The Results of Narendra Modi’s Trip To Russia

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was visiting Moscow on July 8-9 to co-chair the 22nd Russia-India Annual Summit with President Vladimir Putin.

The 22nd annual RussiaIndia Summit took place in Moscow.

Arriving in Moscow on July 8, Prime Minister Narendra Modi called Russia India‘s all-weather friend and praised President Vladimir Putin‘s leading role in strengthening bilateral relations over the past two decades. The Prime minister also said that for a long time the world had witnessed “influence-oriented global order “But, what the world needs right now is confluence not influence and no one can deliver this message better than India which has a strong tradition of worshipping confluences, Modi said.

How can these words be interpreted? At first glance, the Indian Prime Minister is calling for a kind of convergence. However, the East is a delicate matter, and this phrase can be interpreted both as a fusion of several streams and as a mutual influence. At a meeting with the Indian diaspora in Moscow on July 9, Modi stressed that Indians in Russia are strengthening bilateral ties by contributing to the development of Russian society... As soon as they hear the word ‘Russia’, every Indian thinks that it is a trustable friend; a friend in joy and sorrow

Ultimately, such a confluence ” is quite commendable, although certain mental and spiritual subtleties must be taken into account, because anyone can become a Russian (an Orthodox, or Muslim), but in order to profess Hinduism, you need to be born a Hindu. And if we take into account the nationalist ideology of Hinduism, which Modi himself and his supporters follow, then we should probably look at how such confluences  took place inside India. It is probably worth paying attention to the amendment of the constitution regarding the state of Jammu and Kashmir, which lost its special status and autonomy in August 2019. In other words, New Delhi has launched a mechanism for tougher integration.

However, Russia‘s position on the Ukrainian crisis and the new territories of Russia was announced to Modi in quite detail, therefore, although he touched on the issues of peace negotiations, he did it quite delicately, simply offering India‘s help if it was needed for this.

In the Ukrainian conflict, Modi was more interested in the issue of Indian citizens recruited into the Russian armed forces. According to Indian media, Russian President Vladimir Putin has accepted the request of the Indian Prime Minister to discharge all those wishing to return to India. According to sources privy to the decision, President Putin has given instructions to this effect upon Mr. Modi’s “direct intervention”. “We expect the release to take place within a few weeks from the various places where they serve or are stationed,” sources told The Hindu on condition of anonymity.

Indian media also report that this issue has already been discussed with Sergey Lavrov at the SCO summit in Astana.

It should be noted that the United States has expressed concern to India about its relations with Russia, as a representative of the US State Department told reporters on Monday. India rejected this concern of the State Department, stressing that India has always called for respect for the UN Charter, including territorial integrity and sovereignty. There is no solution on the battlefield. Dialogue and diplomacy are the way forward.

China’s Global Times notes that ” China does not view closer Russian-Indian relations as a threat, whereas Western countries are increasingly dissatisfied with India’s relations with Russia… Despite Western pressure, Modi opted for Russia as his first destination for a foreign visit after beginning his third term last month. This move not only aims to strengthen India’s ties with Russia but also enhances its leverage in dealing with the US and other Western nations… The longstanding defense cooperation makes it difficult to replace Russia’s position in India’s defense sector in the short term. Although there is a push for the US to gradually replace Russia as India’s main weapons supplier, this transition undoubtedly requires time. For a large country like India, maintaining stable relations with Russia and continuing the defense industry cooperation are crucial.”

The publication also quotes Long Xingchun, a professor from the School of International Relations at Sichuan International Studies University, who noted that “currently, the West may be more inclined to hype relations between China, Russia and India, attempting to sow discord among the three. However, in reality, the West itself may have more reason for concern as it is hoping that India stands against Russia, aligning with them, said Long, noting that India’s foreign policy tends to maintain balance without leaning fully towards any side to amplify its own interests.”

India‘s own interests are perhaps the most accurate description of New Delhi‘s smart strategy. However, there is no escape from Russian interests either, if we are talking about cooperation between two Eurasian giants. And in the context of global transformation, of course, the question is about turning India into a more independent pole, which fits perfectly into the aspirations of both China and Russia to build a multipolar world order.

Meanwhile,  the Western media emphasized that India bought $46.5 billion worth of Russian oil in 2023, although it was $2.5 billion in 2021, and that for both Russia and India, the development of their bilateral relations is important in order to balance China‘s influence. And that Modi‘s visit showcased to the whole world that Russia is not as isolated as the West wants, and Zelensky is quoted as writing in X (former Twitter) that this is a huge disappointment and a crushing blow to peace efforts Bloomberg did not forget to mention that Putin is hosting Modi, after he himself stated that Russia and China are in the prime of their bilateral relations. And Modi himself went to Moscow after the recent visit of a delegation of high-ranking US officials to India, who are interested in cooperation in the field of technology, security and investment.

But while the Western media lamented that New Delhi was not following Washington‘s lead, the constructive agenda of Narendra Modi‘s visit continued.

On July 9, Narendra Modi visited the grave of the Unknown Soldier and the Rosatom’s “Atom” exposition together with President Vladimir Putin, after which official talks began in the Kremlin.

Along with the Prime Minister of India, the delegation included Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar, several other senior officials of the Indian Foreign Ministry and the Prime Minister’s National Security Adviser Ajit Doval.

On the Russian side, the talks were attended by Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, First Deputy Prime Minister Denis Manturov, Finance Minister Anton Siluanov, Director of the Federal Service for MilitaryTechnical Cooperation Dmitry Shugaev, head of Rosneft Igor Sechin, representatives of Russia’s presidential administration.

