India’s friend for ever

Fresh moves to tighten the India-Russia partnership indicate both nations’ resolve to work closely despite Moscow’s occasional overtures to Pakistan. Russia’s growing proximity to Beijing in recent years has created discomfort for Delhi.
But being a traditional friend for decades, Russia’s concern for India has always been strong.
Pakistan’s constant efforts to bring Russia and China together in its power corridor will not cause damage to India, as the latter figures prominently in the economic and strategic calculus of both these nations. On the sidelines of the ongoing Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa (Brics) summit in Goa, India and Russia signed a slew of defence, energy, power, ship-building and space deals towards strengthening the bilateral ties.
The defence pacts that both the countries signed speak volumes since they come when India is at a crucial juncture of its fight against terror emerging from Pakistani soil.
The four primary defence deals signed include: Developing a new version of the BrahMos missile, delivering Russia’s most anti-missile defence systems called S-400 Triumpf, work-share agreement to make fifth generation fighter planes (FGFP) or perspective multi-role aircraft and finally, the production of Ka226T helicopters in India.
The BrahMos deal will give India a miniature of the earlier ones already available in the country.
This version will help India to reach out to the terror camps within a range of 300 kilometres. More importantly, it will have access to land, air and water. This will probably give a new dimension to India’s counter-terror efforts. The S-400 Triumpf, which is Russia’s most advanced air defence system, will help India restrict our hostile neighbours to operate within their air spaces.
The agreement pertaining to the FGFP will enable India to get access to Russian technology for producing 100 such aircraft in India.
Russia-based Rostec State Corporation is expected to set up joint production facilities in India for the Ka226T helicopters.
Both the nations agreed to hold an annual military industrial conference which will allow stakeholders on both sides to institute and push for possible collaborations and will open up numerous fresh opportunities. The key defence deals signed between India and Russia once again buttress the enhanced bilateral cooperation.
They highlight the important
role Russia plays in India’s defence research, development and cooperation. Russian President Vladimir Putin called India a “privileged strategic partner”. This is indeed true, regardless of India’s growing proximity to America.
Simultaneously, the growing bilateral cooperation in the field of energy means a lot for Indian public sector companies such as the Oil and Natural Gas Commission and the Indian Oil Corporation, which are already operating on a large scale in Russia. Besides, energy cooperation is something India is looking to tap on a large scale. Recognising the continued importance of Russia in our economic and strategic future, Prime Minister Narendra Modi referred to that country as “an old friend”, being “better than two new friends”.
Both India and Russia, despite hiccups, are committed to sustaining the strong bonds they have shared over the decades – and this is
just as well.

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