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    Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

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    Pinto

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    India, Russia likely to sign pact on Kudankulam during PM Modi’s visit

    Post  Pinto on Sun Dec 20, 2015 11:11 am

    In a move to scale up cooperation in the nuclear energy sector, India and Russia are likely to sign an agreement on Kudankulam units 5 and 6 during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to the Eurasian country from Wednesday.

    Sources said the government is also planning to make optimum use of the available nuclear sites in various states to accommodate more atomic reactors to meet energy-starved country’s growing needs.
    Modi is scheduled to visit Russia from December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.

    Ahead of the Prime Ministerial visit, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rosatom – the Russian counterpart of the India’s Department of Atomic Energy – Nikolai Spasskiy paid a visit to India on December 7-8, during which he is believed to have held negotiations with Sekhar Basu, Secretary DAE regarding the possible inking of a pact of unit 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KKNPP) during Modi’s stay.

    “During negotiations, the parties discussed issues of final acceptance of Unit 1 of Kudankulam NPP, achievement of the minimum controlled power at Unit 2, beginning of construction of Units 3 and 4, and signing of the general framework agreement for Units 5 and 6, as well as further cooperation development steps,” Rosatom said.

    The agreement details were also deliberated upon, sources said.
    Unit 5 and 6 of VVER technology are expected to be of the same MW like units 1-4, but the cost details of the project is yet to be finalised.
    In what could be a major policy decision, the government will now insist that the states should have more reactors at one site. The reason behind coming up with a policy is taken in view of the limited number in terms of space available for building a nuclear site.

    “This move not only helps address the location issues which is difficult in view of public opinion against nuclear plants, but also helps in reducing infrastructure cost. For example, the DAE does not have to spent on building infrastructure for its staff, like the colonies, schools as the existing sites take care of it. It also address the issue of deployment of security personnel,” he said.

    The government is constructing six reactors in new projects like Jaitapur (EPR 1000×6) in Maharashtra built with French technology, Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh (1000MW x 6) and Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat.


    http://indianexpress.com/article/india/india-news-india/india-russia-likely-to-sign-pact-on-kudankulam-during-pm-modis-visit/
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    India, Russia working to put in place extensive counter-terror cooperation pact

    Post  Pinto on Mon Dec 21, 2015 1:24 pm

    NEW DELHI: India and Russia are working to formulate an extensive counter-terror cooperation arrangement that will be put in place during Narendra Modi's Moscow visit on Dec 23-24 in the backdrop of rise of Islamic State with the bilateral partnership hoping to beef up mechanism for intelligence sharing, training of personnel and capacity building.


    Delhi and Moscow have been building on a counter-terror cooperation away from the public glare and the mechanism to boost intelligence sharing and training of personnel in counter-terrorism and enhancing capacity building to fight the growing menace will be on the agenda for the PM's trip to Russia for the annual Summit this week, official sources indicated to ET.


    Delhi and Moscow have been building on a counter-terror cooperation away from the public glare and the mechanism to boost intelligence sharing and training of personnel in counter-terrorism and enhancing capacity building to fight the growing menace will be on the agenda for the PM's trip to Russia for the annual Summit this week, official sources indicated to ET.

    The two countries are also working towards aligning positions on international terror at UN where India has been pushing for a convention as well as at the Financial Action Taken Force (FATF) platform, officials hinted. Almost six months back India was surprised with old strategic ally Russia's stand at a meeting of FATF in Brisbane where Moscow along with Australia, New Zealand and China opposed Delhi's move to get a censure against Pakistan for its inaction against Jamaat-ud-Dawa & Lashar-e-Taebbya. These countries had opposed India's move on the grounds that Pakistan is not even a member of FATF. Delhi had later raised the issue with Moscow and the two countries are understood to be working towards aligning their positions at bodies like FATF given the common threat from terror. In the past Delhi has been receiving steady support from Russia on terror and Indo-Pak issues as well as Kashmir.

    The objectives of the FATF (of which India is a member) are to set standards and promote effective implementation of legal, regulatory and operational measures for combating money laundering, terrorist financing and other related threats to the integrity of the international financial system Delhi and Moscow are also understood to be developing common position on terror emanating from both Pakistan and Afghanistan, sources hinted. India and Russia have been on the same page regarding Afghanistan and Delhi is working with Moscow with regard to supply of Russia made defence equipment for Kabul. However it is no secret that during the past two years Delhi has been worried over implication of Russo-Pakistan defence cooperation and its implications on the country's security interests of India. India expects that Russia would not be oblivious of its decades-old and time-tested relations with India and Delhi's legitimate security interests in the region. That terror would be key agenda for Modi's Moscow trip was understood from Russian Deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin who visited Delhi recently to prepare for the annual summit.

    "The Indian prime minister is going to visit Moscow at a very important and troublesome period of time. It is not surprising that everything we discussed in New Delhi largely concerned struggle against terrorism and radical forms of Islam... India has enormous, and even dramatic, experience in waging this struggle," Rogozin told news agency TASS after his meehis meetings here. He said that the Indian side fully supported Russia's (anti-terror) efforts, including those directed at the Islamic State (IS).

    "Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Moscow late in December to attend a (bilateral Russian-Indian) summit. The visit will have a deep meaning. It is extremely important for discussing joint actions and the creation of a broad counter-terrorism coalition and also for exerting joint efforts in conditions when the two countries have not only found themselves on the one side of the barricades but are in the vanguard of this struggle (against terrorism)," said Rogozin explaining a key item on agenda for the Summit.

    According to him, the presence of IS in Afghanistan has aggravated the situation even further. "The Taliban used to be perceived as an exclusively domestic phenomenon for Afghanistan. ISIS (or IS) is something absolutely the opposite. They are as radical or even more radical (than the Taliban), and they also have global ambitions," Rogozin stressed.

    Read more at:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50261706.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
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    Modi’s Russia visit: Major deals expected in defence, nuclear sectors

    Post  Pinto on Tue Dec 22, 2015 8:59 am

    When Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for Moscow on Wednesday on a two-day visit to attend the 16th India-Russia annual summit, expectations will be riding high with major agreements expected in the defence and nuclear sector.

    The last edition of the summit, held in New Delhi in December 2014, was a roaring success, evident in the fact that 20 deals worth over $100 billion were signed in less than 24 hours. “India’s partnership with Russia is incomparable,” Modi had tweeted then.

    This time on the defence front, a deal on the joint-production of 200 Kamov-226T helicopters may be the highlight. This will be a major boost to Modi’s Make in India initiative. The purchase of five Russian S-400 air defence systems, approved by the Defence Acquisition Council, will also be keenly watched.


    On his two-day visit to Russia, Narendra Modi will look to strengthen economic ties, normally a weaker point of Indo-Russian relations. (Reuters Photo)

    On the nuclear energy front, a deal is expected on the fifth and sixth units of the Koodankulam nuclear reactors. And there are talks about a deal for Russia to build six nuclear reactors in Andhra Pradesh.
    Modi is scheduled to address a cultural event for ‘Friends of India’ at the Expocentre in Moscow on December 24. The prime minister is expected to return to New Delhi after the event.

    The defence sector is perhaps the strongest component in India-Russia ties. “India’s defence production industry has a large Russian component to it, and during this visit that will increase,” says Anuradha Chenoy, professor at the Centre for Russian and Central Asian studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, Delhi.

    The economic trade, however, do not reflect the intensity of the ties. Export from India saw a marginal rise in 2014 vis-a-vis the previous year, but overall trade dipped — from $10.11 billion in 2013 to $9.51 billion in 2014. While export from India rose 2.6% during this period, import slipped by 9.2%.
    “To put it in a nutshell, the strongest element of India-Russia partnership is defence, and the weakest element is our economic relationship. I think there will be an attempt by Modi to try and address this weakness through some of the strengths (in the ties),” says Nandan Unnikrishnan, a Russia expert and vice-president and senior fellow at the Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi.

    The lull in Russia-Turkey ties, after Turkey downed a Russian Su-24 in Syria in November, presents an opportunity for India to boost trade ties. Kanwal Sibal, India’s ambassador to Russia from 2004 to 2007, feels that the visit should focus on “boosting economic and trade ties, especially after the collapse of ties between Russia and Turkey. Russia is keen on strengthening trade ties with India.”

    Terrorism will also be discussed by both the leaders. The former ambassador was of the opinion that Russia might discuss Syria with India, but the spotlight “would be on what is happening in the Af-Pak region. The presence of the Islamic State (IS) in Afghanistan is of concern for Russia. It is also a concern for India as destabilisation of Afghanistan and extremist activity there is a problem for us.”

    Other than these, talks on fertilisers and hydrocarbons are also expected.
    In recent years, growing India-US ties have seemingly taken the sheen off India-Russia bilateral ties, but it is just a temporary lull that appears in any friendship that goes back decades.

    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/pm-narendra-modi-in-russia-a-fillip-to-the-druzhba-dosti-vision/story-qr4H334ElrtX4fLDrwacyN.html
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    India to offer site in Andhra to Russia for nuke plants

    Post  Pinto on Tue Dec 22, 2015 9:11 am

    India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant by Russia in sync with broad principles of 'Make in India' initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Moscow this week.


    The two countries are likely to sign an agreement for the two units with provisions for involvement of India's private sector in the project including in supply of various components.

    "We will follow principles of 'localisation' as per Make in India initiative for setting up Kudankulam nuclear power plant five and six," sources told PTI.
    They said a site in Andhra Pradesh has been finalised for the project in line with government's policy for ensuring optimum use of the available nuclear sites in various states to accommodate more atomic reactors.

    Incidentally, Centre has already shortlisted the Kovvada site to build a project with the assistance of US-based nuclear vendor, GE-Hitachi Nuclear Energy.

    Modi is scheduled to visit Russia from December 23-24 to hold an annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow.
    Russia has been a key partner of India in the civil nuclear energy sector. In the last summit between Modi and Putin, it was decided that Russia will build at least 12 nuclear reactors in India by 2035.

    In April last year, India and Russia had signed an agreement to build units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam project at a cost of Rs 33,000 crore. However, work on the ground is yet to start. The units 3 and 4 are be coming up in Tamil Nadu's coastal district of Tirunelveli.

