Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi shakes hands with Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Hyderabad House, on December 6, 2021 in New Delhi, India.
Sonu Mehta | Hindustan Times | Getty Images
India and Russia on signed on monday more than two dozen deals in different types of of sectors and a 10-year defense cooperation agreement.
“The diversity of agreements and [memorandum of understandings] signed today shows the versatile nature of our bilateral partnership,” said the Indian minister State Department, Harsh Vardhan Shringla, during a press conference on Monday. range of areas including: trade, energy, science and technology, education and intellectual property.
“India and Russia have also signed a program of cooperation in the field of defense for the next ten years, 2021 to 2031,” he added.
Putin’s visit to India comes at a time when the relationship met Russia with the United States remains stretched.
For his part, Modi met US president Joe Biden in September and attended first in-person Quad Leaders Summit hosted by Biden. The United States considers India to be a key alley in Asia-Pacific to counter China’s growing influence in the region.
Monday’s meeting between Modi and Putin showed that India’s options open, according to Richard Rossow, the Wadhwani chair in US-India policy studies at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
“Indian” concerned over the trustworthiness of the United States as a partner, not just in defense space, but we have raised concerns over religious tolerance and stuff in India,” Rossow told CNBC’s “Squawk Box Asia” on Tuesday.
“While I think they have a majority” of their eggs in the basket of the United States, if you look around — but on defense at least where they need strategic technology – she want to make sure they love options open,” he said. Moscow, on on the other hand, will ensure that no one country, including China, has hegemony over Asia, Rossow explained.
“So I think both have overriding strategic importance regardless of the relation with the United States and others,” he said added.
In a joint statement on MondayIndia and Russia said they plan to “improve defense cooperation, including facilitating joint” development and production of military equipment, components and spare parts, improve after-sales service system, progress towards mutual recognition of quality control and regular joint exercises of the armed forces of the two countries.”
Russia is still one of India’s largest arms suppliers. about 23% of Russian arms exports between 2016 and 2020 went to the South Asian country, according to a report from the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute.
Foreign Minister Shringla said on Monday that Russia has begun met delivering its long-running range S-400 surface-to-air rocket ship defense systems to India, based on a deal the two countries signed in 2018.
“Deliveries started this month and will continue,” he said, adding: “It is important to note that, of now us of Russia, we conduct an independent foreign policy and I don’t think we need to look at our relationship in the light of any other relationship die there is.”
But this collaboration may be possible lead on United States sanctions under a law of 2017 intended to deter allies from buying Russian weapons. Last year, Washington sanctioned Turkey for to be purchase of the S-400 missile system.
Media messages also said that the two countries signed a deal to produce locally more than 600,000 Russian AK-203 assault rifles in india.
Rossow of CSIS said the magnitude of India and Russia military cooperation is limited by the lack of areas where they have shared interests.
“I think over the next 10 years, you will see some nominal exercises, you will see continued defense sales, maybe some areas of different kind of of technology cooperation. But the real depth of the relationship, the usefulness on the ground, will still be very limited because they don’t have much of theaters where they have shared interests,” he told CNBC.
In recent years, India has taken a step up his purchases of military equipment from the United States, but a majority of to be defense inventory is still of Russian descent.
Last year, the US has signed a deal with India that would allow New Delhi to access US satellite data crucial for targeting missiles and other military assets.
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