NEW DELHI: The bilateral relationship between India and Russia—be it military, trade or international cooperation—has been quite old and the two countries are willing to take it to new heights.

Speaking at the “Indian Defence & Airspace Summit”, Deputy Chief Mission of Russian Embassy Roman Babushkin said advanced level of Russian-Indian military and technical cooperation historically constitute one of the pillars of the strategic partnership between the two countries. This, according to him, is a two ways movement based on extraordinary mutual interest proceeding from the fact that the Indian Army is equipped with about 70% of the hardware provided by the Soviet Union and Russia.

Talking about the international cooperation, he said the two countries are actively promoting a truly multi-polar world with greater role of major developing countering and emerging economies in the global governance. At the same time, we are absolutely like-minded in terms of vital importance of strengthening the United Nations and resolving global and regional challenges and conflicts collectively by political means according to the international law and the UN charter, he added.

“Dialogue in the Russia-India-China format, which we regard as a mechanism of strengthening confidence, mutual understanding and friendship between major Eurasian states has good potential. The format received a new impetus at the meetings of the troika leaders on the sidelines of the two G20 summits and confirmed the identity of similarity of the three country positions on tipical issues on the global agenda,” Babushkin said.

India and Russia have cooperation in many areas. One of them is the nuclear power cooperation. Russia, as of now, is the only foreign country in India being in practical terms, involved in the construction of nuclear reactors. The flagship project–the Russian designed Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant based in Tamil Nadu–comprises of six blocks. The first two units are already operational, generating low cost power for local customers. The third and fourth ones are under construction, with supply of their critical equipment being underway. Necessary preparations to start works related to units 5 and 6 are already going on.

The Russian envoy said the two countries are committed to ensure trade facilitation through the extended use of national currencies. “In mutual payments, national currencies volumes have increased five-fold in the recent years – up to 32% in 2018. Both our countries are deeply engaged in the dedicated financial dialogue in the framework of the bilateral Working Group on Banking and Financial Matters as well as in BRICS,” he said.

The measures, according to him, being undertaken in this regard would definitely make our goal to achieve the turnover up to $30 billion by 2025. “Importantly, we have signed the Action Strategy for advancing bilateral Trade-Economic and Investment Cooperation at the Vladivostok Summit, which would further streamline our dedicated efforts,” he pointed out.

Ashish Singh, Strategic Affairs Editor, NewsX (centre) is seen moderating a session on Indo-UK military ties with General Bipin Rawat, Chairman COSC (left) and Admiral Tim Fraser CB, Vice Chief of the Defence Staff, UK (right).
(From left) Vice Admiral G. Ashok Kumar-Vice Chief, Indian Navy, Moderator Lt. Gen. Subrata Saha, Member-Nation Security Advisory Board, Lt. Gen. S.S. Hasabnis-Deputy Chief, Indian Army, Air Marshal Sandeep Singh, Deputy Chief, Indian Air Force at the summit.
A view of the VVIPs at the summit.