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Discussion in 'Foreign Relations' started by bhramos, Dec 27, 2011.

  1. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    India and Russia reignite love in Moscow

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    It was after a string of high-profile multilateral summits that Prime Minister Manmohan Singh went for a big-shot bilateral in Moscow. The quick trip was high on advocacy of the relationship between the traditional allies, and Singh displayed no ambiguity in his stance, especially on the sticking points of India-Russia ties.

    He ended weeks of speculation over the Koodankulam nuclear plant, which was built with Russian assistance, declaring to his hosts that Koodankulam 1 (the first of the two reactors) would be operational in a fortnight. Koodankulam 2, he said, would follow in six months. The countries also agreed on Russian credit for Koodankulam 3 and 4.

    Then Singh warmed the Russian hearts by placing an order for 42 Sukhoi fighter jets for the Indian Air Force. The icing on the cake, however, was the agreement on GLONASS,
    the Russian alternative to the American Global Positioning System. “Partnering with GLONASS will help India in a range of areas, starting with disaster relief, search and rescue to targeting of strategic missiles,” said a source in the ministry of defence.

    Former diplomat Rajiv Sikri said both countries had breached the handicaps of the post-Cold War years. “The world has come a long way since 1990-91. India has risen economically and the Russian ruling class feels it best to have India, one of the fastest growing economies in the world, on its side due to the boost it provides to Russia's strong military-industrial sector,” he said.

    There is a renewed emphasis to publicise Russia's role in meeting the high-tech needs of India, thanks to the Russian elites' realisation that their country's future lies with BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa). Also, Russia knows its weight will help avert any friction between the growing economies like China and India. “Russia, unlike the west, does not disengage from problem areas and, as a result, its good offices are made available for conflict resolution in times of necessity,” said Sikri.

    Singh's Moscow visit coincided with Russia's entry into the World Trade Organisation. “Entering the WTO at a time when the Eurozone is going down and BRICS is emerging has proved the sceptics of Russia wrong. The visit of the PM was an opportunity for Russia to tell the west that it has started looking at the Global South to answer its dream of growth,” said Sikri.

    Some differences have cast a shadow on India-Russia ties. Last April Russia cancelled a joint naval exercise at Vladivostok, even though INS Delhi, INS Ranvir and INS Ranvijay had reached the exercise zone. It was followed by the cancellation of an India-Russia joint army exercise. The incidents were interpreted as an expression of Moscow's disappointment over missing the $10.5-billion Medium Multi-Role Combat Aircraft deal. India had rejected the Russian Mig-35 and shortlisted the Eurofighter Typhoon and Dassault Rafale for the deal.

    But it seems the countries have put that bitterness behind. According to Russian diplomatic sources, Indian Navy will get a Nerpa class nuclear submarine from Russia soon. “Induction of a Nerpa class submarine is logical for the strategic cooperation that dates back to the 1960s,” said Sikri.

    Experts say Russia views big-ticket purchases by India as an image booster to its defence industry and that it looks at its ties with New Delhi through a bigger lens. Soon after Singh declared the purchase of the Sukhoi fleet, Russia announced a Sukhoi deal with Indonesia.

    “India's growing clout as an economic powerhouse has freed the pursestrings of the Indian strategic sector, making it one of the biggest buyers of strategic weapon systems. But the trust and smoothness with which Russia has transferred technology to India and promises to do so in near future is unprecedented. This kind of smoothness is not expected of western manufacturers of arms like France, the UK or the US,” said Rajiv Nayan of the Institute of Defence Studies and Analyses.

    Sikri says the best example of the defence cooperation between India and Russia is the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft (FGFA). Both Russian and Indian sources told THE WEEK that India would have the aircraft by 2017. According to Chinese journalist Chang Hu, the current deadline for the FGFA will enable India to have it even before the US.

    Singh in his speeches in Moscow made it clear that energy and economy will remain the key focus of India-Russia ties. After Russia's entry to the WTO, the media there is buzzing with a possible candidature for the presidency of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation, which would place Russia on line for power talks with the US and Japan. A firm backer of India's claim to a permanent membership in the UN Security Council, Russia has come out in open support for India's membership to the Shanghai Cooperation Council. It seems the traditional alliance between the two countries continues to be weatherproof in the changing climate.

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  3. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    It appears that India believes in not putting all the eggs in the same basket,
     
  4. bhramos

    bhramos Elite Member Elite Member

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    India should have saved MiG, then Sukhoi.............
     
  5. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Is India smart in trying to court all or is India confused as to which one to trust....I'm confused.
     

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