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India and Russia Ties amidst uncertainties in Afghanistan:

GS Paper 2:

Topics covered: Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests, Indian diaspora.

 

Context: Amid unprecedented developments in the region, India and Russia have a series of engagements lined up in the next few months leading up to the summit between the two leaders. 

Facts for prelims:

  • Indian pavilion showcasing ‘Make in India’ in the defence sector at the International Army 2021 expo in Moscow.
  • INS Tabartook part in naval exercises with the Russian Navy as part of INDRA-NAVY 2021.
  • 250 troops from the First Mechanized Regiment will be taking part in the INDRA-ARMY 2021 in Volgograd.
  •  200 strong battalion from 3 Nagas to come for ZAPAD exercises in Russia in September.

Uncertainty in Afghanistan and its impact on Indo-Russian ties:

  • The fast-changing developments in Afghanistan have, of course, taken everyone by surprise — unexpected as to their speed, as well as their consequences.
  • Security ramifications: India and Russia are in affected even more due to the rise of Islamic fundamentalist and radical groups.
    •  The sanctuary that could be claimed by terror groups – their impact on security interests- both for India and Russia and the impact on normal inter-state relations especially with respect to Central Asia.
    • The additional threats emanating from drug trafficking, organized crime and the flow of refugees. This could potentially upend the very foundations of interstate relations in the broader region. 

 

Ongoing and upcoming Defence Projects with Russia:

  • The S-400 anti-aircraft weapon system will be delivered shortly.
  • Manufacture of two frigates of Project 1135.6 in Kaliningrad, in parallel with the production of 3rd and 4th units of the same frigates at the Goa shipyard.
  • Production of AK-203 advanced assault Kalashnikov rifle which will be produced by an India-Russia joint venture in Uttar Pradesh, which when completed will be a 100% Indian product.
  • The Kamov Ka-226, twin-engine Russian utility helicopter, one more project as part of made in India.
  • Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) and a Navy-to-Navy cooperation MoU planned to be signed later this year.
  • A 2+2 mechanism at Ministerial level is envisaged to hold its first meeting in Delhi later this year.

 

Deepening Trade ties with Russia:

  • The Joint Commission on Economic and Trade Cooperation, co-Chaired by Deputy Prime Minister Borisov on the Russian side and the External Affairs Minister Dr. S. Jaishankar on the Indian side to meet and discuss various aspects of trade.
  • The major components are coking coal for our growing steel industry or fertilizers for our expanding agriculture sector. 
  • Prime Minister has announced an export target of 400 billion dollars.
  • PM announced a 1-billion-dollar credit line for India’s business participation in Russia’s Far East, which is geo-politically and economically significant.
  • Indian investments in major projects such as Vostok Oil, which is one of the largest energy projects in the world, Arctic LNG and petrochemical sector in Russia as well as Russian investments in the very attractive Indian energy sector are being considered.

Science and Technology Cooperation:

    • Joint Commission on Science and Technology:Proposal to establish a separate Joint Commission on Science and Technology Cooperation which would encompass high technology areas such as artificial intelligence, cyber, quantum, nano, bio-advances etc.
  • climate change: Cooperation on Hydrogen Economy.Adapting our economies to the imperatives of climate change.
  • Vaccine: Cooperation in production of new vaccines, building on our cooperation on Sputnik V is another promising area.
  • Nuclear Energy:On the nuclear front, construction of 6 nuclear reactors in Kudankulam and the amount of indigenization and technologies that are used in India is increasing.
    • India and Russia are working closely Rooppur nuclear power project in Bangladesh 
    • In other projects as well, especially in third country markets, India and Russia have the potential of designing a nuclear reactor specifically for developing countries and this too is a very promising area of cooperation.
  • Space Technology: Space and nuclear power continue to be two important pillars of our cooperation with Russia.
    •  In March this year, upcoming astronauts completed a year-long program of training of fourIAF officers in the Russian Space Academy. 
    • India-Russia Cooperation in the space field, on Gaganyaan would continue in certain other aspects. Russia is helping us with the design of view ports and life support systems. 
    • The space suits are being stitched in Russia and the Astronauts will be coming here to Moscow to undertake individual-wise tailoring measurements. 

Way forward:

  • Set up a mechanism that would provide for quality conversations between India and Russia that would be action oriented, to align our interests in such a way that our security interests bilaterally.
  • As Indiabelong to this region, unlike extra regional powers, India and Russia will need to work together even more than before.
  • It is important for India and Russia to adapt to new realities, step up their cooperation and to insulate and protect their national interests from the instability that is expected to radiate out of Afghanistan for some time to come. 
  • This is vital for protecting India’s continental security interests.

 

Insta-curious link

Do you know the historical timeline of Afghanistan? Reference

 

Prelims link

  1. About Taliban. 
  2. Afghan Crisis. 
  3. About NATO. 
  4. India’s investments in Afghanistan Projects. 

Mains link

Discuss how India should engage with Afghanistan now.