings, the first covering Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Co-operation and is normally co-chaired by the deputy prime minister of Russia and the External affairs minister of India. The second wing of the commission deals with Military Technical Co-operation and is co-chaired by the respective Defense ministers of two countries. Both parts of IRIGC meet annually.


Historically, there has been a long history of cooperation between the Soviet Union and India in space. Examples include Aryabhata , India’s first satellite, was launched by the Soviet Union on 19 April 1975 from Kapustin Yar using a Kosmos 3M launch vehicle. Under Interkosmos space program, Rakesh Sharma was also launched by the Soviet Union. 


The Soviet Union was an important supplier of defense equipment for several decades, and this role has been inherited by the Russian federation. Russia 68%, USA 14% and Israel 7.2% are the major arms suppliers to India (2012-2016), and India and Russia have deepened their make in India defense manufacturing cooperation by signing agreements for the construction of naval frigates, Twin engine utility helicopters, Brahmos Cruise missiles and such joint venture initiatives. The co-operation is not limited to a buyer-seller relationship but includes joint research and development, training, service to service contacts, including joint exercises.


Bilateral trade between both countries is concentrated in key value chain sectors. These sectors include highly diversified segments such as aerospace, machinery, electronics, fertilizers, precious stones, oil, etc. Both Governments have jointly developed an economic strategy that involves using a number of economic components to increase future bilateral trade. Also, a Joint study group has been appointed to study the prospects of free trade.


Irrespective of the changing government policies both countries have supported each other in political matters. Non participation of India in UN meetings to condemn Russian invasion of Ukraine and USSR’s support during Bangladesh war of 1971 are few examples. The socialist idea of planning is also an example of India’s relation with Russia and USSR.


On 7 November 2009, India signed a new nuclear deal with Russia apart from the deals that were agreed upon by the two countries earlier. India and Russia are in discussion for construction of two more nuclear power units at Kudankulam. Two units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant are already operational. Similarly, several initiatives have been taken up by these nations collectively to ensure energy efficiency.


Recently Russia has signed an agreement by which imports from Russia could be paid in Rupees. This was in response to India’s support for Russia even during trade restrictions from nations around the world. For the rupee-rouble mechanism to be implemented, Indian importers would pay for goods to the accounts of Russian banks in India and they in turn would make the payment in roubles to the Russian exporters.

The countries have agreed to carry forward a special and privileged strategic relationship. Irrespective of the changing governments both nations have stood in support of each other during the hardest times.

Reference: Wikipedia

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