    Earlier this month, Nikolai Spasskiy, Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Rosatom - the Russian counterpart of the India's Department of Atomic Energy, visited India and he is believed have discussed with DAE brass about various aspect of the proposed pact for Kudankulam 5 and 6.
    Top Comment


    Units 5 and 6 of VVER technology are expected to be of the same MW like units 1-4, but the cost details of the project are yet to be finalised.
    The government is constructing six reactors in new projects like Jaitapur (EPR 1000x6) in Maharashtra built with French technology, Kovadda in Andhra Pradesh (1000MW x 6) and Mithi Virdhi in Gujarat (1000MW x 6).


    http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/india/India-to-offer-site-in-Andhra-to-Russia-for-nuke-plants/articleshow/50268632.cms
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    Pinto

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    PM Modi To Visit Russia Today, Talks On Nuclear Energy, Defence On Agenda

    Post  Pinto on Wed Dec 23, 2015 7:10 am

    NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi leaves for Russia today for a two-day visit that is part of the annual summit talks with President Vladimir Putin. After their meeting in Moscow on Thursday, the two leaders are expected to sign key agreements on defence and nuclear energy.

    "We expect to sign a number of agreements covering a very broad range of fields. Final touches are being given on some of them," Foreign Secretary Subrahmanyam Jaishankar told reporters.

    Last week, the Defence Ministry had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs. 40,000 crore.

    Without giving specific details, Mr Jaishankar said both PM Modi and President Putin will deliberate on enhancing cooperation in defence and nuclear energy spheres.

    "Russia has been a very major military and strategic partner of India. There will be a lot of discussions on that," he said.

    Expanding economic ties is also top of the agenda, with CEOs from both sides meeting.

    Currently bilateral trade stands at $10 billion, which both sides want to enhance to $30 billion in the next 10 years.

    PM Modi and President Putin will also discuss the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism. "This would be definitely one of the most important engagements for us," Mr Jaishankar said.

    India has watched with some concern, Russia's decision to supply attack helicopters to Pakistan, though officially that has been played down.

    PM Modi is also scheduled to have dinner with President Putin today. On Thursday, he will address around 3,000 members of the Indian community in Moscow.


    http://www.ndtv.com/india-news/pm-modi-to-visit-russia-tomorrow-talks-on-nuclear-energy-defence-on-agenda-1257764
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    Russia remains India's 'principal partner' in defence: PM Narendra Modi

    Post  Pinto on Wed Dec 23, 2015 12:44 pm

    MOSCOW: Assuring Russia that it will remain India's "principal partner" in defence sector, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that the two strategic partners are working together for joint manufacture of advanced defence equipment in India under the 'Make in India' initiative.

    "Russia has been India's foremost defence partner through decades, accounting for a majority of our defence equipment... Even in the current environment, despite India's improved access to the world market, Russia remains our principal partner," Modi told Russian news agency Itar-Taas.

    Follow @ETDefence Twitter handle for comprehensive coverage on other buzzing Defence stories

    Noting that Russia provided defence equipment to India and international support when few were willing to hold its hands, the Prime Minister said, "Indians will never forget the Russian support that we got when we needed it the most."


    India and Russia are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors including defence and nuclear energy during Modi's two-day visit here beginning today for the annual Summit level talks with President Vladimir Putin.

    Asserting that the Indo-Russia defence ties have been transformed "from a buyer seller relationship to one involving joint research, development and production of advanced systems" such as the Brahmos missile, Sukhoi-30 MKI aircraft and T-90 tanks, Modi saidRussia has the potential to be the leading partner in Make in India mission in defence sector.

    "We are soon going to make a beginning in that direction," Modi said.

    "We are also working together for joint manufacture of defence equipment and components in India under the Make in India initiative," he added.

    India's assurance to Russia comes at a time when it has developed a closer defence ties with the US and Russia made overtures to Pakistan in recent months for the first time.

    On the civil nuclear cooperation, Modi said India is committed to construct at least 12 nuclear power plants having highest safety standards in the world with Russian assistance.

    "Energy security is critical to India's economic development and Russia is a key partner in this area. Nuclear energy is an important component of our energy security strategy. Russia is currently our leading international partner. Our cooperation with Russia in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy is a cornerstone of our strategic partnership," he said replying to a question.

    "I am glad that the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project has become operational, and is set to expand. I believe our cooperation in the area of nuclear energy will continue to grow. After Kudankulam, we are finalising a second site for for Russian-designed reactors in India," he said.


    "We have outlined an ambitious vision for nuclear energy and construction of at least 12 reactors, which will have the highest safety standards in the world," Modi added.


    The Prime Minister said the strengths of Russia in science and technology, military technology and nuclear energy among others complement the large market of India, expanding economy and demand of its young population.


    "This provides us with the confidence that we can take forward our existing dynamic partnership," he added.

    On cooperation between the two sides on international and regional forums, Modi said a strong international partnership has been the hallmark of the bilateral ties and the Russian support in international forums, including in the UN Security Council, through the decades is deeply valued in India.

    "Today, our international cooperation has widened. We work together in a number of international forums, including BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (where Russian support helped in a decision on India's full membership this year), G 20 and East Asia Summit.

    "BRICS, which was launched by President Putin, is making a major contribution to international finance and trade, development finance, international terrorism, climate change, food security and sustainable development," he said.

    "In both SCO and East Asia Summit, we can work together in advancing peace and prosperity in two major regions of the world, where we both have vital stakes. Multipolarity is a global reality. India and Russia represent two faces of a multi-polar world. We want to work with Russia not just for our bilateral interests, but but also for a peaceful, stable and sustainable world," the Prime Minister added.

    On economic ties, Modi said there is potential to further strengthen the Indo-Russia relations in the field of trade and investments.

    "Our bilateral trade, though growing, has not achieved its full potential. We have committed to increase this to $30 billion by 2025. Similarly we are committed to increase our investments to $15 billion each by 2025," he said.

    Read more at:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50296433.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
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    Russia Continues Active Strategic Partnership Development With India

    Post  Pinto on Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:21 pm

    Russian President Vladimir Putin said that relations between Russia and India are developing in all directions.


    Russia Sees Prospects in Supplying India With LNG - Moscow

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and India continue actively promoting strategic partnership and coordinating political and economic activities, Russian President Vladimir Putin said Thursday during talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

    "We are consistently and confidently developing privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia," Putin said. "These relations are developing in all directions. This applies to issues of policy, coordinating our efforts in the international arena, the economy, and cooperation in humanitarian fields."

    Putin highlighted the countries’ active inter parliamentary and intergovernmental commission work, and emphasized the importance of addressing issues that require special attention in light of a complicated economic climate.

    Putin Brings Russia to a 'New Level' on International Arena – Indian PM
    "It should be noted that your visit is very timely, though planned, but timely in light of the need to ‘compare notes’ on the main directions of our cooperation," he address Modi.

    Modi arrived in Moscow for a two-day visit on Wednesday to hold talks with Putin on a range of bilateral issues, including transport, trade, energy, and the economy. The meeting is expected to result in the signing of a number of documents aimed at increasing trade and economic cooperation between the sides.

    Russia and India enjoy good relations dating back to the 1960s. Moscow is among New Delhi’s foremost post-Cold War era military suppliers. The sides have boosted trade, military-technical and nuclear cooperation over the past year.


    Read more:


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151224/1032255958/russia-india-putin-modi.html#ixzz3vFRUK4lb
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    Putin Brings Russia to a 'New Level' on International Arena – Indian PM

    Post  Pinto on Thu Dec 24, 2015 3:22 pm

    Russian President Vladimir Putin has greatly contributed to Russia’s progress in the international arena, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi said Thursday.

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) — On Wednesday, Modi arrived in Moscow for a two-day visit to hold talks with Putin on a range of bilateral issues, including transport, trade, energy, and the economy.

    "Under your leadership, despite the opposition against Russia, you have raised your country to a qualitatively new level… I praise your personal leadership in this process," Modi told the Russian president.

    The Indian prime minister also extended his condolences in connection to the Russian A321 crash in Egypt in October and the downing of a Russian Su-24 aircraft by a Turkish fighter jet in Syria in November.

    In return, the Russian leader noted the progress being made in interparliamentary relations and intergovernmental commissions between the two states.

    Putin and Modi's meeting is expected to result in the signing of a number of documents aimed at increasing trade and economic cooperation between the sides.



    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/politics/20151224/1032252265/putin-russia-modi-meeting.html#ixzz3vFRwis8w
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    Pinto

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    Why India and Russia will be Best Friends Forever

    Post  Pinto on Thu Dec 24, 2015 4:30 pm

    http://in.rbth.com/blogs/stranger_than_fiction/2015/12/24/why-india-and-russia-will-be-best-friends-forever_554327


    For more than 50 years the two countries have nurtured a friendship that is exceptional in a world of fickle loyalties.






    The India-Russia connection is the only bilateral relationship that is referred to as friendship. For more than five decades, people from both countries have had warm feelings towards each other, and although the fervour of the 1970s and 1980s has faded somewhat, there still remains the recognition of each other as reliable partners. It is for this reason that Prime Minister Narendra Modi said in December 2014, during Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India: “Even a child in India, if asked to say who is India’s best friend, will reply it is Russia because Russia has been with India in times of crisis.”

    There are, of course, other strong bilateral partnerships in the world. The most famous one is the US-UK Special Relationship, but it has now degraded to a master-poodle equation. Then there is the China-Pakistan All-Weather Friendship, but again it remains a patron-client association.

    India and Russia started off with India being a poor country completely dependent on Russia for weapons, technology and industrial investment. New Delhi also required Moscow’s diplomatic and military support during the 1965 and 1971 wars with Pakistan. Today India has a larger economy than Russia but they continue to work together as equal partners. The relationship has evolved over the past 50 years but the underlying nature of the friendship hasn’t changed much.

    Here are six reasons why India and Russia are BFF (best friends forever):

    Indians and Russians are more alike than you think


    Indians and Russians are lively and emotional people – mainly at the personal level.
    Amid strangers and colleagues they are reserved and hierarchical. Family life is a very important aspect of life in both countries.

    On both the micro and macro levels, the affinity between Russia and India can be attributed to ancient connections. The similarity between Sanskrit and Russian are too uncanny to be ignored. For instance, take the most famous Russian word – vodka. It has its origins in the Classical Sanskrit word for water – ‘udaka.’

    Since Sanskrit is the oldest language in the world, it is likely Russian is the result of ancient Indians taking their language and culture from the banks of the Saraswati river to the Urals. The discovery of Shiva statues in Central Asia and Russia points to the spread of ancient Vedic culture far beyond the Indian heartland.

