MOSCOW, December 12 (Sputnik) — On Thursday Russian President Vladimir Putin visited New Delhi, India, where he discussed the bilateral cooperation in energy and military-technical spheres with India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Diplomatic relations between the USSR and India were established on 13 April 1947. The agreement base was upgraded after the breakdown of the Soviet Union in 1991, when over two hundred bilateral documents were signed.
The principal document which lays out the framework of Russian-Indian relations is the Treaty of Friendship and Cooperation between India and the Russian Federation of 28 January 1993.
During Russian President Vladimir Putin's official visit to India in October 2000, the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between the Russian Federation and India was signed.
A peculiar feature of Russian-Indian relations is intense political contacts. High-level talks and meetings are held annually to discuss key areas of the two countries' cooperation, as well as current international and regional issues. Apart from the October 2000 visit, President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin also visited India in December 2002. Dmitry Medvedev as President of the Russian Federation has also visited India.
Annual summits are held intermittently in India and Russia. The 14th annual summit was hosted by Moscow on 21 October 2013 when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh visited Moscow and met President Putin.
The leaders of the two countries have regular meetings on the sidelines of multilateral forums. Active contact is also maintained by the foreign ministries.
Priority is given to expanding bilateral trade and economic cooperation between Russia and India. The key mechanism of bilateral interaction is the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Co-operation (IRIGC).
According to data accumulated by the Federal Customs Service of the Russian Federation, the turnover of goods in 2013 amounted to $9.98 billion, including Russian exports valuing a total $6.9 billion and imports, $3.09 billion.
From January through October 2014 the turnover of the two countries reached $7.2 billion, including Russian exports of $4.6 billion and imports of $2.6 billion.
Russian exports are represented by the following commodity groups: precious stones and metals, iron and steel, nickel and nickel products, fertilizers, oil and petrochemicals, copper and copper goods, plastering materials, lime and cement. India positions itself as a strategic importer of a number of Russian commodities such as potassium, phosphorous and nitrogen fertilizers, rough diamonds, iron and steel, electrical equipment sets including those used in nuclear power stations and transport equipment. Russian engineering services are also in high demand.
The bulk of Russian imports are machinery and equipment, pharmaceuticals, agricultural and food products, textiles and garments.
In accordance with the 1998 inter-governmental agreement and an addendum to it, the Kudankulam nuclear power station is being built in India with technical assistance from the Russian Federation. The first unit of the station is currently the most powerful nuclear power unit in India. It was incorporated into the Indian national electricity grid in 2013.
The negotiating and legal base for Russian-Indian cooperation in science and technology is an inter-governmental agreement on scientific and technical cooperation of 30 June1994. In December 2002 the Joint Declaration on Enhancing and Increasing Economic and Scientific and Technological Cooperation and the Inter-Governmental Protocol on the Protection and Use of the Intellectual Property Rights were signed, the latter being the legal foundation for the expanding commercialization and transfer of high level technology.
During a Russian-Indian Summit in November 2003, the Russian Academy of Sciences (RAS) and the Indian National Academy of Sciences signed an Agreement on Scientific Cooperation and Scientist Exchange, the Protocol of Scientific Cooperation between the RAS and the Department of Science and Technologies of the Indian Government.
The First Comprehensive Long-Term Program of Science and Technology Cooperation with India was signed in 1987. In 2000 it was extended untill December 2010. During the December 2010 Summit in Delhi, a new Long-Term Program of Science and Technology Cooperation for the period of up to 2020 was signed.
In order to find new ways of commercializing the results of joint scientific and technological research, in June 2010 the Russian-Indian Science and Technology Centre (RI STC) was set up in Moscow. In April 2012, the Indian branch of the Russian–Indian Science & Technology Center was officially opened in the Delhi-National Capital Region.
Military and technical cooperation (MTC) between India and Russia has been ongoing since 1960 and is traditionally large-scale in character.
In order to coordinate the MTC process between the two countries, a Russian-Indian intergovernmental commission on military and technical cooperation was set up in 2000 headed by the Defense Ministers of both countries.
Bilateral relations in the MTC evolved on the basis of a long-term program of military and technical cooperation for the period up to 2020 which encompasses defense research and design, the manufacturing and after-sale services of weapons' systems and various kinds of military equipment.
At present, projects in this area pursued by Russian and India include: the licensed manufacture in India of T90 tanks and Sukhoi 30 aircraft, the delivery of MiG 29K jets, MI17 and Kamov 31 helicopters, the upgrade of MiG 29 aircraft, and the delivery of Smerch multiple launch rocket systems.
The Indian-Russian relations in the MTC has grown from being a simple buyer-seller relationship to the joint research, design and manufacture of advanced defense technology and systems. The production of the supersonic anti-ship missile Brahmos is an example of this kind of joint collaboration.
Both sides are also involved in designing a fifth-generation fighter-jet and a multi-purpose cargo plane.
On top of which there is the regular exchange of servicemen and joint military exercises. Both countries' defense ministers have annual meetings alternately held in Russia and India where they discuss and assess the implementation of projects, as well as any other issues.
A traditionally important area in Russian-Indian relations is their cultural cooperation.
The negotiating and legal base for cultural relations is the intergovernmental Agreement on Cultural and Scientific Cooperation, signed in 28 January 1993. There are also two and three-year exchange programs in culture, science and education, as well as a number of agreements, signed between various agencies and organizations. Exchanges involving musical ensembles, companies and artists, different exhibitions, science and literary seminars and conferences also take place regularly.
Museums and libraries also work together. Integrated events such as "Days of Russian Culture" in India, "Days of Indian Culture" in Russia, film festivals, art exhibitions and so on, invariably enjoy a great success. A significant area in which the two countries collaborate in the arts is the material and spiritual heritage of the Roerich family.
There is a Tourism and Culture Working Group within the framework of the Intergovernmental Russian-Indian Commission on Trade, Economic, Science and Technology, and Cultural Cooperation which manages most aspects of the cultural partnership and any initiatives.
Bilateral interaction is also developing in education. Over 5,000 Indian students study at Russian universities, about a thousand new students arrive each year.
The most popular majors are medical degrees (over 80 percent). The Association of Indian Students in Russia and the Association of Moscow Indian Students operate in Russia. In India there are associations of Russian and Soviet university graduates.
Direct cooperation between universities also exists which includes scholarly exchanges, as well as the exchange of lecturers and students.
The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.