Old Friend Better than Two New Friends: Modi to Putin

Gold Silver Reports — Old Friend Better than Two New Friends: Modi to Putin — Satisfied with Moscow’s assurance on not adopting any measure that is detrimental to Delhi’s security interests (the context being a recent Pakistan-Russia military exer cise), India’s massive Russia push at the 17th India-Russia annual summit here on Saturday witnessed a slew of 16 pacts and three announcements on additional nuclear reactors, military helicopters, air defence systems, frigates, additional investments in the hydrocarbon sector and creation of a joint investment fund. Russian President Vladimir Putin committed support against Pakistansponsored terror. He also reiterated strong support for India’s NSG membership and for Delhi’s entry as a full member in SCO in 2017 summit. 

Putin and PM Narendra Modi also unveiled, through video-conferencing, units 3 and 4 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Complex. However, the two sides could not conclude pacts for the 5th and 6th units of the nuclear power plant and decided to continue discussions on lines of credit for setting up these two units.

While the shot in India’s arm was Russia’s unequivocal support against Pakistan-sponsored Uri attacks and measures to fight crossborder terror, Delhi and Moscow took significant steps in expanding economic and investment partnerships. Russia-India Investment Fund ($1 billion), MoUs on trade and investments and a number of hydrocarbon deals signed on Saturday held hope of boosting economic partnerships.

Underlining that one old friend is better than two new ones, with reference to old ties with Moscow, Modi in his press statement following two hours of dialogue with Putin, said Russia is “an old friend of India“, has cleared its stand on terrorism and backs India in its fight against terror.

Modi said he deeply appreciated Russia’s support of “our actions to fight cross-border terrorism that threatens our entire region“. The PM also referred to convergence of views on developments in Afghanistan and West Asia.

The remarks are significant in the wake of attacks by Pakistan-based terrorists on Indian Army camps, to which India responded with surgical strikes on terror launch pads along the Line of Control (LoC). Russia was the first major country to support India’s surgical strikes.

Praising Putin’s continuous personal attention on strengthening ties with India, Modi pointed out, “Your personal attention has been a source of strength to our relationship, your leadership provided stability and substance to our strategic partnership. Ours is a truly privileged relationship.“ Russian special forces could collaborate with Indian counterparts to fight terror, informed Sergey Chemezov, CEO of Russia’s Rostec holding company and close aide of Putin.

Later, briefing the media, Foreign Secretary S Jaishankar said India was satisfied with the Russian assurance that it will not undertake any step that is detrimental to Delhi’s security interests (with reference to PakistanRussia military exercise which was raised by Delhi with Moscow).

The two sides put in place a joint document for global peace and stability besides a paper listing three dozen activities planned to mark the 70th year of establishment of diplomatic relations in 2017. Jaishankar explained that economic element of partnership is the priority.

India views Russia as a hard power which could assist in key strategic sectors. Three major defence-related pacts were signed at the summit as Moscow hopes to continue as India’s pre-eminent defence supplier. Modi also announced that possibility of gas pipeline from Russia to India besides FTA with Eurasian Economic Union launched by Russia, enabling access for India in Eurasia.Expanding its decade-old space cooperation, India also received Russian expertise for its Regional Navigation satellite -NAVIC.  — Neal Bhai Reports

Old Friend Better than Two New Friends: Modi to Putin


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