    Indians – being part of the Indo-European genetic pool – are among the most European of Asians. Russians are the Easternmost Europeans and Leo Tolstoy refers to his country as the “great Asiatic nation”. Basically, the Indian and Russian DNAs overlap and that’s where the similarities and affinities spring from.

    India and Russia can never be geopolitical rivals

    India and Russia have a shared strategic interest in stability in the vast Eurasian landmass. Afghanistan, Syria and Ukraine are some of the key areas where their interests converge. Not many Indians realise that Ukraine is a hub of defence industries that are vital to the servicing of Indian defence equipment, including An-32 transport aircraft.

    Because India and Russia do not share a border, they do not share the attendant problems such as boundary and water sharing issues. The chances of both countries coming into direct confrontation are next to zero.

    Chanakya, the 3rd century BCE master of statecraft, assessed that at least one neighbour of a country will be a natural enemy. According to his ‘Rajamandala’ theory of foreign policy, immediate neighbours are considered enemies, but any state on the other side of a neighbouring state is regarded as an ally. Going by this theory, if China and Pakistan are hostile to India, then they can be counteracted through Russia and Afghanistan.

    Synergy in energy

    Russia is the No.1 producer of energy and India is the world’s third largest consumer, after the US and China. Despite the global recession, there has been no let-up in India’s energy consumption, with the country having a limitless appetite for oil, gas and nuclear fuel. As Russia is the largest producer of these fuels, its strategy should neatly dovetail with India’s quest for energy security.

    The reason it hasn’t so far is because of the tyranny of distance. While Europe and China – and lately Japan – have benefitted from Russian pipelines that ensure a steady and reliable source of oil and gas, India continues to be a hostage to the volatile Middle Eastern energy producers.

    During the 1980s, Russia was India’s strategic supplier of petroleum plus Moscow accepted payment in rupees. Today India is rich and can afford to pay in dollars, therefore, it does not buy much energy from Russia. That could change with the mother of all pipelines being planned direct from Russia across the Himalayas.

    Unlike an oil tanker, a pipeline cannot be rerouted so pipelines have a habit of locking countries into a long-term geopolitical embrace. The new energy linkages are going to increase the BFF factor further.

    Defence technology: Welcome to arms

    Russia and India have transacted military sales for decades. While the West has slapped sanctions on India, Moscow continues to be a reliable supplier of high-end weapons and a source of cutting-edge missile technology. Russian technology and specialists have helped India leapfrog a couple of generations and produce best-in-class missiles such as BrahMos and Akash. The Prithvi is also based on Russian technology.

    While most countries export stripped down versions of their latest weapons, Russia has made an exception for India, with the Sukhoi Su-30MKI jet fighter, which is more advanced than its own Su-27s. The S-400 missile defence system is the latest in a long line of potent weapons that Russia has offered India.

    At the height of the Cold War, 85 per cent of Indian Navy, 75 per cent of Indian Air Force and over 50 per cent of Indian Army equipment was of Russian origin. While the overall percentage of Russian hardware has declined today, Moscow’s presence in the Indian defence market is still dominant. It is the only country that can meet India’s future needs – fifth generation stealth fighters (Sukhoi PAK-FA), nuclear submarines or aircraft carriers.

    Standing up for each other

    In 1979 when Russia invaded Afghanistan, India refused to criticise Moscow. There was a lot of heartburn in the West because of this. Indians were described as hypocritical for being a champion of freedom but looking away when the bear attacked a South Asian country.

    But India was simply paying back Russia for its support during the 1971 War when the US, UK, France, Jordan, UAE, Turkey, Indonesia, China and several other western and Muslim countries backed Pakistan. It was a war which was forced upon India after the Pakistanis murdered 3 million of their own Bengali citizens. While the western democracies supported Islamabad, Russia vetoed US-sponsored resolutions that blamed India. Further, military intervention by Russia’s Pacific Fleet prevented a joint US-British attack on Indian cities.

    New Delhi has continued to back Moscow during the Ukrainian and Syrian crises, refusing to support US and EU sanctions. India’s National Security Adviser unequivocally declared that Russia had “legitimate” interests in Ukraine. Asked on CNN how he viewed Russia’s action in Crimea, Prime Minister Modi responded: “In the world right now, a lot of people want to give advice, but look within them, and they, too, have sinned in some way.

    Exceptional behaviour

    Unlike the West, or more specifically the US, which suffers from a “God Complex”, India and Russia do not believe they are exceptional nations that should impose their beliefs on the rest of the world. During the Soviet era, Moscow never imposed Orthodox Christianity or Russian values on any of the republics. Yes, Russification was official state policy but it did not result in the eclipse of, say, Ukrainian or Kazakh identity. Similarly, India doesn’t impose Hinduism on the world. Indians are inclusive by nature.

    Again, Russian businesses are not a cover for the SVR, Russia's external intelligence agency. Edward Snowden has revealed how consultants working for American corporations are in reality NSA and CIA agents. Similarly, western churches have long been doing dirty work for the CIA and its allied spy agencies in the West. It seems nothing has changed since the colonial period when the clergy and traders provided advance intelligence and supplies for invading western fleets.

    The cult of American Exceptionalism is based on the belief that all cultures are inferior to America’s. Indians, who are still feeling the effects of two centuries of British colonialism, are especially sensitive to such notions of foreign powers.

    India’s experience with European powers is that Russia is the only country that does not believe in misguided notions of exceptionalism. It is precisely why the two countries can trust each other and work together.

    http://in.rbth.com/economics/cooperation/2015/12/23/russia-remains-our-principal-partner-narendra-modi_553845
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    Russia plans to build at least 6 nuclear power units in India in 20 years: Vladimir Putin

    Post  Pinto on Thu Dec 24, 2015 6:46 pm

    MOSCOW: Russia plans to build at least six new nuclear power units in India in the next 20 years, President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday.

    Speaking after talks with visiting Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Putin also said that Moscow and New Delhi were successfully cooperating in production of Brahmos missiles and planned to produce jointly a new type of jet fighter and transport aircraft.


    Read more at:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50315103.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst
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    India strengthens strategic partnership with ‘reliable friend’ Russia

    Post  Pinto on Thu Dec 24, 2015 7:21 pm

    India and Russia signed 16 agreements on defence, nuclear energy and other key areas during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Moscow, with the two sides announcing that Russia plans to build at least six new nuclear power units in India, in addition to inking key deals like the production of BrahMos missiles and the attack chopper Kamov-226 in India.

    Prime Minister Narendra Modi, on Day 2 of his visit to Moscow, conveyed to Russian President Vladimir Putin that their summit talks would give a fresh impetus to the bilateral relations between India and Russia, referring to Moscow as New Delhi’s “strong and reliable” friend.

    As part of the annual India-Russia summit, Modi and Putin held a one-on-one meeting before they were joined by their respective delegations. The two sides continued their deliberations over lunch at the Kremlin before they signed the agreements.

    “India and Russia have a long history of cultural relations. And now we have a strong and reliable friend on the political and international arena — Russia. Russia has always been with us in hard times. We have a strategic partnership, a true strategic partnership,” Modi said at the summit.
    Modi invited Russian CEOs to invest in Indian infrastructure and aerospace sectors, among others, stating that his government had created a favourable environment to boost economic growth.

    Hailing the “strong collaboration” between India and Russia in the United Nations, Modi also recognised the understanding shared by New Delhi and Moscow in the BRICS, the East Asia Summit, the G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation.

    The PM also discussed global terror, calling for the world to unite against the scourge without distinction or discrimination between terrorist groups and target countries. Expressing his condolences over the death of over 200 Russian citizens in a plane crash in Egypt in October, Modi also mentioned the recent downing of a Russian military jet on the Syria-Turkey border.

    Putin, in his opening remarks during the meeting with Modi, said, “I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.” He expressed happiness over the two countries going ahead “consistently and confidently” in developing the privileged strategic partnership.

    Putin announced that Russia planned to build at least six new nuclear power units in India over 20 years. The Russian President said Moscow and New Delhi were successfully cooperating in the production of Brahmos missiles and planned to jointly produce the Kamov 226 military helicopter, a major boost to the Make in India initiative.

    The Russian President conveyed his country’s “strong support” to New Delhi’s bid for permanent membership of the UN security council, calling India a “deserving and strong candidate” that could bring an “independent and responsible approach” within the global body.

    A joint statement said the two sides confirmed their interest in intensifying cultural cooperation, announcing the organisation of a festival of Russian culture in India in 2016. The two countries affirmed the need for enhancing cooperation in the information sphere, welcoming a memorandum of understanding signed between Russian state-owned broadcaster VGTRK and Prasar Bharti for exchange of news and other content.

    Modi started his second day in Moscow with a tour of EMERCOM, the Russian national crisis management centre, where he interacted with officials at their state-of-the-art office.

    Later, the Prime Minister laid a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier at Alexandrovski Cad, a war memorial dedicated to Soviet soldiers who died in World War 2.

    Putin, while hosting Modi for a tete-a-tete at the Kremlin, presented the visiting dignitary with a page from Mahatma Gandhi’s diary and an 18th century sword from Bengal.

    Modi later took to Twitter to share his appreciation for the gifts.

    “President Putin gifted me a page from Gandhiji’s diary containing Bapu’s handwritten notes,” Modi posted.

    “President Putin also gifted an 18th century sword from Bengal, featuring intricate silver artwork. I thank him for the gifts,” he added.

    Modi arrived in Moscow on Wednesday night and was accorded a red carpet welcome. After the welcome, Putin hosted a dinner for the visiting dignitary, where both leaders touched upon issues of mutual interest for both countries.
    http://www.hindustantimes.com/india/india-strengthens-strategic-partnership-with-reliable-friend-russia/story-oCOszHkGABGpdqDAnr16DO.html

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    Pinto

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    Where does India's strategic & defence relationship with Russia stand in a world of two superpowers?

    Post  Pinto on Fri Jan 01, 2016 4:40 pm

    By Konstantin Makienko

    India's military-political relations and arms trade with the United States have been on a rapid rise in recent years. That begs the question of whether the special relationship between India and Russia in those two areas is now a thing of the past. It appears that the United States has become the No 1 arms supplier to India in terms of the value of new contracts, wresting that position from Russia. Recent American success in the Indian defense market isbased on two fundamental shifts. First, India and the United States have become closer in terms of military policy as they share the goal of containing China. Second, India's rapid economic growth has bolstered its purshasing power, and the Indian military, therefore, has a growing preference for more high-tech and expensive weapon systems.

