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Modi and Putin Joint Statement on Ambitious Infrastructural, Industrial and Scientific Development

Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi held a series of informal and regular meetings, as well as cultural events, over July 8-9 in Moscow, covering economic development and trade, nuclear power, ending the war in Ukraine, and the education of their nations’ children. This was the 17th meeting between the two leaders. They reaffirmed “the special nature of this time-tested” Special and Privileged Special Relationship, as they made clear in their “Joint Statement Following the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit.”

Putin and Modi had an informal meeting on July 8. Today, the two held lengthy meetings, attended by Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, along with other ministers. They covered an intensive agenda that included a wealth of transportation, infrastructure, and energy projects, pharmaceutical investments, new financing arrangements, and what they called the development of the “Eurasian space.” After their talks, President Putin presented the Order of St. Andrew the Apostle to Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for fostering Indian-Russian ties. The Order of St. Andrew was established in 1698 by Peter the Great, and is the highest Russian civilian order. Modi said he was honored, and then he dedicated the award to the people of India.

As the Kremlin reported, “Following Narendra Modi’s official visit to Russia, a Joint Statement of the leaders of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India was issued on developing strategic areas of bilateral economic cooperation until 2030, as well as a Joint Statement following the 22nd Russia-India: Enduring and Expanding Partnership annual summit. A number of bilateral documents were also signed.”

Exemplary, the Joint Statement reports:

“The Sides share approaches on building a new architecture of stable and efficient transport corridors, and pay close attention to the development of promising production and marketing chains in Eurasia, including for the purpose of implementing the idea of a Greater Eurasian space. In this context, the Sides expressed readiness to actively work to expand logistics links with an emphasis on increasing the capacity of infrastructure, including for implementation of the Chennai-Vladivostok Eastern Maritime Corridor and the International North-South Transport Corridor, as well as using the potential of the Northern Sea Route.

“The Sides noted the importance of the cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy as a significant component of the strategic partnership. The Sides welcomed the progress achieved in the construction of the remaining nuclear power plant units at Kudankulam and agreed on adhering to the schedule, including to the timelines for delivery of supplies. Both Sides noted the importance of further discussion on the second site in India in accordance with earlier signed agreements. The Sides agreed to continue technical discussions on the VVER 1200 of the Russian design, localization of equipment and joint manufacturing of NPP components as well as on cooperation in third countries.”

The two parties, congratulated each other on their space programs, and said: “The Sides agreed to explore prospects of mutually beneficial cooperation in rocket engine development, production and use.” As for collaboration, as part of India’s Gaganyaan space program, Russia is training four Indian astronauts at the Yuri Gagarin Cosmonaut Training Center in Star City, Russia. India and Russia “noted the importance of bilateral cooperation in science, technology and innovation, confirmed mutual interest in developing partnerships between educational and scientific organizations, including the implementation of various academic mobility forms, educational programs and research projects.”

Russia and India stressed “Military and Technical Cooperation,” which is “steered by the Intergovernmental Commission on Military and Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC),” and will meet in the second half of 2024. According to the Statement, the two countries agree “to encourage joint manufacturing in India of spare parts, components, and aggregates and other products for maintenance of Russian origin arms and defense equipment under Make-in-India program through transfer of technology and setting up of joint ventures for meeting the needs of the Indian Armed Forces,” as well as “for sale to mutually friendly third countries.’”

“The Sides agreed to continue working together to promote a bilateral settlement system using national currencies. The Sides agreed to continue consultations for interoperability of their financial messaging systems. They noted the importance of finding mutually acceptable solutions for issues of insurance and reinsurance for facilitating further enhancement in bilateral trade.”

As well, there will be growing Indian participation in the development of Russia’s Far East.

In May of this year, Indian Foreign Minister Jaishankar reported that trade between India and Russia had spiked to $65.7 billion in the financial year ending March 2024, a 33% jump over the previous year and an eight-fold increase from the level of the comparable period of 2021, of $8.1 billion. Much of this trade represents India’s import of Russian oil and gas, and in the period ending March 2024, Russian exports to India exceeded $60 billion, while Indian exports to Russia were less than $5 billion.

This represents a tremendous imbalance which needs to be corrected. To redress this, on July 9, Reuters, quoting Russian agencies, reports that the Russian Direct Investment Fund (RDIF) and India’s Enso Group agreed on a partnership for joint investments worth up to 20 billion rubles ($227 million) in infrastructure development for shipbuilding. As well, the RDIF is planning investments in India’s pharmaceutical industry and in education. Cooperating teams of experts and businessmen from India and Russia will oversee the different facets of these projects.