Question : Indo-Russian friendship is one of the strongest and oldest in the world. Explain the various aspects of the relationship along with emerging issues between the countries.
Soviet Russia has been one of the strongest backers of independent India and still has been one of the most trusted allies . The contribution of Soviet union and modern Russia towards Indian development is unparalleled.
The aspects of Indo- Russian relationship
- Defence and security
- Russia has been the largest and oldest supplier of arms and defence equipment to India. The modern Russian arsenal helped India during conflicts. This allowed India to emerge a regional power.
- In recent times India and Russia have been involved in various defence exercises to keep their forces combat ready such as INDRA.
Russia has been a steady contributor to Indian space program starting from ‘Aryabhata’ to ‘Gaganyaan’. The help received from Russia in developing indigenous technology in space technology has been the cornerstone for the success of Indian space agency ISRO.
- India and Russian trade has been wide and multisectoral. Indian imports include petroleum, coal and other materials whereas Russia is one of the largest buyers of Indian agricultural produce.
- In recent times, Indian service industry has been trying to establish itself in Russian markets.
- Cultural ties
India’s greatest cultural contribution to Russia has been Bollywood. Actors like Raj Kapoor and Mithun Chakraborty have been successful in spreading Indian cultural hold over Russia. This has helped to strengthen existing friendship between the two countries.
- Russia has been steadily investing in Indian markets. Their contribution towards Make in India initiative has been noteworthy especially heavy industries and defence equipment.
- India has also invested in Russian market in field such as Petroleum exploration, IT etc.
- Russia has been adverse to India’s growing closeness with USA, which is one the adversaries of Russia. This has allowed Russia to drift towards India’s two largest adversaries viz China and Pakistan.
- Russia has also been hesitant to invest in Indian markets due to the sanctions imposed by the US and also due to India’s defence ties with US.Thus, India has tried to maintain its friendship with Russia at good levels in spite of its rejuvenated ties with USA. The steps taken in recent times have been based on the same idea of taking Indo-Russian ties to the next level.