    Analysis of recent Indian defense contracts shows, however, that the country has in fact opted for American weaponry only in those product categories where Russia simply has no competitive alternatives to offer. These categories include medium and heavy military transport planes, cutting-edge airborne anti-submarine systems, and effective attack and heavy transport helicopters that have already been tried and tested in real combat. Meanwhile, India continues to place orders for Russian medium medium transport helicopters, and the HAL corporation has secured an Indian MoD contract for another batch of 42 Su-30MKI fighters in 2012. Early reports suggest that large contracts may soon be signed for modern Russian air defense systems. Meanwhile, US fighters have not even been shortlisted for the second phase of India's MMRCA tender, clearly indicating that the Americans are nowhere near dominating the Indian defense market.

    It appears in fact that the recent string of large Indian arms contracts secured by US suppliers is nothing but an extension of India's long-standing policy of diversification in this area. The Indian defense market has always been open and competitive. Even though the Soviet Union and then Russia have managed to secure a large chunk of it, they have never had a monopoly. Even in the 1980s they had to compete head to head with the French and the Germans, followed by the Israelis in the 1990s, and now the Americans as well.
    The military-political and financial context has been changing, but India has been unwavering in its policy of diversification of arms and defense technology imports.

    The macro-strategic context

    To predict what the future holds for Russian-Indian arms trade, let us look at the strategic context of that trade. The first thing to note is that the two countries' military-political stance in the global arena is strikingly similar. First, they have both transcended the level of mere regional powers, albeit neither is a superpower (not anymore in the case of Russia, and not yet in the case of India). The sources of their strength are different: India has a dynamic economy and favorable demographics, whereas Russia has a superior nuclear arsenal and vast natural resources. Nevertheless, both countries have a similar potential for regional dominance, though neither quite has the resources to be a top-tier global actor.

    The second obvious similarity is that in their respective geopolitical neighborhoods, which India and Russia regard as zones of their vital interests, both countries are facing energetic opposition from an external superpower that seeks to create a cordon sanitaire around our countries, respectively. In the case of Russia the external superpower is the United States, which continues to meddle in the former Soviet republics. In the case of India the external superpower is China, which is trying to surround India with a ring of naval bases.


    The similarity between US and Chinese policies becomes even more obvious if one takes into account that both are making use of states that are ethnically and culturally part of Russia and India, but seek to build their identity opposing Russia and India in every possible way. I am talking, of course, about Ukraine and Pakistan, respectively. These two artificial constructs are trying to build their historical legitimacy purely on the basis of Russophobia and Indophobia. Pakistan is to India what Ukraine is to Russia. And, conversely, Ukraine is to Russia what Pakistan is to India. Both of those failed states are economically bankrupt, and both would have already ceased to exist, were it not for the military-political and economic assistance they receive from extra-regional powers.


    The third similarity is that both the Indian and Russian military-political situation can be described as "strategic solitude". Neither country is a member of a military bloc and neither aspires for such membership. Strictly speaking, Russia is the leading member of the Collective Security Treaty Organization - but the military value of most of its formal CSTO allies is negligible. As for the two CSTO members that are not military midgets - Belarus and Kazakhstan - their loyalty as allies is questionable at best. Both India and Russia advocate a new poly-centric international system. They both oppose the idea of a world dominated by a single superpower.

    At the same time, there has been a clear trend in recent years whereby India and Russia are being attracted by the pull of two opposite centers of gravity in the nascent bi-polar world. America's policy of trying to isolate Russia and thwarting Russian attempts to remedy the geopolitical consequences of the national catastrophe that befell the country in 1991 is already resulting in a fairly unnatural state of affairs: Russia is turning into a Chinese satellite. Meanwhile, China's growing military presence in Tibet, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, and Myanmar is pushing India into America's embrace.


    It may appear to some that these two trends, if continued, should eventually lead to India and Russia becoming members of two rival alliances - which would obviously be bad for their defense technology relationship. In actuality, however, the formation of a bi-polar Sino-American world should be a major incentive for our two countries to forge a closer relationship. In truth, it does not even matter whether America and China treat each other as rivals or partners in that bi-polar world.If Washington and Beijing prefer to work together, the case for a closer Indian-Russian relationship becomes even more clear-cut.



    India and Russia are too big and too powerful to play second fiddle to any global superpower. In view of their history, potential, and ambitions, both aspire for the role of dominant regional actors at the very least. But if we are to be able to compete head-to-head with the superpowers, our two countries should become force multipliers to each other. Right now, we are force multipliers for the United States and China, respectively - and this must change.

    The military-political agenda for the future


    In practical terms, defense technology cooperation between India and Russia and their informal military-political alliance must pursue two related goals. First, our two countries should form an integrated defense technology market, and second, the scope of our defense technology cooperation should include not only conventional weapons but also strategic and sub-strategic systems.

    As far as the first goal is concerned, India and Russia have already made a lot of progress and accumulated a wealth of invaluable experience. Their joint project to develop, manufacture, and market the BrahMos heavy supersonic cruise missile has been a phenomenal success. Their joint Su-30MKI fighter program is also going strong, and the two countries have launched a joint fifth-generation fighter program. The available Russian defense technology plays an important role in Indian policymaking in this area - but, conversely, Indian demand has become an extremely important factor in Russia's own defense procurement programs. Russian MoD contracts for such weapons systems as the Su-30SM, the MiG-29 carrier-based fighter, the Talwar-class frigate, and the T-90A main battle tank would have been impossible if India had not already placed orders for those weapons.

    Our two countries also have a record of cooperation in sub-strategic and strategic systems. The Indian Navy is already operating its second Russian nuclear multirole submarine; the third boat will follow in the foreseeable future. Two years ago, India took delivery of the Russian-built INS Vikramaditya aircraft carrier, the largest warship ever built for export. These examples alone demonstrate beyond a doubt that India and Russia have a very special defense technology relationship, even though Russia is nowhere near becoming a monopolist on the Indian defense market.


    In my view, that relationship should be nurtured and extended to new areas of cooperation. These areas might include developing an Indian missile attack early warning system, improving the accuracy and effectiveness of Indian medium-range missiles, deploying an Indian missile defense system, strengthening the naval component of the Indian nuclear triad, and creating the airborne component of that triad. All these measures would certainly be in both India's and Russia's national interests as they would help to preserve a global balance - and therefore safeguard global security.

    Konstantin Makienko is Deputy Director, CAST (Centre for Analysis of Strategies and Technologies), Moscow

    Read more at:
    http://economictimes.indiatimes.com/articleshow/50407554.cms?utm_source=contentofinterest&utm_medium=text&utm_campaign=cppst

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    Modi-Putin Meet Signals New Dimensions For Indo-Russian Partnership

    Post  Pinto on Mon Jan 04, 2016 12:54 pm

    Three developments emerged clearly from Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Moscow for the 16th Indo-Russian annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.

    First, making bilateral ties more broad-based by giving the economic partnership between the two nations its due importance. Secondly, efforts towards transforming Indo-Russian strategic ties from a buyer-seller relationship to that of a partnership. And finally, restoring the exclusivity of Indo-Russian ties irrespective of any foreign policy transformation that each may undergo.

    Before Mr Modi departed for Moscow a number of analysts said India's ties with Russia are top heavy -- leaning too much on the politico-strategic aspect, leaving its base shallow with no significant civilian or commercial contact.

    Modi seems to have taken a good note of it as is evident from the 16 agreements signed across diverse sectors, including the manufacturing of nuclear reactors, solar energy plants, railways and helicopter.

    Modi, in a stark departure from the usual framework of a bilateral summit, intentionally included the private sector in the strategic partnership.
    It is amazing how despite a huge potential of economic interdependence, bilateral trade between India and Russia is only $10 billion.

    Russia, today, is at an interesting economic crossroad. It has not only reached the second year of Western sanctions, but is also going through an all time low with one of its significant trade partners -- Turkey.

    As both sides aspire to take bilateral trade to $30 billion in the next 10 years, Modi in his bilateral press statement said, "I see Russia as a significant partner in India's economic transformation."

    On India's part, the first step it could take is to identify the opportunities left open by the West and Turkey in Russia.

    Moscow is also a gateway for India to Central Asia. In this regard a significant move by PM Modi was the effort to move forward on the India-Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) Free Trade Agreement (FTA).

    The FTA between India and the EEU -- comprising Russia, Belarus, Armenia, Kyrgyzstan, and Kazakhstan -- offers India access to a huge market with a population of over 180 million, with a joint GDP of an estimated $2.7 trillion.

    As Russia tries to re-calibrate its economic orientation towards the Asian region, India, as one of the fastest growing G20 economies can be a significant partner for Russia. Experts say India's National Infrastructure Fund provides a major investment opportunity to Russian "big-pocketed billionaires" currently facing hurdles to break through the traditional European financial markets.

    In a joint statement with Mr Modi, President Putin emphasised, "High tech, Innovation, energy, aircraft building, pharma and diamonds promising areas for India Russia cooperation."

    Steps towards building a more versatile Indo-Russian partnership was already laid in 2014 when the two countries announced a 'Druzhba-Dosti' vision.

    Overall strategic cooperation remained the dominant factor in the bilateral summit. But this time there was a clear thrust on localised manufacturing.

    Modi's pet project "Make in India" got a major boost as the agreement to manufacture Kamov 226 helicopters in India was sealed. The deal was cleared by the Defence Acquisition Council (DAC) chaired by Defence Minister, Manohar Parrikar in May this year.

    As per the IGA, 60 helicopters will be supplied by Russia in fly-away condition while 140 of them will be produced in India

    Additionally, India and Russia also moved forward on the agreement to build 12 Russian nuclear reactors. According to a programme of action agreed between India's Department of Atomic Energy and the Russian State Atomic Energy Corporation (Rosatom), there will be localisation of manufacturing in India of Russian-designed nuclear reactor units.

    [T]he Indo-Russian partnership should gather more steam in 2016, especially as announcements concerning a number of big-ticket deals including S-400 are yet to be done.
    Observers say, Modi, in a stark departure from the usual framework of a bilateral summit, intentionally included the private sector in the strategic partnership. This was to ensure that Make in India is a significant component of the deals India signs with Russia.

    Several major defence-sector CEOs including ones from Reliance and TATAs accompanied the PM at the bilateral summit. For now, India is likely to emerge as a potential destination for the Russian defence sector for its maintenance, repair and overhaul (MRO) projects.

