- India has made significant investments in the energy sector and other natural resources, such as diamonds, in the Far East.
- Indian defense agreements with Russia have worried the United States, while Russia is concerned the percentage of defense trade is decreasing.
- Bilateral trade between Russia and India are weak, only $9-10 billion.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Thursday, during his two-day visit to Russia for the Eastern Economic Forum (EFF) in Vladivostok, that India will give a billion-dollar line of credit for the development of the Russian Far East.
Describing the relationship between India and the Far East as very old, he said, “India was the first country to open its council at Vladivostok.” India has made significant investments in the energy sector and other natural resources, such as diamonds, in the Far East. During this time, Modi also invited all 11 governors of Russia’s Far East to come to India. Modi returned to India late Thursday evening.
Russia has been India’s old friend, and on the global stage, Russia has supported India in many ways. Agreements between India and Russia have been in place since the beginning, especially in the fields of defense and nuclear energy. India and Russia now want to prepare their relationship according to the 21st century. This journey is important to both countries.
America and Russia are both big countries and they have their own interests. India needs to serve its interests from these two countries. Each country is establishing relations with other countries according to its needs.
However, Indian defense agreements with Russia have worried the United States, particularly a recent deal for the S-400 missile. With India buying arms from both Russia and the United States, there were talks in Washington about imposing restrictions on New Delhi. It is India’s point of view, however, that in the case of weapons, the kind of technology Russia provides India cannot get from the US.
The has also been a resentment within Russia for the last few years that the percentage of trade related to defense between India and Russia is decreasing. India has also made it clear that it wants to diversify its defense deals.
During the Cold War, Russia used to have a 90 percent share in India’s defense deals, but those days will not come back. India is also trying to diversify its defense technology. For this, it is going to cooperate with Israel, the United States, and Europe besides Russia.
The biggest challenge between India and Russia is that these two countries will have to build their relationship according to the new era. Even today it seems that India and Russia are following the pattern of relations during the Cold War, in which defense agreements are the largest part.
In today’s world, economic relations between two countries should be improved only after other relationships become stronger. In such a situation, Indo-Russian relations are very weak. Bilateral trade between India and Russia is only $9-10 billion.
Russian President Vladimir Putin wants other countries to come and invest in the Far East, which is why he has been running the EEF since 2015. Modi has the opportunity to encourage Indian companies to invest there.