Pakistan-Russia Bhai-Bhai

News » International

Updated: November 20, 2014 23:57 IST

Pakistan, Russia sign defence pact

PTI

Pakistan and Russia on Thursday signed a military cooperation agreement to deepen their defence ties and vowed to translate their relationship in “tangible” terms during the first visit of a Russian Defence Minister in 45 years.

Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu’s visit to Pakistan comes at a very critical juncture as U.S.-led NATO forces are drawing down from Afghanistan by the end of this year. “The signing of the Military Cooperation agreement between the two significant countries of the region is a milestone.

“Both sides will translate this relationship in tangible terms and further strengthen military-to-military relations,” said Pakistan’s Defence Minister Khawaja Asif without elaborating on the agreement.

The visit by the Russian Defence Minister comes against the backdrop of reports that Moscow had given go-ahead for the sale of MI-35 helicopters to Pakistan, which is interested in purchasing up to 20 helicopters.

The last visit took place as far back as 1969, when USSR Defence Minister Andrey Grechko made a trip to the country.

News » National

Updated: October 8, 2012 03:30 IST

Growing Russia-Pakistan ties a reality that India will have to live with

Sandeep Dikshit

Russia is clearly interested in resetting ties with Pakistan

When Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin came here in July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had a request to make: Could Russian President Vladimir Putin put off his visit to Pakistan in October so that the optics of the India-Russia summit meeting scheduled in November could remain unimpaired?

Mr. Rogozin demurred. Privately his diplomats explained how that would be difficult. Russia was as concerned as India about terrorist activity with bases in Pakistan but Moscow could not be more antagonistic than New Delhi which too is trying to build bridges with Islamabad through a dialogue process.

“We should not dramatise an outdated situation. Even in India, which Indian leaders can say Pakistan is an enemy?’’ stated a Russian diplomat. Even otherwise, the Russian side communicated to New Delhi, Mr. Putin’s proposed first-ever visit to Pakistan was more to do with Afghanistan where any future settlement of the problem will depend on how its neighbours will act, they said.

To South Block’s relief, Mr. Putin did put off his visit to Pakistan. But in an indication that Russia is clearly interested in resetting ties with Pakistan, that was not the end of the Russia story involving India and Pakistan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was to visit India on October 4, landed instead in Pakistan. His Cabinet colleague, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov postponed his scheduled visit to India as Pakistan Army Chief Asfaq Parvez Kayani flew to Moscow.

After Mr. Putin cancelled his trip, Moscow offered to send Mr. Lavrov in his stead. Islamabad was initially reluctant. Like India which did not like the idea of Mr. Putin first going to Pakistan, Islamabad did not want to be offered a Foreign Minister instead of a Head of Government. But Islamabad relented two days before Mr. Lavrov landed.

Officials in South Block maintain Mr. Lavrov had offered to come here from Pakistan but External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was unavailable. They also dismissed the suggestion that Mr. Serdyukov had put off his India visit to meet Gen. Kayani in Moscow. “If Mr. Serdyukov had come to India as planned earlier, he would have reached Moscow in time to meet the Pakistan army chief,’’ said one official.

But New Delhi knows only too well it no longer has exclusive rights over Moscow. Russia has sold helicopters for civilian purposes to Pakistan which can be converted to military use with minimal fuss. This trend was only to be expected after India shifted from direct purchases of defence equipment from Moscow to competitive bids in which Russian companies lost a number of orders to the U.S. and other western companies.

India diplomats concur with their Russian counterparts over the main reason for closer Russia-Pakistan engagement — economics and securing the Russian underbelly from religious extremism. “We are not sleeping over the developments. It is entirely in the context of Afghanistan,” the official said.

Growing Russia-Pakistan ties are a reality that India will have to live with as part of Moscow’s growing engagement with other countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“India could have been more loyal to Russia in the field of military and technical cooperation and saved it from the disagreeable situation in which Moscow on its own has to search for markets to sell military equipment meant for Delhi,” said another Russian diplomat. The consolation: even in the most optimistic scenario, the diplomat asserted, military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan would remain insignificant and would not alter the balance of power in the region.

When Russian Deputy Prime Minister Dmitry Rogozin came here in July, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, had a request to make: Could Russian President Vladimir Putin put off his visit to Pakistan in October so that the optics of the India-Russia summit meeting scheduled in November could remain unimpaired?