    In fact, a significant outcome on the sidelines of the Modi-Putin summit was the signing of a manufacturing and maintenance deal potentially worth $6 billion between Reliance Defence and Russia's Almaz-Antey, the maker of an air defence system.

    Additionally, the Deputy Minister Andrey Boginskiy of the Russian Ministry of Industry and Trade had said that Russian Helicopters and its subsidiaries and component manufacturers are ready to supply kits for assembly in India as well as to localise production.

    India, which accounted for 28% of Russian military equipment exports in 2014, can expect a joint venture with Russia's top aircraft manufacturer Sukhoi for the maintenance and spares production of its combat aircraft Su30.

    The Tata Group is reportedly in advanced stage of talks with Sukhoi to set up a joint venture to manufacture spares for Sukhoi fighters in India.

    However Russia still remains hesitant in transferring technical know-how for its advanced military systems like the S-400 air defence missile systems, known as one of the "crown jewels" of Russia's defence capability.

    [W]ith a diversified supplier base India is at a better position today to negotiate deals with Russia especially concerning technology transfer and co-production.
    While India's ability to absorb the technical complexity has been cited as one of the reasons, another probable cause could be New Delhi's recent diversification of its defence ties, especially with the US.

    Similarly the closer defence partnership between Russia and Pakistan hasn't gone down too well with India.

    However, the current summit hints towards a certain two-way expectation that both India and Russia will maintain a balance and be sensitive to each other's interests as they go about transforming their geopolitical or bilateral postures. That's what Putin's statement seems to underscore when he called India "a great power carrying out a balanced and responsible foreign policy."

    Going forward, the Indo-Russian partnership should gather more steam in 2016, especially as announcements concerning a number of big-ticket deals including S-400 are yet to be done. Needless to say, defence will remain at the centre-stage of the bilateral relationship, although with a diversified supplier base India is at a better position today to negotiate deals with Russia especially concerning technology transfer and co-production.

    This article was first published in BBC (Hindi)


    http://www.huffingtonpost.in/jhinuk-chowdhury/indorussian-ties-exclusiv_b_8878268.html
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    Pinto

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    Russia to conduct joint exercises with China, India and Egypt in 2016

    Post  Pinto on Sat Jan 23, 2016 7:52 am

    Russia plans to conduct joint tactical naval exercises with China, Egypt, India, Azerbaijan, and Kazakhstan this year.




    Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan will be partnering with Russia for the first time.
    The 2016 exercise will include live-firing from coastal missile systems in the Arctic by navy coastal troops.

    Russian navy deputy commander-in-chief was quoted by the Tass news agency as saying: "The navy's coastal troops will hold brigade-level tactical exercises in 2016 involving an Arctic motor rifle brigade and a research tactical exercise with a live fire from coastal missile systems in the Arctic zone."

    "The navy's coastal troops will hold brigade-level tactical exercises in 2016."
    Russia and Egypt conducted their first joint naval exercise in June 2015, when they focused on measures to safeguard shipping routes.

    The 2016 exercise between the two countries will be coming after a Russian plane carrying tourists crashed in Egypt late last year, in a suspected bomb blast by terrorists.

    In December, Russian Navy ships and personnel were in India to participate in the annual Indra exercise.

    Russian paratroopers are also planning to conduct joint exercises with Egypt, Serbia, India, and Belarus this year.

    The country is currently in talks with Mongolia over the Selenga-2016 exercise in February.

    Representatives of the two countries are to decide on the scenario of the exercise and number of forces involved. Selenga has been conducted annually since 2008.

    http://www.naval-technology.com/news/newsrussia-to-conduct-joint-exercises-with-china-india-and-egypt-in-2016-4791153
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    Re: Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

    Post  George1 on Mon Feb 22, 2016 9:22 am

    First Unit of Russia-India Kudankulam NPP Reconnected to Grid

    The first unit of the Russia-designed Kudankulam nuclear power plant (NPP) was connected to the grid, a source in the Indian nuclear industry said on Monday.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) — In early February, the unit has been stopped for inspection over the signal of a possible malfunction.

    "Today, at 8.15 a.m. [02:45 GMT], the first unit of the Kudankulam NPP has been connected to the grid. Now the station generates 300 MW of energy, a gradual rise in power continues," the source told RIA Novosti.

    The construction of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant was initially agreed by the Soviet Union and India in 1988, but the project was in limbo until the Nuclear Power Corporation of India and Rosatom relaunched the much-delayed joint project in 2012.

    Kudankulam's first unit reached full capacity in July 2014, and is currently India’s most powerful reactor with a maximum operating capacity of 1,000 megawatt.

    The second unit is nearing completion and is expected to be launched this year. The construction of the third and the fourth units is planned for 2016.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/asia/20160222/1035150942/kudankulam-russia-india-nuclear-energy.html#ixzz40sobJ2s0

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    Re: Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

    Post  Austin on Wed Feb 24, 2016 10:52 am

    Indian ambassador: we are determined to develop the closest relations with Russia

    http://ria.ru/interview/20160224/1379594871.html

    The new Indian ambassador in Moscow Pankaj Saran said in an interview with RIA Novosti on the prospects of cooperation between Russia and India in the energy and intent to New Delhi to sign an association agreement with the Eurasian Union


    India is set to develop a very close relationship with Russia, in the current conditions of the country simply can not afford to ignore each other, according to the new Ambassador of India in Moscow Pankaj Saran. In his first interview to Russian media, he told the special correspondent of RIA Novosti Pauline Chernitsov whether New Delhi to expand exports of agricultural products to Russia, what are the prospects of cooperation between the two countries in the energy sector, but also said that New Delhi is set to sign an association agreement with the Eurasian Union.

    - Mr. Saran, this is your first interview after his appointment as ambassador to Russia. How do you assess the prospects of tenure? And in general, you see the prospects of development of bilateral relations, especially in view of the results of the last summit, held in December?

    - Relations between Russia and India - are special, unique and multi-vector - the test of time. They cover almost all areas, and New Delhi is set to develop relations with its strategic partner. We have already managed to do many things: the last Russian-Indian summit, when in December 2015 met our leaders Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin, has been extremely successful and culminated in a number of agreements signed.

    Just a couple of days will be a month of my stay in Russia, in Moscow. I began my career in Moscow in 1984. Then it was the Soviet Union, of course, it was a completely different country, a different time. And, in general, throughout the world, the situation was completely different. And now, having returned here after 32 years old, I want to say that for me it is an honor and a privilege. And I can see that much has changed in Russia, it is for the economy, culture and influence in the world - around the same time, Russia has increased significantly. Russia is our strategic privileged partner, and I am very happy that now I am an ambassador in such an important country for us. While serving as the Ambassador of India, I will strive to develop these relationships and ensure implementation of decisions.

    As you know, we in India are now the new government, this government sold themselves to maintain the close, the best relations with Russia. For me personally is a huge inspiration to be here as an ambassador and to do everything possible to promote these relations further. We know that there is great potential and opportunities for further rapprochement between India and Russia, and I think that there should be a greater role in the younger generation.

    In cooperation between our countries, we will first try to bring people together. Russia has a very rich history, culture and civilization. The same can be said about India. In Russia, it was very much written about India, it has inspired Russian intellectuals. And that is why we must continue to work done. And in any case, neither India nor Russia should not neglect each other, they can not afford it.

    But the most important thing in this relationship - to create and increase contacts between people.

    - Do you see the prospects for the growth of trade with the Russian Federation in the coming year? Due to some sectors can be achieved a breakthrough?

    - Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin set a goal to increase bilateral trade to $ 30 billion by 2025. Both sides intend to expand bilateral economic and trade cooperation, and we are working to achieve this goal. We will do everything possible for that. We have identified seven priority areas, such as pharmaceuticals, jewelry, technical equipment and machinery, oil and gas, textiles and garments, agricultural sphere - all of them are potential sectors for cooperation to help achieve the stated goals.

    - Are there any current negotiations to increase the export of Indian meat and dairy products in Russia?


    - India has already started to export bufflo meat in Russia, where the product has been well received. With regard to the expansion of supply, we are the largest exporter and, of course, everything depends on the demand in Russia. I am sure that if there is demand, our exporters will be happy to increase their supply. If need be, we are ready to export more.

    Also, we are now in the process of negotiations to obtain the necessary permits to begin exports of dairy products

    - At what stage are the negotiations to expand the settlements in national currencies between Russia and India? As in India evaluated the proposal of the Russian Federation on mutual national currencies within the BRICS group? Will this measure is to reduce the risk associated with dollar payments?

    - The organization of settlements using national currencies of the BRICS looks promising. And now the Russian and Indian companies have shown some interest in the implementation of trade transactions using national currencies. There is already a mechanism that both parties are free to use. In addition to this we have set up a joint working group to develop a road map to ensure interstate settlements in the Russian-Indian trade.

    The two parties shall consult with representatives of business and industry in order to reach a broad consensus on this issue.

    - Presidency of the BRICS in 2016 goes from Russia to India, which plans to develop the priorities of New Delhi as part of its presidency and how they will contribute to the development of bilateral relations?

    - India is looking forward to working as chairman of the BRICS. We highly appreciate the results of the Russian presidency in BRICS. And now conducting consultations with the Russian side in order to keep the continuity and not to lose the pace of work, and to find new areas of cooperation.

    We have already announced the theme of the Indian presidency - find responsible general and collective decisions. We see an important association BRICS countries, whose influence is important for the whole world. In this respect, in a large number of multilateral initiatives were carried out during the Russian presidency.

    This year is the second time we will host the BRICS summit, the last time it was in 2012. But since then, the BRICS organization became stronger and, of course, increased the level of interaction.

    BRICS member countries are among the largest economies in the world: if we combine the economy of Brazil, Russia, China, India and South Africa, we will get a large percentage of the global economy. From this point of view we are going to approach the challenges of our presidency of the BRICS: how the organization can contribute to the overall global economy.

    We also understand that within the organization there are other areas of cooperation. This includes the challenges facing the organization, such as terrorism, security.

    - Will there be somehow reflected in the agenda of the Summit and the Presidency theme of joint efforts in countering terrorism?


    - You know, I would like today to share two points, two aspects. The first aspect - the presidency of India in BRICS is an extended process. Another aspect - the summit itself, where will meet the heads of our states. We are ready to take into account in the preparation and various foundations of our cooperation: economics, finance, terrorism.

