December 9, 2021 - 11:46 am

 A friend In Need Is A Friend Indeed 

Prime minister Modi and President Vladimir Putin on Monday held the 21st India-Russia Summit, covering an array of areas with an aim to further enhance the special and privileged strategic partnership between the two countries. The summit saw the two countries, while reaffirming commitment to the S-400 deal despite the threat of US sanctions, strongly take up the issue of cross-border terrorism with focus on ensuring Afghanistan wasn't used for terrorist activities by UNSC proscribed groups, including Pakistan-based Let.

                   The substance visit has been crucial for both the nations as 28 agreements were concluded between India and Russia and the leaders discussed a range of issues such as defence, military cooperation, trade, investment, environment, cross-border terrorism, etc. Two new layers of dialogue between the foreign ministers and the defence ministers now bolster the strategic partnership. The two countries have signed a contract for the manufacture of about six lakh AK-203 rifles, and a 10-year pact for military technology co-operation.

                   Moscow has felt the need to recalibrate its relationship with Delhi and despite the previous divergence over the Taliban, is now on the same page with India over security concerns emanating from Afghanistan while there had been many fundamental changes at the global level in the last several decades, and a number of geo-political equations had emerged, India-Russia friendship had been a constant among all these variables. The two sides want to see bilateral trade, stagnating at under $10 billion, hit a target of $30 billion by 2025 and investment to reach $50 billion.

                   Both the countries have not cooperated with each other without any hesitation but have also taken special care of each other's sensitivities. It is truly a unique and reliable model of inter-state friendship. For Delhi, injecting life into an open relationship sends out an important message to both China and Pakistan that it is not as isolated as it has recently seemed amid talk of a Russia-China-Pakistan axis in Eurasia. While Russia again expressed serious concerns over the Indo-Pacific and Quad initiatives, there was a realisation that both sides were already working together in the region, including in the form of Chennai-Vladivostok corridor.