13th India-Russia Annual Summit

Russian President Vladimir Putin had a summit meeting with Prime Minister Mamohan Singh on December 24, 2012. This was the 13th Consecutive Annual Summit between the leaders of the two countries. During the Cold War period, India and the Soviet Union had a strategic relationship with each other. However, for nearly a decade after the collapse of the Soviet Union, both the leaderships of Russia and India were reworking their global strategies. With the rise of Putin to power in late 1999, Russia and India began to pay attention to rebuilding their strategic alliance in the new post cold war conditions. In his welcome to the Russian President, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh made it a point to praise Putin as the "original architect of the India-Russia Strategic partnership".

During the Summit, a number of strategic deals were signed, reflecting the ever strengthening strategic relationship. The biggest deal related to nuclear energy. At the 12th Summit in Moscow in December 2011, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had pledged to the Russian President his commitment to operationalise the Koodangkulam nuclear power plant. Despite massive opposition from the local people, the state has used maximum force to ensure the operationalisation of the first nuclear reactor, which is expected to start generating power shortly. At the 13th Summit, Russia has committed to build one new nuclear power plant capable of generating 1000 MW every year for the next 18 years. At roughly $2.5 billion per plant, this deal works out to a massive $45 billlion for the 18 new power plants and will increase India's nuclear energy capacity by 20,000 MW.

India continues to be a preferred market for Russian military technology. Russia and India signed a contract on research and development of 5th generation Stealth aircraft, in which each country would invest $ 5.5 billion. The first batch of fighters which is being developed jointly is scheduled for 2022. India's total cost for these aircraft is estimated at $35 billion. New contracts were signed to supply 71 Mi-17V5 choppers to India in the amount of  $1.3 billion and component kits for the assembly of 42 Su-30MKI fighters worth $1.6 billion.

India and Russia agreed to step up collaboration in oil and gas exploration in Russia as well as in third countries. India's ONGC Videsh Ltd (OVL) has been carrying out oil and gas exploration in Russia, and had acquired the Russian Company Imperial Energy. However, Russia has linked the grant of a 10 year tax holiday on ONGC explorations, with the restoration of the licenses of Sistema, which operated telecom services in India under the brand name MTS. It may be recalled that Sistema was one of the companies whose licenses have been cancelled in February 2012 following the Supreme Court ruling on the 2G Scam. Russia is demanding that Systema's license be restored. In another deal, India's largest bank, the State Bank of India has tied up with the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF), Russia's sovereign wealth fund, to invest $ 2 billion jointly in both countries. Further, Russia has agreed to assist India in space communications. The JSC Navigation Information Systems (NIS GLONASS) have signed an MOU with BSNL and MTNL for providing services in India through geo positioning and telematics using satellites.

Putins's visit was an occasion to further coordinate the geo political strategies of the two countries in Asia. The ruling class of both counties has a commonality of strategic interests in Afghanistan. Both are against the Taliban and want to contain Pakistani influence in Afghanistan after the scheduled withdrawal of US- NATO troops in 2014, by ensuring that Afghanistan is kept in the sphere of influence of Russia and India. Both countries have opposed US sponsored regime change in Iran and Syria which would lead to the establishment of pro US regimes in those countries. Putin reiterated Russia's support for India becoming a full member of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO). India wants to be a full member of the SCO to build strategic partnerships with the 4 former Asian Republics of the Soviet Union which are members of SCO. Russia wants India in the SCO to counter the pre eminence of Chinese imperialism in these Asian Republics of the former Soviet Union.

The growing strategic relationship between India and Russia reveals the coordination of the imperialist interests of the bourgeoisie of the two countries. It reveals that the bourgeoisie of both countries want to fashion a multi polar world, wherein both India and Russia can strengthen and expand their spheres of influence in collusion and contention with other imperialist powers.

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Jan 1-15 2013    World/Geopolitics    War & Peace    

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