    Of course, the issues of terrorism and the fight against terrorism will be given some attention, we will concentrate on this.

    With regard to the summit, then, of course, when our leaders meet, they discuss all the most important moments of what is happening in the world. And this will apply not only to the BRICS, but in general the whole situation in the world. Of course, it is very difficult to assume what will be the world situation at that time. But the fact that this issue will be discussed, no doubt.

    I am sure that one of the major emphases, which will focus on during the summit of BRICS, will counter international terrorism. Terrorism - is a serious problem, and the BRICS countries have the ability and capacity to counter terrorism, there is a possibility to maintain peace and stability in the world. So I think that when our leaders meet, you will be sure to take this opportunity to discuss this issue.

    - Does the question now being worked Russian Foreign Minister Lavrov to India in preparation for the summit of the BRICS?


    - Of course, we plan to organize a series of ministerial visits and meetings. And in preparation for him, we will consult with Russia. I'm sure when we will schedule a meeting of foreign ministers of the BRICS, be sure to send an invitation to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Russia Mr. Sergey Lavrov.

    The exact dates yet, because we are still working on the schedule of events of his presidency. But I can say that we will stick to the traditions of the BRICS and we will take advice BRICS partners at different levels. This may be the level of deputy ministers, ministerial level.

    As for the dates, as I said, they we have not yet determined. Now we are no longer working on the logistical details of meetings at different levels. And, of course, on the logistics of the summit.

    - How are the negotiations on the free trade zone of India and the Eurasian Economic Union? Can we expect that this year will be an agreement on comprehensive economic cooperation in the format of India - the Eurasian Economic Union?

    - To study the prospects of establishing a free trade area a joint working group was established between India and the Eurasian Union. Research is being conducted, and we look forward to their early conclusion. After we examine the report will begin substantive consultations on the FTA - a comprehensive agreement on economic cooperation. India would like to achieve association with the Eurasian Union.

    Now it is very difficult to identify any time frame, because at the moment held technical talks. But it is very important to understand that at the political level, the parties agreed to facilitate association of India with the Eurasian Union. This was agreed during the summit of the heads of the leaders of our states.

    We are negotiating with Russia, as well as with other countries (member of the Eurasian Union - ed.). India is ready to sign an agreement on free trade zone. But, of course, when this kind of agreements are signed, it is necessary to take into account the fact that it is mutually beneficial for both parties, and take into account the wishes and requirements of both parties.

    - Earlier, the Russian Foreign Ministry said that in the tripartite meeting of Foreign Ministers of the Russia-India-China may be held in April, if you have more specific information about the date?

    - The sides still agree on a mutually acceptable date, but we are ready to organize this meeting as soon as possible. Now we are in contact on this issue with Russia, because it will all be held in Moscow. I think we shall sound the date only after consultations end. But once again I want to say that yes, we are ready for this meeting.

    With regard to the agenda of the meeting, it will be determined after mutual consultation. We try to do everything so that this meeting took place is so significant and productive as possible. When Russia, India and China work together, this contributes to world stability and economic development at both the regional and global level.

    - At what stage is the study of the Russian leader's visit to New Delhi?


    - The leaders of Russia and India, there every year, and sometimes more often - on the basis of the intensity and high level of our bilateral relations. Cycle of preparatory meetings which are usually held a few months before this summit, has already begun.

    - Previously reported intention of India to enter into a new contract for the supply of Mi-17V-5 and purchase another 48 such helicopters. Go there already negotiations? When can we expect the signing of the contract?

    - Moscow has already made deliveries of Mi-17V-5 helicopters under the previous contract (151 machine). Who started the procedure of approval of the new party supply of these helicopters, and upon completion we expect to sign a contract.

    At present it is difficult to say when the next batch will be delivered: we expect this, and experts are working on the issue. But it is difficult to identify any specific time frame.

    - That is a purely technical consultations and the parties do not have any significant differences?


    - Yes, in general, I do not see any major problems (with a new contract - Ed.).

    - Do begun negotiations for the purchase of India's air defense systems S-400 "Triumph"? When do you expect to sign a contract?


    - Our military-technical cooperation with Russia has a long history and covers various sectors. Now Moscow and New Delhi are discussing several options of weapons systems, and the sides are working on the completion of the talks fruitful.

    - Are Indian Airlines is considering buying Sukhoi Superjet (SSJ100) aircraft? If so, about how many can there be?


    - Indian companies held a series of talks on the issue with the Russian side. India is one of the fastest growing markets of civil aviation in the world, so we have a serious need in this area, and Russia has the necessary experience. In any case, the negotiations will be conducted on a commercial basis, and I hope for their specific outcomes.

    Sukhoi is in talks with two private Indian companies, and this is purely a commercial matter between the supplier, which is Sukhoi, and two private companies. So we just have to wait, when a decision is made.

    Based on this, I can say that the Indian government is not involved in these negotiations. In any case, I would be happy if the two sides can reach an agreement. But since this offer, there is the private companies take into account the factors that are important to them, and on the basis of the concluded agreements. Now negotiations are still underway. I just want to say is that this is a good Sukhoi Superjet plane, it has proven itself in the international market.

    - When the expected closing of the transaction for the purchase of a stake in India's ONGC "Vankorneft" in New Delhi? Could this happen in the course of the meeting of the Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission, as previously reported by some media outlets?


    - Oil and gas sector is one of the priorities in the framework of cooperation between Russia and India. Now we are discussing the many opportunities for interaction on extraction and processing, transportation and sale of hydrocarbons, as well as supply of equipment and technologies for their exploration.

    In the course of the last Russian-Indian summit in December 2015, the parties agreed on the acquisition of the Indian company ONGS Videsh Limited 15 per cent stake in the company "Vankorneft".

    With regard to the inter-governmental commission, as you know, we have two of them - military and economic, the issue is related to the economic. Negotiations are underway with the company "Rosneft" and Indian enterprises. These negotiations are going well and I am confident that the prospects for concluding a good agreement.

    However, there is also a complex internal issues that need to be addressed. All I can say is that we are optimistic about the conclusion of this agreement, and hope that it will happen this year. But when and how - it will be decided two sides.

    - If we talk separately about the timing of the intergovernmental commissions, when will the military and when - economic?


    - The current annual summit will be held in India, and as usual, according to tradition, it goes at the end of the year. With regard to the date, we have not decided yet, because we have literally just finished the previous summit - a very successful and one of the most fruitful. But before spending the next summit, we need to hold preparatory meetings. Usually these meetings are held in the months before the summit, and it gives an opportunity for ministers to properly prepare and provide the necessary information to heads of our states.

    As I said before, the date of the summit, we have not yet determined, but we know that, to the summit was a success, it is necessary to prepare well.

    Now we have to schedule such meetings to begin the process as early as possible. We will try to build a schedule so that both sides had enough time to prepare well.

    - Earlier, media reported that Indian Oil Corp and Oil India are in talks with "Rosneft" to buy nearly 30 percent stake in the field TAAs-Yuryakh in Eastern Siberia. Can the Indian side to confirm this? At what stage are the negotiations?


    - We consider several options transactions. However, it should wait for the official announcement in advance not to give publicity details of the negotiations.

    - When may the signing of a general agreement between Rosatom and the Indian side about the construction of new nuclear power plants in India blocks?


    - Russia and India have approved the construction of a road map for the next 20 years, 12 nuclear reactors. We have already put into operation the first unit of NPP "Kudankulam", and is expected to the second unit will also soon be launched. The General Framework Agreement for the construction of the third and fourth block is already decorated. We are currently negotiating for the development of the General Framework Agreement for the fifth and sixth unit (NPP "Kudankulam") and we want to complete the process as soon as possible. During the last annual summit in December 2015, India's Ministry of Energy and Rosatom approved the road map for the localization of production in India is designed in Russian reactors. We believe this is another positive step in the development of our cooperation in the nuclear sphere and politics with a "to do in India."

    - Mr. Ambassador, I have to ask you about an event that is widely expected to happen later this year. We are talking about the end of India's accession to the SCO. Do you expect that at the summit in Uzbekistan point will be delivered?


    - The decision to launch the process of adoption in India was taken at the summit of the organization in Ufa in 2015 as a full member of the SCO. We hope for a speedy completion of this process and the entry of India into the SCO is already at the upcoming summit.
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    George1

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    Re: Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

    Post  George1 on Thu Feb 25, 2016 1:20 am

    Moscow and New Delhi transitioning to trade in national currencies - Indian ambassador

    https://www.rt.com/business/333486-russia-india-currencies-exchange/
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    George1

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    Re: Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

    Post  George1 on Thu Mar 17, 2016 9:02 am

    Rosneft Plans to Close Deal on Stake in India’s Essar Oil Refinery in 2016

    Russia's oil giant Rosneft and India's Essar Oil refinery have reached a preliminary agreement on the deal which will allow for the two companies to create a long-standing partnership between Russia and India in the hydrocarbon sector.

    NEW DELHI (Sputnik) – Rosneft plans to close the deal on purchasing a 49 percent stake in the Indian Essar Oil Ltd refinery in 2016, Rosneft CEO Igor Sechin said.

    “We’ve negotiated (with Essar on purchasing a 49 percent stake in the refinery – Ed.), and reached a preliminary agreement on terms and procedures of closing the deal. We’ll have to receive the necessary permits, and the deal will be closed in 2016,” Sechin said. Speaking about the documents signed on Wednesday, he added that the market would be informed on the details of the deals some time later.

    “Following the signing of these documents, Rosneft will be able to work with its Indian partners. Our cooperation model provides for the involvement of Indian companies in upstream projects in Russia, and Rosneft will get access to the Indian market, thus creating a safe energy bridge between our countries,” Sechin said.

    Indian Petroleum and Natural Gas Minister Dharmendra Pradhan said that Russia is a longstanding and time-tested partner of India. “We are happy that India and Russia have attained high levels of understanding and cooperation in almost all areas of the bilateral relationship. We are committed to working together to further strengthen the India-Russia partnership in the hydrocarbon sector”.

    In July 2015, Rosneft and Essar Oil Ltd signed a number of agreements, according to which Russia will participate in the Essar refinery in the town of Vadinar with a stake of up to 49 percent and will supply 10 million tons of oil per year to this refinery for 10 consecutive years. The refinery’s capacity is expected to more than double – from the current 20 million tons per year to 45 million tons by 2020.

