India and Russia reaffirmed their “special and privileged strategic partnership” on June 1, signing five agreements during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia. The pacts, including a crucial one for two additional atomic power plants at Kudankulam in Tamil Nadu, were signed in St Petersburg during the 18th India-Russia Annual Summit and the St Petersburg International Economic Forum. The visit marked the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin covered various issues, including terrorism, increased trade, and investment. In a joint media address, Modi emphasized the unwavering relationship between India and Russia, based on “mutual love, respect, and strong trust.”
A key highlight was the agreement to set up the last two units of the Kudankulam nuclear power plant with Moscow’s assistance. The General Framework Agreement and credit protocol for units five and six of the Kudankulam plant were among the signed pacts. The Nuclear Power Corporation of India Limited and Russia’s JSC Atomstroyexport will collaborate on building the reactors, each with a capacity of 1,000 megawatts. India’s current nuclear power generation capacity is around 6,780 MW.
A joint statement highlighted the complementary nature of the Indian and Russian economies in the energy sector, expressing the intention to build an ‘energy bridge.’ The statement outlined promising cooperation in nuclear power, the nuclear fuel cycle, and nuclear science and technology.
While India and Russia have historically shared a close relationship, concerns have arisen due to India’s warming ties with the United States and Russia’s engagements with Pakistan. Divergences on issues such as terrorism and Afghanistan also exist. Despite these challenges, both countries aim to expand trade from $7.7 billion to $30 billion by 2025.
Joint ventures for aircraft and automobile manufacturing were agreed upon, indicating a desire to enhance economic ties. Putin assured that Russia’s growing ties with other countries would not dilute its “trust-based” relationship with India. The summit resulted in agreements on intellectual property, nuclear power, cultural exchanges, a high-speed link feasibility study, and cooperation in the diamond industry and agriculture. Russian investment in the Indian economy exceeds $4 billion, while Indian investment in Russia is $8 billion. Putin emphasized the positive trajectory of Russian-Indian economic cooperation and the shared commitment to its consolidation.