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December 30, 2023 @ 7:00 am - 11:30 pm


The recent Moscow visit by India’s Foreign Minister holds profound significance in the context of the enduring India-Russia relations. Beyond the established special and privileged partnership, the evolving global geopolitical landscape demands a high level of political engagement between the two nations. This engagement extends to international issues and bilateral matters, making it imperative to understand the strategic importance of the relationship.

Why the Relationship Between India and Russia is Strategically Significant?

Time-Tested Partners:

  • Collaboration since Cold War: The partnership dates back to the Cold War, where the Soviet Union and India collaborated closely, given India’s leadership in the Non-Aligned Movement.
  • Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty (1971): During the Indo-Pak war of 1971, Russia’s support for India strengthened the relationship, marking a pivotal moment.

Energy Security:

  • Natural Gas Reserves: Russia, possessing vast natural gas reserves, aligns with India’s transition toward increased reliance on natural gas.
  • Nuclear Energy Collaboration: The Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant in Tamil Nadu exemplifies India-Russia collaboration in the peaceful use of nuclear energy.

Economic Convergence:

  • Bilateral Trade: With Russia being India’s seventh-biggest trading partner, bilateral trade has already surpassed the 2025 target of USD 30 billion, reaching USD 45 billion.
  • Bilateral Investment: Both nations aim to increase bilateral investment to USD 50 billion by 2025.

Balancing Geopolitics:

  • Counterbalancing Chinese Aggression: In the face of tensions with China, Russia’s role in defusing India-China tensions becomes crucial.
  • Champions of Multipolarism: Both nations advocate for a multi-polar world, supporting each other’s aspirations in the global arena.

Enduring Defence Ties:

  • Military Technical Cooperation: Guided by the Agreement on the Programme for Military Technical Cooperation, Russia remains a significant contributor to India’s defense capabilities.
  • Arms Imports: Historically, Russia has accounted for a substantial percentage of India’s arms imports, including tanks, aircraft, and missiles.


What are the Key Issues in India-Russia Relationship?

Strategic Crossroads for Russia:

  • Closer Ties with China: Russia’s deepening ties with China introduce a geopolitical dynamic impacting India’s traditional strategic consideration.
  • Proximity with Pakistan: Russia’s attempts to improve relations with Pakistan may be seen as a response to the growing US-India relationship.

Diplomatic Dilemma for India:

  • Security Engagement with the United States: India’s dilemma lies in choosing between a comprehensive global strategic partnership with the US and its special partnership with Russia.
  • Ukraine Crisis: India’s reluctance to condemn Russia’s actions in Ukraine drew criticism from the West.

Declining Economic Engagement:

  • Declining Defense Imports: India’s desire to diversify defense imports led to a decline in orders from Russia.
  • Poor Post-Sale Services: Dissatisfaction with post-sales services from Russia contributed to a shift in defense procurement.

What Should the Way Forward?

Balancing the Defense Dynamics:

  • Enhance Defense Collaboration: Continue the strategic defense partnership, emphasizing modernization and diversification of defense collaboration.
  • Joint Military Production: Explore collaboration in joint military production, using India as a base for exporting Russian-origin equipment.

Facilitating Economic Engagement:

  • Diversification of Economic Ties: Focus on diversifying economic relations, exploring new sectors, increasing trade volumes, and encouraging investments.
  • Trade Facilitation: Work towards reducing trade barriers, simplifying trade processes, and creating a conducive environment for businesses.

Balancing the Global Dynamics:

  • Multilateral Engagement: Coordinate closely in multilateral forums like BRICS and SCO, collaborating on global issues, and advocating for shared values.
  • Institutional Mechanisms: Strengthen institutional mechanisms for regular dialogue, enhancing the effectiveness of existing agreements.

Forging Technological Cooperation:

  • Innovation and Technology Cooperation: Foster collaboration in emerging technologies, including artificial intelligence, space exploration, cybersecurity, and renewable energy.
  • Energy Security: Explore opportunities for cooperation in the energy sector, addressing mutual concerns for energy security.

Promoting Cultural Connectivity:

  • Yoga and Cultural Diplomacy: Leverage the popularity of Yoga in Russia for cultural diplomacy, promoting cultural events, language education, and exchanges.
  • Public Diplomacy: Engage in public diplomacy efforts to create awareness and understanding of the bilateral relationship.


The India-Russia relationship, rooted in trust and common interests, remains resilient amid global shifts. Fostering resilience, open communication, and a shared commitment to global peace will be pivotal in determining the success of India-Russia relations. As the Indian Foreign Minister rightly asserted, “Geopolitics and strategic convergence will always keep India-Russia ties on a positive trajectory.”

Mains Question:

  1. How is the changing global geopolitical scenario influencing the dynamics of the relationship between India and Russia? Propose strategies to sustain the ongoing positive direction of these bilateral relations. (150 WORDS).


December 30, 2023
7:00 am - 11:30 pm
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