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8 crucial takeaways from Singh-Putin summit

October 22, 2013 02:49 IST

The 13-page joint statement issued after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s annual summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin shows the breadth and depth of relations between the two countries and the trust factor that has been constant element behind it.

From promoting trade to combating terrorism to common views on the Syria crisis to enhancing security co-operation in Asia and Asia Pacific -- there were no global issues left untouched between two countries.

Rediff.com's Sheela Bhatt, who is travelling with the Prime Minister to Russia and China, picks out few notable takeaways from Moscow. 

1) One of the interesting decisions taken this time by both leaders is about exploring if there is a possibility to lay a pipeline from Russia to India. The possibility behind the project is absolutely exciting. The joint statement says, “Both sides agreed to explore the possibilities of direct transportation of hydrocarbons from Russia to India through the land route. The sides agreed to set up a Joint Study Group in this regard.”

2) Foreign Secretary Sujata Singh and Indian Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra told media that India and Russia are not just talking about two more power plants at Kudankulam, but looking to invest in nuclear power plants out side Tamil Nadu as well.” In fact, Russia has said that it can live with the "liability clause", but then the price of nuclear power plant will increase manifold. The cost factor is the issue if the suppliers’ liability is increased. 

3) Those privy to the Singh-Putin talks said that both leaders have become friends over the period of time. The joint statement said, ‘The traditionally close military and technical cooperation between the two countries was a crucial element of the strategic partnership and reflected the high level of trust between the two states.’ Both countries continue to value trust factor, which has been built over many decades. In a changed global scenario with a multi-polar world, this is a win-win situation for both.

4) India and Russia’s military ties are still in sharp focus and set to grow. The joint statement says, ‘Russia and India both have put emphasis on the scope for enhancing service-to-service exchanges, training cooperation and regular exercises between their armed forces’.

‘Both countries have welcomed the delivery of the Russian-built frigate Trikand to India in 2013, licensed production of Su-30MKI aircraft and T-90S tanks in India as well as successful completion of the trials of the aircraft carrier Vikramaditya. The sides took note of the progress made in the field of joint design, development and production of high-technology military equipment and implementation of projects such as the construction of the fifth-generation fighter aircraft, multi-role transport aircraft and BrahMos supersonic missile. Both sides agreed to enhance cooperation in the fields of rocket, missile and naval technologies and weapon systems. 

5) While supporting United Nations reforms once again, Russia has reiterated its strong support to India for a permanent seat in a reformed UN Security Council. 

6) Importantly, Russia has supported India’s stance on terrorism. The special mention has been made about the events of terrorist attack in Mumbai.  Both sides affirmed the need to join efforts of all states to defeat terrorism.

Without naming Pakistan, the joint statement said, ‘Both sides reaffirmed the obligation of all states to vanquish terrorism from their territories and areas under their control. They need to irreversibly shut down terrorist networks, organizations and infrastructure, and show tangible movement in investigating and bringing quickly to justice all those responsible for acts of terrorism. Both countries further agreed that there cannot be ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic, or any other justification to acts of terrorism. Incidents such as the Mumbai Terror Attacks or Beslan terrorist attack, which resulted in the death of numerous innocent civilians cannot be justified on any grounds.’

7) It is clear that Singh-Putin talks were largely political. It reflected in the joint statement as well. It said, ‘The sides are committed to further intensifying political interactions between China, India, and Russia. In this context, they attach great significance to the next meeting of the foreign ministers of the three states, which is to take place this November in New Delhi. The sides also see it as essential to continue consultations concerning regional security at the level of high representatives of China, India, and Russia.”  

8) Russia and India also spelled out their views on situation in Syria and Afghanistan.  

On Syria, the joint statement said, ‘Both sides expressed the strong belief that the crisis in Syria should not be resolved by force, and could be settled only through political means.’ India praised Russia’s recent diplomatic role in helping find solution of Syria conflict. Russia said it would welcome India’s participation in Geneva-II (international conference on Syria) meet. 

On Afghanistan, both sides have similar views and expressed the need to tame the Taliban. The statement said, ‘The sides considered it necessary to extend the sanctions regime introduced by the UN Security Council against the Taliban as one of the most important tools for fighting terrorism.’

Dr Singh’s (probably) last official visit to Russia has ended with a comprehensive dialogue on an entire range of global issues.  He is leaving behind an institutionalized system of high-level summits that will ensure a slow, stable and steady way in which both New Delhi and Moscow will resolve their issues and keep the highest level of communication open, as always. 

Sheela Bhatt in Moscow