    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/business/20160317/1036437165/rosneft-plans-close-deal-stake-india-essar-oil-refinery.html#ixzz4393vPtSM
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    Pinto

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    India, Russia Strike Big Energy Deals

    Post  Pinto on Sun Mar 20, 2016 10:02 am

    India, Russia Strike Big Energy Deals

    A consortium of three Indian state-run companies, Oil India, Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) and Bharat PetroResources, has signed energy deals with Rosneft to acquire the Russian company’s most promising assets in Siberia. CEO of Rosneft Igor Sechin has made an official announcement in this regard in New Delhi, saying that the deal will decrease India’s dependence on oil and gas imports.

    Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had hinted that India would cut oil imports by 10% in the next six years by purchasing foreign energy assets. The prime minister made clear that India would take advantage of low global oil prices and the slowdown in China’s overseas acquisitions.

    On the basis of the deals signed between the Indian consortium and Rosneft, the biggest listed oil producer in the world (by output) will allow Oil India, Indian Oil Corporation and Bharat PetroResources to increase their stake in the Vankor oil field to nearly 50% and acquire around 30% of the Taas-Yuriakh field.

    The deals will also help Rosneft in a different way. Sechin explained that it would be easier for Rosneft to pay off debts incurred in its USD 55 billion acquisition of TNK-BP in 2013. During their meeting in December, President Vladimir Putin had assured Prime Minister Modi that Moscow would deepen its Soviet-era economic ties with India. Putin said that Moscow decided to supply oil to one of the world’s fastest-growing economies in an attempt to boost bilateral ties. Modi welcomed President Putin’s decision to grant stakes to Indian oil firms.

    Addressing a press conference in the Indian capital on Wednesday, Sechin said that the deals would not only help India secure Russian oil output, but also help Rosneft gain access to the huge Indian market. During his stay in India, Sechin met senior Essar Oil officials to discuss a separate deal between Rosneft and the Indian firm. Under the deal, Essar Oil will acquire a 49% stake in the 400,000 barrel-per-day Vadinar refinery in western part of India in the next three months. “We are establishing a reliable energy bridge between our countries, which will be developing the interests of both Russia and India,” Sechin told the press.

    Foreign policy experts are of the opinion that Russia wants to strengthen ties with India because of the current global political landscape. The Russian economy is facing deep crisis, as it has been badly hit by Western sanctions and a plunge in global oil prices.

    http://inserbia.info/today/2016/03/india-russia-strike-big-energy-deals/
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    Pinto

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    Sushma Swaraj arrives in Russia on two-day visit

    Post  Pinto on Mon Apr 18, 2016 8:45 am

    Sushma Swaraj will attend the annual foreign ministers’ meeting of Russia, India and China

    Moscow: External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj arrived Moscow on Monday for the second leg of her two-nation visit, during which she will attend the annual foreign ministers’ meeting of Russia, India and China.

    “Namaste Moscow! EAM @SushmaSwaraj arrives in Russia to attend RIC Foreign Ministers Conference tomorrow,” ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vikas Swarup tweeted.

    Swaraj’s two-day visit will see her attend the annual foreign ministers’ meeting of RIC (Russia, India and China).

    Besides attending the RIC meeting, she is also expected to have a bilateral meet with her Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov in Moscow.

    On the sidelines of RIC, Swaraj is expected to meet her Chinese counterpart Wang Yi during which she is likely to raise the issue of China blocking India’s bid at the United Nations to ban Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) chief Masood Azhar.

    In Iran, she had a wide rage of engagements with several top Iranian leaders, including president Hassan Rouhani.

    Rouhani has assured Swaraj that Iran can be a ‘reliable partner’ for India’s energy needs. Enhancing energy cooperation was the centerpiece of her visit to the powerful Persian Gulf nation. PTI

    http://www.livemint.com/Politics/Lax1VEjRdWNhF14xUjXHXK/Sushma-Swaraj-arrives-in-Russia-on-twoday-visit.html?utm_source=hindustantimes&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=ht_livemint
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    Pinto

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    Russia, India Agree to Hold Three Large Joint Military Drills in 2016

    Post  Pinto on Thu Apr 28, 2016 4:48 pm

    MOSCOW (Sputnik) – Russia and India have agreed to hold the Indra-2016 joint military exercises and will decide on their dates in May, the head of the Russian Defense Ministry’s Eastern Military District’s press service said Thursday.

    “A joint protocol was signed in Vladivostok on the first planned conference of the Indra-2016 joint exercises,” Capt. 1st Rank Roman Martov said.
    He said consultations would be held in May in India where the dates of the exercises would be specified.

    “This year troops from the Eastern Military District plan to participate in three large exercises with the Indian Armed Forces, which include the Indra-Neva-2016 with the Pacific Fleet, AviaIndra-2016 with the participation of the Air Force and air defense systems, and Indra-2016,” Martov added.


    Read more: http://sputniknews.com/military/20160428/1038749297/russia-india-drills.html#ixzz478ITnsMZ
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    Pinto

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    India, Russia discussing cost of Kudankulam Units 5,6

    Post  Pinto on Fri May 06, 2016 7:56 am

    New Delhi: India is in discussions with Russia on the costing for construction of Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project (KNPP) to be built by Russia`s atomic power corporation Rosatom, parliament was told on Thursday.

    "Regarding the cost of Units 5 and 6, discussions are in progress on the techno-commercial offer submitted by the Russian side. The cost will emerge on conclusion of the discussions," Minister of State for Atomic Energy Jitendra Singh said in a written reply in the Rajya Sabha.

    "Discussions on the draft general framework agreement for setting up KNPP Units 5 and 6 are currently in progress," he said.

    The Indian government gave in-principle approval for setting up Units 5 and 6 at Kudankulam in October 2009. An inter-governmental agreement between India and Russia was signed in December 2008 for setting up Units 3 to 6.

    The ground-breaking ceremony for construction of Units 3 and 4 was performed in mid-February.

    The new director general of Rosatom (South Asia) based in Mumbai, Evgeni Griva, told IANS during a visit here recently that the contract for delivering equipment for Units 3 and 4 had been signed and initial permits obtained.

    "On September 7, 2015, Atomenergomash Holding, the power plant division of Rosatom, signed the comprehensive delivery contract for reactor equipment for power Units 3 and 4," Griva said.

    "The permit for excavation works and foundation pit preparation has now been obtained from the Indian regulatory body," he said.

    "The first and most important contract has also been signed -- the delivery contract of long-lead equipment and priority delivery equipment from the Russian Federation. Besides, the top priority design is practically completed," he added.

    Start of work on Units 3 and 4 was delayed due to concerns among foreign nuclear plant suppliers about India`s nuclear damage liability law. They were reluctant to sell to India, citing the provisions of the Civil Liability for Nuclear Damage Act (CLND) 2010, that provides the right of recourse by Indian operator NPCIL against the vendors for compensation in case of an accident.

    The Indian government last year launched an insurance pool of Rs.1,500 crore ($220 million) to be managed by national reinsurer GIC Re.

    http://zeenews.india.com/news/india/india-russia-discussing-cost-of-kudankulam-units-56_1882466.html
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    Pinto

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    India, Russia working to resolve Afghan crisis

    Post  Pinto on Sat May 07, 2016 11:59 am

    At the recent meeting in New Delhi of senior officials from countries in the ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul process, there was broad alignment in the views of Russia, India and Afghanistan on the way ahead in violence-ravaged Afghanistan. However, Russia and India differ on the uses of the Taliban in Afghanistan.

    The situation in Afghanistan is deteriorating, with rising levels of violence marring prospects of peace returning to that country any time soon. The meeting of senior officials from countries in the ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul process on Afghanistan, held in New Delhi on April 26, was significant, coinciding as it did with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani’s repudiation of the idea of engaging with Pakistan to curb the onslaught of the Taliban.

    The ‘Heart of Asia’ or Istanbul Process was established in 2011 to provide a platform to encourage regional collaboration to tackle the issues facing Afghanistan, the ‘heart’ of Asia. A group of 14 countries other than Afghanistan, which form the core regional partnership, discuss regional issues, particularly encouraging security, political, and economic cooperation among Afghanistan and its neighbours. This region-led dialogue aims to expand practical coordination between Afghanistan and its neighbours and regional partners to face urgent common threats, particularly counter-terrorism, counter-narcotics, poverty, and extremism.

    HoA Consultations

    Other than the delegation from Afghanistan, headed by Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai, delegations from the 14 other member countries, Azerbaijan, China, India, Iran, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Pakistan, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Tajikistan, Turkey, Turkmenistan, the United Arab Emirates and Uzbekistan attended the meeting in New Delhi. Also in attendance were representatives of 15 other supporting countries, including the US, and 11 supporting organisations, including the UN, NATO, SCO and OSCE.

    пустым не оставлять!!
    Secret meeting brings Taliban to China
    After the closed door meeting, a source in the Indian government said, “It was a consultative meeting, the first this year, to discuss priorities and agenda in 2016 leading up to the Ministerial to be hosted by India in December 2016.”

    As Co-Chair with Afghanistan, India “put forward certain suggestions to enhance regional cooperation within Heart of Asia (HoA) to enhance stability, security and prosperity in Afghanistan and in the region”, an official source said.

    These include six HoA Confidence Building Measures (CBMs) and “augmenting regional connectivity”. Also, there was consensus on condemning the April 19 terrorist attack in Kabul which killed and maimed mover 400 people.

    Over 40 participating countries and supporting countries and organisations agreed to continue to contribute to ongoing political, security and economic transformations in Afghanistan.

    The April meeting focused on promoting further dialogue and cooperation and produced a declaration in support of Afghanistan’s development. Diplomats and officials spoke of enhancing regional efforts in counter-terrorism and counter-narcotics trafficking, trade promotion, and even the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India (TAPI) pipeline, and the expansion of the transit corridors under the Asian Development Bank’s Central Asia Regional Economic Corridor (CAREC) Program.

    Combating Terrorism


    The most serious discussion, the source said, was the issue of combating the spread of Islamic State (IS) terrorists towards the region and checking the Taliban. Mechanisms to improve the quality of intelligence sharing were discussed.

    Russian diplomat Albert Khorev, who heads the Afghanistan department in the Russian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, provided several concrete suggestions on improved coordination during the HoA meeting, an official source told RIR.

    Analysts, observers and officials opine that without major commitments and sustained support from regional neighbours like Iran, Russia, China and India particularly, it is difficult for the Afghan government to endure; economically, politically, or militarily; with the war against a resurgent Taliban at its current pitch and Afghan politics so fractured.

