By Anna Forostenko
Vladimir Putin will travel to New Delhi on December 24 for an official visit expected to focus strategic partnership, trade, investment, and military-technological cooperation. This year marks the 65th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries. Immense progress has been made over the past six-and-a-half decades.
In 2012, bilateral trade increased by one-third from last year’s level. Russia and India have a wide range of mutually interesting projects, says Andrei Volodin, the head of the Center of Oriental Studies at the Russian Foreign Ministry’s Diplomatic Academy.
“We are developing cooperation in the most highly technological industrial branches. These include space research, experiments with technologies that may be subsequently used for civil needs. This is also non-classical nuclear engineering that may help both us and Indians tackle our electricity problems and create innovative low-capacity power generating units.”
Just recently, Russia completed the construction of the first reactor of India’s Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The second reactor will be ready within months, and after that work will hopefully begin on the third and fourth reactors. Now and then the Kudankulam project comes under criticism from opponents of nuclear energy, but Russian experts are certain that all the remaining issues will finally be solved.
Russia and India have embarked on new forms of cooperation in a whole number of avenues, says Tatyana Shaumyan, a senior researcher at the Institute of Oriental Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences:
“What is especially important is that recently we have switched from “commodity -money-commodity” system to joint production and development of new rocket and aviation technologies. This is a new stage in our relations, when we are jointly working on such important projects.”
Military cooperation may become the main topic of the current Russian-India summit. In particular during Putin’s visit to India the parties are to discuss the agreement on supplying a new shipment of multipurpose Su 30MKI jet fighters. Military experts note that India is also going to buy 59 Mi 17B-5 helicopters, which are expected to replace the outdated Mi-17/8 jet fighters, which are no on the inventory of the Indian air forces. Another point on the agenda is Russia’s transfer of the Vikramaditya (the former admiral Gorshkov) aircraft carrier to India.
The two countries are also engaged in different regional projects, Tatyana Shaumyan says.
We are cooperating in such formats as BRICS and also very closely in such format as Russia-India-China. We share the same view on many issues such as war on terror, counteracting the unipolar world model with the US dominance. We are jointly interested in the multipolar world model when interests of all countries are considered and none of the countries is subject to discrimination.
The experts interviewed by the Voice of Russia have also marked Russia and India success in fighting international terrorism and drug trafficking.