Discuss the trends in Indo-Russia politico-strategic relationship since India's independence. To what extent, it is correct to say that India is moving away from Russia by getting close to U.S.A and China? Give Arguments to support your view.

Published: January 25, 2018

Key Trends in Indo-USSR-Russia relationship since India’s independence are as follows:

  • India established good diplomatic relations with the U.S.S.R. after Independence. In the early 1950s, when India suffered balance of payment crisis due to rapid economic development and huge imports, USSR helped India.
  • Later, with former Indian Prime Minister Nehru’s visit to the USSR and Soviet leader’s visit to India in 1955, the diplomatic relations between the two strengthened.
  • In 1955, India signed an agreement with USSR on the construction of the Bhilai Steel Plant. In fact, eight out of sixteen heavy Industry projects planned during the second five year plan were executed with help of Soviet Union.
  • The economic and technical aid from USSR favoured the quick development of state owned industry in India.
  • From 1962, the Soviet Union started selling munitions to India, which helped India to counter its new rivals Pakistan and China
  • In 1971, the two states signed the famous “Soviet-Indian Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation”.
  • In late 1980s, India received a wide range of sophisticated Soviet weapons including MIG-29 aircraft with the right to produce them in the country. In fact, during 1987-91, almost 79% of India’s 17.6 billion dollar worth of arms purchase was from the Soviet Union.
  • After the collapse of Soviet Union in 1991, both India and Russia launched the policies of liberalization and market reform. In 1994, India signed a new treaty with Russia “the 20 year Treaty of friendship and cooperation” and other treaty on bilateral Military Technology cooperation.
  • The Putin era from year 2000 till date has been termed as the transformational period for Russia as well as for the India-Russia strategic partnership. Recently, the two countries signed a military cooperation agreement and an agreement for setting two more units of a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.
  • Since the year 2010, Indo-Russian bilateral trade is based on payments in freely convertible currencies.

No, I don’t think that India is moving away from Russia by getting close to U.S.A and China. India believes in the philosophy of “Vasudhaiva kutumbakam’” for the 21st century. Raising economic growth and establishing prosperity in the country are our main objectives. No doubt, Russia has remained India’s best strategic partner since Independence but the country is not capable to fulfil all our needs. Also war like situations are less common nowadays in comparison to those during early 1970s. Almost all the countries are struggling with problems like unemployment and jobless growth. In such circumstances, it is imperative for India to establish its economic ties with other countries and gain their faith and investments. Besides, Russia still holds a major share in India’s defence market and the country has no problem with India establishing economic ties with other countries.

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