    Afghanistan’s neighbours in the region realise this, which is why countries like Iran and Russia have deepened their engagement with the insurgency. Iran has sheltered key Taliban factions in Mashhad, while Russia is increasing its diplomatic contacts with some elements of the Taliban in a bid to counter IS moves toward and gains in Central Asia.

    Zamir Kabulov, Russia’s special envoy to Afghanistan, recently acknowledged that “we and the Taliban have channels for exchanging information”. “The Taliban interest,” he said while speaking to Interfax, “objectively coincides with ours.” He was referring to the IS, which is increasingly rivalling the Taliban in eastern parts of Afghanistan. No country wants to see a Taliban takeover.

    India, a former senior official said, is stuck in a quandary and is unable to determine its way forward. Among its “red lines” is a refusal to differentiate between “good” Taliban and “bad” Taliban, hence it cannot engage with the insurgent group, certainly not officially.

    Resolving Afghan crisis


    Shashank Joshi, a Senior Research Fellow of the Royal United Services Institute, London, wrote in an opinion piece in the Hindu newspaper earlier this week that there have been various attempts at various forums to try and restore peace and stability to Afghanistan. Most recently, as violence raged, a Quadrilateral Coordination Group (QCG) of the U.S., China, Pakistan and Afghanistan was convened in January 2016 and met four times over the following month. This diplomatic initiative too has proved ineffective, and India has sought expansion of the quadrilateral to include three more members, Russia, Iran and India.


    In his piece, Joshi wrote that the QCG’s efforts to engage the Taliban collapsed when news of their leader Mullah Omar’s death was confirmed by Pakistani authorities. The Pakistan establishment’s “levers” to “pressurise and control” the Taliban have proved increasingly ineffective as incidents of violence escalated, with the Taliban even retaking control of Kunduz town last September and horrific incidents of violence in Kabul, Helmand and Kandahar. Between January and March 2016, civilian deaths rose by 13 per cent compared to the same period in the previous year, while the number of “complex and suicide attacks” rose by over a quarter. As a result of this Pakistani recalcitrance, Afghan President Ghani called off his 18-month-long engagement with Pakistan after the April 19 attack in Kabul.

    “The result may be a short-term boost in India-Afghanistan ties, but longer-term trends are bleak. No one,” Joshi wrote, “is fully committed to Afghanistan’s dysfunctional government. Beijing is unwilling to use its leverage over Pakistan, Washington is distracted, while Moscow and Tehran are hedging their bets. The idea of a regional concert of powers to resolve the conflict”, he said, “is implausible today.”

    The HoA Process provides a new agenda for regional cooperation by placing Afghanistan at its centre and engaging countries of the region in sincere and result‐oriented cooperation for a peaceful and stable Afghanistan, as well as a secure and prosperous region as a whole.

    https://in.rbth.com/economics/cooperation/2016/05/06/india-russia-working-to-resolve-afghan-crisis_590875
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    Pinto

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    Pakistan cannot influence Russia’s strategic partnership with India- expert

    Post  Pinto on Thu May 26, 2016 7:31 pm

    https://rbth.com/international/2016/05/24/pakistan-cannot-influence-russias-strategic-partnership-with-india-exper_596865

    After decades of frosty ties, Russia has finally begun to reach out to Pakistan. Economic, political and even defense ties are growing between the two countries that were on opposing camps during the Cold War.

    The international media has been rife with speculation that Moscow is using its ties with Islamabad as a bargaining tool with its long-standing ally New Delhi.

    In this interview with RBTH, Petr Topychankov, South Asia expert and Associate in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program, tries to dispel the myths surrounding Moscow’s recent outreach to Islamabad.

    RBTH: Articles published recently by international publications speculate that Russia-Pakistan relations are on the rise, because Moscow wants to use this as a tool in negotiations with New Delhi. Is there any truth in this?


    Petr Topychkanov: Russia’s relations with Pakistan are rising, first of all, on the political level. It means that the number of contacts is rising and political relations are much more active than say 15 years ago. There are some significant events in this field. For example, Russia’s full support of Pakistan's membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

    As for defense cooperation, there are some developments as well. The countries signed an agreement on military technical cooperation in 2014. There have not been any arms purchases yet, but talks on four transport helicopters are mostly finished. Then, there were small-scale drills, and this year there will be joint drills in the mountains.
    The Russian-Pakistani Consultative Group on Strategic Stability is actively working. These meetings are attended by high-level officials from the foreign and defense ministries of both countries.

    Other than that, there are also some developments in economic cooperation. A Rostech subsidiary has begun constructing a local gas pipeline. Despite the project not being that big, I can call it a big success when compared to the past.

    Then, Pakistan helped Russia to ensure its food security, when after a self-imposed food embargo against Western countries, Russia needed to find to food suppliers. Pakistan started supplying Russia with agricultural products.

    RBTH: You mentioned political, defense and economic ties. Why is there a shift in Russian policies in South Asia?


    I totally disagree with the idea, highlighted in a recent article on The Diplomat. The article suggests that the rise of Russia-Pakistan relations is linked to some problems existing between Russia and India. This is a very simplistic logic. It suggests that India looks for partners in the West, and in response Russia switches to Pakistan. This is not true. If people in the Russian establishment shared this kind of logic, Russia's policies in the region would have been very dangerous and most certainly doomed to failure.

    I would put it in a different way. The underdeveloped relations with Pakistan, as I see it, are a legacy of the Cold War, when Pakistan was an ally of the U.S. In the 1970s and 80s, it supported the military opposition in Afghanistan, which was fighting against Soviet troops who were legally in the country. This situation didn't lead to a conflict between Pakistan and the USSR, but caused a deep distrust between them. But the war is over and Pakistan is no longer an American ally, although there were statements from both sides that Pakistan is a major non-NATO ally in the War on Terror. Such statements are not accurate.

    Americans did give some aid to Pakistan in recent years, but these amounts didn't make Pakistan dependent on Washington. Pakistan has other close friends, and China is one of them.

    From this point of view, Russia's slight approach to Pakistan looks logical. Russia and Pakistan have common interests in economy and security. Russia also wants to work with different partners in the region and not be stuck with just one partner. Russia is finally getting a balanced approach towards the region and seems to be elaborating a strategic approach to South Asia. This is logical.

    Doesn’t this in any way affect Russia’s ties with India?

    Pakistan cannot replace or even influence Russia’s strategic partnership with India. This is just impossible. Russia's priorities are very clear. I think that no matter how long New Delhi will enjoy its ‘honeymoon’ in relations with Washington, both India and Russia understand that their ties cannot be influenced by any third parties.

    India will always play a very special role in Russia's foreign policy and Russia is very much interested in keeping the strategic level of its ties with India

    This first of all concerns military cooperation: building of India's aircraft carriers, submarines and aircraft, and developing its non-nuclear cruise missle BrahMos.

    Then there is atomic energy. Despite all existing dialogues between India and the U.S. and France, the only successful foreign-built nuclear power project in India was constructed by Russia.

    That said, India will always play a very special role in Russia's foreign policy and Russia is very much interested in keeping the strategic level of its ties with India.

    But many Indian analysts say that growing ties between Moscow and Islamabad are caused by a decline in the former’s ties with New Delhi…

    I see no evidence, that Moscow links growing Russia-Pakistan ties with any possible cloud over Russia-India relations. This is something some analysts may want to happen, but I see no evidence. I would say that Russian officials made some attempts to state that India and Pakistan are two independent entities in Russian foreign policy. This was explained, although not very clearly, by Sergei Narishkin in his interview to TASS.

    RBTH: It is very easy to add fuel to the fire when it concerns India-Pakistan relations. Many in India will suspect the worst even if you say Russia's relations with Pakistan are now natural and not linked to any problems in Russia-India relations. How should Moscow behave to show both sides that there is nothing to be concerned about?

    First of all, Russia should clearly voice its strategy in the region. This strategy should be crystal clear and officially announced. This has not been done. People responsible for Russia's policies towards India and Pakistan belong to different departments and it's clear that they do not always communicate with each other, or coordinate their actions.

    Second, Russia's strategy in both countries should be clear not only to politicians and governments, but also to the media and public. It means, that when Russia is planning to sign a military cooperation agreement with Pakistan, it should announce and discuss it in India and explain the reasons behind the decision. And it needs to do the very same thing with Pakistan, when it plans to sell India the S-400 air defense complex, because this is a matter of concern for Pakistan.

    From the point of view of regional security, all three sides want peace and stability in South Asia.

    These are very basic, but effective recommendations. Even so, they were not followed by Moscow. In 2014, when Sergey Chemesov, head of Rostech, announced the end of an arms embargo on Pakistan, this was a big and unpleasant surprise for India. The information was not accurate, because there was no embargo in the first place. There were only internal recommendations within Russian authorities, concerning a list of countries where it might not be suitable to sell arms. More than that, the Indian public was not ready for such news.
    I think the actions and words of all of Russia's decision-makers in the region should be coordinated and not be harmful.

    RBTH: Will Pakistan and India join the SCO? And do you think it will be a positive step?


    They will join the SCO, as the decision has already been taken and the finalization only needs time and readiness from India and Pakistan. Of course, India or Pakistan can decide to not join, but I hardly believe either of them would. All formal procedures have already begun.

    SCO will not try to help India and Pakistan find a solution to the Kashmir problem. SCO is not going to push India and Pakistan towards a solution of their nuclear disputes. This is not a matter of SCO.

    SCO gives them an international forum to express their positions on international issues and security issues in the region. SCO will also provide them a forum for bilateral discussions, without any interference from third parties. SCO will help build relations between their military forces and intelligence.

    One of the most successful things that SCO has been doing is defense and anti-terrorism cooperation between members. SCO will also help them to start taking part in joint military drills. All this is very positive both for the region and for Russia's strategy in the region.

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    sepheronx

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    Re: Russia - India Strategic Relationship: News

    Post  sepheronx on Thu May 26, 2016 8:23 pm

    Like how India sits on two seats and acts like a cheap prostitute, Russia does not and will not need to communicate nor negotiate with India over Pakistan sales. India is playing a stupid game and will see itself isolated in the region. Russia doesn't have to comfort India or make it feel like a special snow flake. Fact of India moving closer to West is its decision and Russia's increase in cooperation with China and Pakistan will be the growing consequences of India's actions. Simple as that. India can't have the whole pie to itself, regardless what the corrupt and greedy Indians think.

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