Foreign Policy Watch: India-Russia

India, Russia to boost bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030


From UPSC perspective, the following things are important :

Prelims level: Military cooperation between India and Russia

Mains level: Key highlight of 22nd Annual Summit

Why in the News? 

During the 22nd Annual Summit on Tuesday, both countries agreed to elevate bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030. This agreement includes the use of national currencies to bypass Western sanctions.

Bilateral ties between India-Russia  

  • Long-standing strategic partnership: India and Russia have enjoyed a strong strategic partnership since the Cold War era.
    • This was further strengthened with the signing of the “Declaration on the India-Russia Strategic Partnership” in 2000, which elevated cooperation in various areas including politics, security, defense, trade, and culture.
    • In 2010, the partnership was elevated to a “Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership”.
  • Robust defense cooperation: Russia is India’s largest defense partner, accounting for approximately 68% of India’s military hardware imports in 2017.
    • The two countries have an Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation that meets annually.
    • Major defense projects include the MiG-21, Su-30, and the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
  • Economic and Trade Relations: Russia is India’s 7th largest trading partner, with bilateral trade reaching $45 billion, surpassing the target of $30 billion by 2025.
    • Key areas of economic cooperation include energy, nuclear energy, and the North-South Transport Corridor.
    • Russia is also an important partner in India’s energy security, with investments in the oil and gas sectors.
  • Geopolitical coordination: India and Russia closely collaborate on matters of shared national interest at international forums such as the UN, BRICS, G20, and SCO.
    • Russia supports India’s permanent seat on the UN Security Council and its membership in the NSG and APEC.
    • The two countries also coordinate on regional issues like Afghanistan and the Indo-Pacific.

Key highlights of the 22nd Annual Summit   

  • Trade and Economic Cooperation: India and Russia have set an ambitious target to increase bilateral trade to $100 billion by 2030. They plan to use national currencies for trade to bypass Western sanctions, reflecting a strategic shift in their economic engagements.
  • Defense and Strategic Partnership: The countries discussed delays in defense supplies and committed to enhancing the co-production of defense equipment.
  • Response to Ukraine Conflict: Prime Minister Modi made a plea for ending civilian casualties and the conflict in Ukraine. Both countries called for a peaceful resolution to the Ukraine conflict in their joint statement, highlighting mediation efforts and adherence to international law.
  • Institutional Agreements and MoUs: Several MoUs were signed on topics including climate change, polar research, legal arbitration, and pharmaceutical certification, demonstrating broad-based cooperation.
  • Recognition and Future Engagements: Modi received Russia’s highest civilian honor, the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle. Putin invited Modi to the “Extended BRICS” summit in Kazan in October 2024, emphasizing ongoing and future high-level engagements.

Russia Offers Compensation and Citizenship to Kin of Indians Killed in War Against Ukraine

  • Expedited Discharge of Indian Recruits: President Putin accepted Prime Minister Modi’s request to expedite the discharge of Indian nationals recruited by the Russian military. Approximately 40 Indians, currently at the war front, are to be discharged through diplomatic processes.
  • Compensation and Citizenship Offer: Russia has offered compensation and citizenship to the families of Indian nationals who have been killed in the conflict in Ukraine. This move aims to provide support and recognition to the families of the deceased.

New Delhi and Moscow call for ‘zero tolerance’ towards terrorism

  • Joint Statement on Terrorism: India and Russia reiterated their strong stance against terrorism, emphasizing the need for “zero tolerance” towards all forms of terrorism.
  • Commitment to International Cooperation: Both countries underscored the importance of international cooperation to combat terrorism effectively. They highlighted the necessity for a coordinated global response to address the threat of terrorism.
  • Condemnation of Terrorist Acts: The leaders condemned terrorist acts worldwide and stressed that no cause or ideology could justify the killing of innocent people. They called for the strictest measures to combat and eliminate terrorism.

Do you know – Why Western sanctions haven’t worked on Russia?

While the U.S. and some European countries have imposed extensive sanctions, enforcement has been uneven across the coalition. Some nations lack robust mechanisms to prevent violations and struggle to track and penalise offenders effectively. Russia has found ways to sidestep restrictions on critical technologies and dual-use items by re-labelling shipments, diverting products through third countries, and exploiting loopholes in regulations.  They are:

  • Collaborative evasion tactics: Russia’s partnerships with countries like China, Iran, and North Korea enable it to circumvent sanctions and sustain its military capabilities. These strategic alliances facilitate the procurement and transfer of goods, including weapons used in Ukraine.
  • Mutual economic dependence: Europe’s reliance on Russian energy, particularly natural gas, complicates the imposition of severe sanctions without causing significant repercussions for European economies.
    • Russia’s dependence on energy export revenue also makes it reluctant to disrupt energy flows to Europe.
  • Resilience of the Russian economy: Despite the sanctions, Russia’s economy has shown remarkable adaptability. It has redirected trade to China, found alternative suppliers for critical goods, and maintained robust oil and gas sales.


Conclusion: India should work on broadening the range of goods and services exchanged with Russia. Focusing on sectors like pharmaceuticals, information technology, and agricultural products can reduce dependency on any single industry and promote sustainable trade growth.

Mains PYQ: 

Q What is the significance of Indo-US defence deals over Indo-Russian defence deals? Discuss with reference to stability in the Indo-Pacific region. (UPSC IAS/2020)

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