Following the talks, a joint statement was announced in which Russia and India plan to develop further cooperation in nine areas:

1. Striving to eliminate non-tariff trade barriers related to bilateral trade. Continuation of the dialogue in the field of liberalization of bilateral trade, including the possibility of forming a free trade zone of the EAEU India. By 2030, the volume of mutual trade is set to exceed $100 billion (by mutual agreement), including an increase in the supply of goods from India to achieve a balanced bilateral trade turnover. Intensification of investment activities of the two countries, including within the framework of special investment regimes.

2. Development of a system of bilateral settlements through the use of national currencies. The consistent introduction of digital financial instruments into this system.

3. Increasing cargo turnover with India through the launch of new routes of the international transport corridor “North – South”, the Northern Sea Route, the Vladivostok– Chennai Maritime Corridor. Optimization of customs procedures using intelligent digital systems for barrier-free movement of goods.

4. Increasing the volume of bilateral trade in agricultural products, food and fertilizers. Maintaining an intensive dialogue in order to remove veterinary, sanitary and phytosanitary restrictions and prohibitions.

5. Development of cooperation in key energy sectors, including nuclear, oil refining and petrochemistry, expansion of cooperation and partnership in the field of energy infrastructure, technologies and equipment. Ensuring bilateral and international energy security, including taking into account the prospects for global energy transition.

6. Strengthening cooperation in the field of infrastructure development, transport engineering, automotive and shipbuilding, space and other industrial sectors. Ensuring the entry of Russian and Indian companies into the markets of the two countries, including through the creation of subsidiaries and industrial clusters. Convergence of approaches in the field of standardization, metrology and conformity assessment.

7. Stimulating the attraction of investments and the implementation of joint projects in various areas of economic cooperation, including the digital economy, science and research, educational exchanges and internships for employees of high-tech companies. Assistance in the creation of new joint ventures (subsidiaries), ensuring a favorable tax regime for them.

8. Establishment of systematic cooperation in the field of development and supply of medicines and advanced medical equipment. To study the possibility of opening branches of Indian medical organizations in Russia and attracting qualified medical personnel, as well as strengthening coordination in the field of biomedical safety.

9. Development of cooperation in the humanitarian sphere, consistent expansion of cooperation in the fields of education, science and technology, culture, tourism, sports, healthcare and other fields.

With regard to international issues, Russia and India agreed to develop indivisible security in Eurasia and intensify integration processes; stressed the need for a peaceful resolution around Ukraine through diplomacy and the involvement of both sides of the conflict; noted that they are committed to efforts to non-proliferation of nuclear weapons; and called for reform of the UN Security Council and the accession of New Delhi to the permanent membership.

In addition, the following documents have been adopted:

Joint statement by the leaders of the Russian Federation and the Republic of India on the development of strategic directions of RussianIndian economic cooperation for the future until 2030;

The program of RussianIndian cooperation in trade, economic and investment spheres in the Far East of the Russian Federation for 2024-2029, as well as on the principles of cooperation in the Arctic zone of the Russian Federation;

Memoranda of understanding between the departments of the two countries on the environment; cartography and geodesy; pharmaceutical and medical products; institutes in the field of polar and oceanic research; between ANO TVNovosti (Russia Today TV Broadcaster) and the Indian public broadcasting company Prasar Bharati;

– a cooperation agreement has been signed between the Russian Direct Investment Fund and the Indian company Enso Group (it should be noted that cooperation has already been conducted on the production of Russian covid vaccines in India, in addition, Enso Group has been working with GazpromNeft for a long time);

the Russian Direct Investment Fund has also concluded an agreement with the Indian companies Poly Medicine Limited, Hoonar Tekwurks Private Limited and the National Agency of the Republic of India for Attracting Investments (Invest India);

Cooperation Agreement between the International Commercial Arbitration Court at the Chamber of Commerce and Industry of the Russian Federation and the International Arbitration Center of India;

Memorandum of Understanding between the All-Russian Public Organization Delovaya Rossiya and the Trade Promotion Council of India;

Memorandum of Understanding between the National Research University Higher School of Economics and Jawaharlal Nehru University.

Earlier it was reported that India expressed interest in the nuclear industry in order to attract Russia to build new nuclear reactors in India and supply nuclear fuel to meet growing energy needs. In the early 2000s, the United States actively prevented nuclear technology from entering India, but then made concessions, however, taking into account the fact that the United States itself would be suppliers (agreement 123). Apparently, New Delhi decided to finally get rid of this dependence and enlist the support of Russia.

A similar agreement has been reached regarding uninterrupted and guaranteed oil supplies in the coming years.

The sides also discussed increasing militarytechnical cooperation and the production of spare parts and assemblies in India. It is worth noting that according to SIPRI, Israel accounts for the largest share of Indian arms imports (48%), while Russia ranks second (28%), although ten years ago its share was about 70%. Therefore, it is more correct to talk about the restoration of this kind of cooperation.

The results of the visit of the Indian head of state can be called very fruitful for both sides. Russia‘s shift towards the Global East and Global South continues. And given that India is already the third largest economy in the world, these joint projects indicate that, at least in the next five years, bilateral cooperation will reach new heights and bring significant benefits to the two countries. And this will be once again consolidated at the BRICS+ summit in October in Kazan, where Modi was invited, as well as at the 23rd summit of the two countries in India in 2025, where Vladimir Putin was invited.

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