India, Russia sign 16 pacts; Major push in defence sector

RSTV Bureau
Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Foreign Secy S Jaishankar shares the signing of MOU with his Russian counterpart at Kremlin Moscow on Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo - PTI

Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin looks on as Foreign Secy S Jaishankar shares the signing of MOU with his Russian counterpart at Kremlin Moscow on Thursday, December 24, 2015.
Photo – PTI

India and Russia negotiated and inked 16 major deals in the key areas of defence, security and energy spheres after the bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Moscow. The two leaders had met over the 16th Annual India-Russia summit in Kremlin on Thursday. The pacts included joint manufacture of 226 military helicopters and construction of 12 atomic plants with involvement of local companies in India.

PM Modi, who was on a two-day Russia visit, said Russia can take advantage of ‘Make in India’ initiative which would help the economies of both the countries.

“India and Russia have a long history of cultural relations. And now we have a strong and reliable friend on the political and international arena – Russia. Russia has always been with us in hard times. We have a strategic partnership, a true strategic partnership,” Prime Minister Modi said.

Vladimir Putin, in his opening remarks during the meet, seconded PM Modi saying, “I am pleased to note, and I am happy to do that, that we are consistently and confidently developing the privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia.”

The two leaders in their bilateral meeting took up the ways to expand the Indo-Russian economic cooperation aiming to take the current bilateral annual trade of USD 10 billion to USD 30 billion in the next 10 years.

Meanwhile, state-owned Indian Oil Corp and Oil India Ltd signed an agreement with Russian oil firm Rosneft to explore possibility of picking up a stake in the Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha oilfield in East Siberia. The two Indian firms signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Rosneft in the presence of the Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and Russian President Vladimir Putin.

“The MoU document lays the foundation for a long-term partnership between IOC, OIL and Rosneft. As a first step, the parties have agreed to examine the possibility of cooperation in respect of the Taas-Yuryakh Neftegazodobycha LLC asset,” it read.

Besides, PM Modi invited Russian CEOs to invest in sectors like aerospace, infrastructure and diamond, addressing the CEOs forum in Moscow in the presence of Russian President Putin.

Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Russian and Indian CEOs in Kremlin Moscow on Thursday, December 24, 2015. Photo - PTI

Moscow: Prime Minister Narendra Modi with President of the Russian Federation Vladimir Putin at a meeting with Russian and Indian CEOs in Kremlin Moscow on Thursday, December 24, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Hardselling India as the new emerging global investment destination, he said India’s GDP has clocked an impressive 7.4 per cent growth and the World Bank and International Monetary Fund (IMF) and other international agencies have projected this growth momentum to continue.

“We are working towards ensuring best possible infrastructure in India… because of the efforts of our government the economy has witnessed sustained growth,” the Prime Minister said, adding “we are committed to ensure a stable and transparent taxation regime”.

Backing PM Modi, Putin said that Indian companies could have better involvement in Russia’s oil and gas sector. The efforts, he added, should be to remove hurdles to ensure better flow of investments from Indian companies in Russia.

Invoking former Prime Minster Atal Bihari Vajpayee on the eve of his 91st birthday, PM Modi said that it was under Atal Bihari Vajpayee that the the tradition of annual summits between the two countries was “born”. “These annual summits have raised Indian-Russian relations to a new level”.

President Vladimir Putin, on his part, expressed happiness over two countries going ahead “consistently and confidently” in developing the privileged strategic partnership.

On the defence and strategic front, there were indications that Russia was ready to ensure transfer of technology for some of the joint ventures in the defence sphere. The deals being talked about include joint manufacture of Kamov-226T helicopters.

Last week, the Union Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore.

(With inputs from the PTI)