Brics Summit in Goa: From defence to food deals, India and Russia push ahead to reshape trade ties
Russia and India are set to sign about 18 documents and have lined a slew of of deals, especially in the defence sector
The meeting between Russian president Vladimir Putin and Indian prime minister Narendra Modi is significant as it comes at a time when the bilateral relations between the countries are at an interesting juncture because of Russia's perceived closeness to Pakistan.
Post the talks, to be held ahead of the Brics Summit in Goa, Putin and Modi are also expected to issue a joint statement to reflect their common approaches towards solving various global and regional issues.
Both sides will also approve a roadmap of measures timed to coincide with the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries.
Russia's delegation will also be represented by Vice- Premier Dmitry Rogozin, the heads of the Industry and Trade, Energy and Economics Ministries, state civil nuclear power corporation Rosatom and others.
The Russian and Indian leaders will take part in the ceremony of laying the foundation for the third and fourth power units of India's Kudankulam nuclear power plant via a video conference, make statements for the media and hold a tete-a-tete lunch.
According to media reports, Russia and India are set to sign about 18 documents and have lined a slew of of deals, especially in the defence sector.
Here's a low down on the business deals that are on the table and those signed:
Defence deals: Despite its move closer to Pakistan, Russia seems to be making attempt to clarify that its defence ties with India are not getting affected. Putin told IANS in an interview that Russia remains one of India's leading suppliers of advanced weapons and defence technology as "India is Russia's especially privileged strategic partner".
"Our countries actively collaborate in the military technical field. Russia remains in the lead in terms of both direct supplies of most advanced weapons and military equipment and conducting joint researches with India, as well as producing goods for military purposes," Putin told IANS/Sputnik in an exclusive interview ahead of his visit to India for the five-nations BRICS Summit in Goa this weekend.
"The construction of the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile and the development of a new, fifth generation fighter aircraft are mong the successful joint projects," Putin said.
He said many of the Russian projects in India not only have commercial importance but also play a significant social and economic role for the economies of the two countries.
"Russian companies see real prospects and high attractiveness of the Indian market," Putin said.
The two important deals likely to be signed at a time when India-Pakistan tensions are running high are Kamov and S400 Triumf.
Kamov 226T: India and Russia are expected to sign a "complex agreement" for production of 200 Kamov 226T helicopters domestically under a nearly $1 billion deal.
This agreement is seen as the next big step in cooperation between Russia and India in the area of helicopter production and service.
According to Russian Helicopters, Ka-226T is a powerful, light multirole helicopter with "high safety standards", "incredibly precise hovering ability" and "excellent manoeuvrability". It has "eco-friendly features, efficiency, modern avionics and additional flight safety solutions – making this one of the best models in its class".
These choppers will replace the country's the aging Cheetah and Chetak fleet.
Apart from boosting the trade relations between India and Russia, the agreement is also seen as a boost for Modi's Make in India programme.
S-400 'Triumf': Both the countries will sign a multi-billion dollar deal for S-400 'Triumf' long-range air defence missile systems on Saturday following talks between the nation heads.
"Following the results of the negotiations between our president and (Indian Prime Minister Narendra) Modi, an agreement will be signed on the delivery of S-400 Triumf anti aircraft missile systems to India, as well as some other documents," a PTI report cited Russian presidential aide Yuri Ushakov as saying in Russian media.
S-400 'Triumf' is the most modern air defence system, capable of firing three types of missiles, creating a layered defence, and simultaneously engaging 36 targets. It has the capability to destroy incoming hostile aircraft, missiles and even drones at ranges of up to 400 km.
The S-400, an upgraded version of the S-300, had previously only been available to the Russian defence forces. It is manufactured by Almaz-Antey and has been in service in Russia since 2007. India is interested in getting five systems these.
If India signs the deal, it would be the second customer of the prized missile system after China which had struck a $3 billion contract last year.
Project 11356: Russia also plans to sign an agreement to build Project 11356 frigates for the Indian Navy, says PTI. Project 11356 is a guided missile frigate and has Russian made sensors and weapon systems.
Earlier this month, Russian media had reported that India is set to acquire three Admiral Grigorovich-class frigates or Project 11356M from Russia, that were originally intended for the Russian Navy's Black Sea Fleeet. These frigates are being built at Yantar Shipyard in Kaliningrad. The reports also said India was considering getting the hulls of these warships to India and complete the construction in India itself.
These Admiral Grigorovich class frigates are based on Talwar Class frgiates, which were also made by Russia for the Indian Navy during 2003-2013.
Food irradiation centres: Indian agriculture association Hindustan Agro Co-op Ltd and United Innovation Corp of Russia signed an agreement to set up a network of integrated irradiation centres for food products in India. United Innovation Corp is a subsidiary of state-run nuclear corporation Rosatom.
For the uninitiated, irradiation is a technology that helps safely preserve food for longer period of time. India incurs a loss of Rs 2.5 lakh crore in food items like fruits, vegetables, meat, cereals, pulses and floriculture due to lack of cold storage facilities or storage constraints, according to a report in IANS. The agreement is an attempt to address this issue.
The centres will be managed by an India-Russia joint venture (JV) where Hindustan Agro will have the majority 51 percent stakeholding. The irradiation centre at Rahuri in Maharashtra, run by Hindustan Agro farmers cooperative with with the help of the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre, will be be upgraded under this agreement.
According to Denis Cherednichenko, CEO, United Innovation, it is a landmark agreement and signals a move beyond the existing Russo-Indian cooperation on building nuclear power plants like Rosatom's Kudankulam project in Tamil Nadu.
Under the around 25 such integrated infrastructure irradiation centres will be set up in India. Each plant will have grading, processing, packaging, cold storage and export facility. The plan is to set up these plants each with 35,000 tonne to 40,000 tonne capacity per annum in a period of around 5 years.
Railways boost: Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain has held discussions with the Russian Railways authorities for collaborating on a dedicated high-speed freight corridor, an IANS report said quoting railway officials.
A senior railway official told IANS that the minister held discussions with the Russian officials and also discussed issues like modernisation of existing rail corridors, train traffic and transportation, training and knowledge sharing and rolling stock modernisation.
The discussions come at a time when the railways minister is taking steps to introduce high-speed trains such Talgo. The government has also secured soft loans for setting up the first bullet train between Mumbai and Ahmedabad as part of Modi's Diamond Qaudrilateral project.
With inputs from PTI and IANS
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