Russia, India remain strategic partners: Russia

Moscow: In view of the growing strategic partnership between Washington and New Delhi, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Igor Morgulov said Monday that Russia and India remain strategic partners and no external influence can affect them.

“Our relations with India have an independent value. Indian Deputy Foreign Minister Sujata Singh said Moscow remained a strategic partner for New Delhi. Ambassador Raghavan confirmed the same. I’d add that we are not only strategic partners but also close friends,” Morgulov said.

US President Barack Obama is on a three-day state visit to India beginning Sunday and was the chief guest at India’s 66th Republic Day celebrations Monday.

India and the US Sunday announced the much-anticipated breakthrough in the agreement on commercial implementation of their landmark civil nuclear deal, six years after it was signed, and also entered a new strategic phase of co-production in some defence projects.

In the field of defence, the two sides renewed the 10-year Defence Framework Agreement and the Defence Trade and Technology Initiative (DTTI).

The new framework is to enhance the bilateral defence partnership with more intensive joint military exercises and maritime security efforts among others.

Both sides are also to form a working group to explore technology for aircraft carriers and share the design of jet engine technology.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi said that India and the US have decided to take “our growing defence cooperation to a new level”.

In the field of energy, Obama expressed interest in participating in India’s 100 gigawatt solar energy project.

Both sides resumed talks on the bilateral investment treaty and on a totalisation agreement.

The two sides also inked three MoUs between the US Trade and Development Agency and the governments of Andhra Pradesh, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh for the smart city projects involving Ajmer, Allahabad and Vishakhapatnam.

The US is cooperating with India on the Digital India programme.

The two-way trade between India and the US, which stands at $60 billion, is poised to reach the $100 billion mark by 2018. The US is keen that the trade figure should reach $500 billion by 2020.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during the 15th India-Russia annual summit in New Delhi in December last year inked 20 agreements with India, including in the sphere of defence cooperation, oil and gas, and trade, after the holding of the 15th India-Russia annual summit in New Delhi.

Russia has been a strategic partner for India and has numerous defence, space and nuclear cooperation deals.