In what could help ease the heartburn caused by the Russia-Pakistan military exercise, India is making a major Russia push by lining up as many as 30 collaboration proposals to be taken up at the Indo-Russian annual summit in Goa on Saturday. These projects will cover areas ranging from additional nuclear reactors and fifth generation fighter aircraft to satellite navigation and investment in the hydrocarbon sector.
Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in India from October 14 to 17, his longest stay here in recent times, to attend the 17th edition of the Indo-Russian summit and the 8th BRICS summit with a team that includes eight ministers.
Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will release a joint document on global peace and stability besides a separate paper listing three dozen activities planned in 2017 to mark the 70th year of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the between the two countries.
The Goa meeting, said people familiar with Indo-Russian partnership, could lead to significant outcomes and big headlines.
Notwithstanding Russian argument of having minimum engagement with Pakistan to fight terror in the Eurasian region, Modi will express concern when he meets Putin over the military exercise in Cherat as India seeks to build a narrative against Pak-sponsored terror.
Delhi and Moscow will seek to expand their counter-terror partnership and sign cyber security pact in Goa, officials said. Both sides are also hoping to extend their collaboration in Afghanistan with Delhi seeking Moscow’s assistance to supply military equipment.
Despite going ahead with the war games with Pakistan, Moscow has taken steps to back India’s position — it supported the surgical strikes on terrorists in Pakistan Occupied Kashmir, cancelled joint exercises in PoK and earlier virtually blamed Pakistan for the Uri terror attack.
Even as negotiations are still going on, the highlight of this edition of the Indo-Russian summit could be an agreement on the fifth and sixth reactors (1,000 MW each) for the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Project in Tamil Nadu. India is expected to announce a second site for Russian-built nuclear power plants comprising six reactors, likely in Andhra Pradesh, even as Russia plans to sell as many as 25 reactors to India. Some reports suggest that Modi and Putin could jointly dedicate the second unit at Kudankulam through videoconferencing from Goa.
India views Russia as a hard power which could assist it in key strategic sectors. Besides nuclear energy, a number of defence related pacts are in the pipeline as Moscow hopes to continue as India’s preeminent defence supplier.
Besides agreements for fifth-generation fighter jets and Kamov helicopters (to be produced in India), the two sides could agree to modify the jointly developed Brahmos supersonic missiles, besides building frigates for the Indian Navy and supply an air defence system. Russia will also be urged to continue supply of ammunition for the Indian Army.