Mr. Rogozin demurred. Privately his diplomats explained how that would be difficult. Russia was as concerned as India about terrorist activity with bases in Pakistan but Moscow could not be more antagonistic than New Delhi which too is trying to build bridges with Islamabad through a dialogue process.

“We should not dramatise an outdated situation. Even in India, which Indian leaders can say Pakistan is an enemy?’’ stated a Russian diplomat. Even otherwise, the Russian side communicated to New Delhi, Mr. Putin’s proposed first-ever visit to Pakistan was more to do with Afghanistan where any future settlement of the problem will depend on how its neighbours will act, they said.

To South Block’s relief, Mr. Putin did put off his visit to Pakistan. But in an indication that Russia is clearly interested in resetting ties with Pakistan, that was not the end of the Russia story involving India and Pakistan. Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov, who was to visit India on October 4, landed instead in Pakistan. His Cabinet colleague, Defence Minister Anatoly Serdyukov postponed his scheduled visit to India as Pakistan Army Chief Asfaq Parvez Kayani flew to Moscow.

After Mr. Putin cancelled his trip, Moscow offered to send Mr. Lavrov in his stead. Islamabad was initially reluctant. Like India which did not like the idea of Mr. Putin first going to Pakistan, Islamabad did not want to be offered a Foreign Minister instead of a Head of Government. But Islamabad relented two days before Mr. Lavrov landed.

Officials in South Block maintain Mr. Lavrov had offered to come here from Pakistan but External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna was unavailable. They also dismissed the suggestion that Mr. Serdyukov had put off his India visit to meet Gen. Kayani in Moscow. “If Mr. Serdyukov had come to India as planned earlier, he would have reached Moscow in time to meet the Pakistan army chief,’’ said one official.

But New Delhi knows only too well it no longer has exclusive rights over Moscow. Russia has sold helicopters for civilian purposes to Pakistan which can be converted to military use with minimal fuss. This trend was only to be expected after India shifted from direct purchases of defence equipment from Moscow to competitive bids in which Russian companies lost a number of orders to the U.S. and other western companies.

India diplomats concur with their Russian counterparts over the main reason for closer Russia-Pakistan engagement — economics and securing the Russian underbelly from religious extremism. “We are not sleeping over the developments. It is entirely in the context of Afghanistan,” the official said.

Growing Russia-Pakistan ties are a reality that India will have to live with as part of Moscow’s growing engagement with other countries in the region such as Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.

“India could have been more loyal to Russia in the field of military and technical cooperation and saved it from the disagreeable situation in which Moscow on its own has to search for markets to sell military equipment meant for Delhi,” said another Russian diplomat. The consolation: even in the most optimistic scenario, the diplomat asserted, military cooperation between Russia and Pakistan would remain insignificant and would not alter the balance of power in the region.

News » International

Updated: August 21, 2012 23:14 IST

Russia hopes India will refloat MMRCA tender

Vladimir Radyuhin

 

The Russian Mig 35 fighter aircraft
Photo: K. Bhagya Prakash The Russian Mig 35 fighter aircraft

A top Russian arms trade official suggested that India may cancel the results of its tender for the purchase of 126 medium multi-role combat aircraft (MMRCA).

“I wouldn’t say that the MMRCA tender is a closed issue. We have information that the tender is still up in the air,” said Vyacheskav Dzirkaln, Deputy Director of Russia’s Federal Service for Military Technical Cooperation.

The French Rafale aircraft won the MMRCA tender, whereas Russia’s MiG-35 did not even make it to the shortlist, which also included the European Eurofighter.

Mr. Dzirkaln told the Interfax-AVN news wire on Tuesday that neither the Indian nor the French side were happy with the financial terms of the deal and the extent of technology transfer.

“The sides have so far failed to reach agreement on these issues,” the Russian official claimed.

He did not rule out that India may refloat the tender.

“In the tender is floated again, we would be prepared to take part, taking into account the lessons we have learnt,” Interfax quoted Mr. Dzirkaln as saying.

The Russian official said the Indo-Russian defence cooperation had “enormous” potential.

“India is Russia’s Number One defence partner. It accounts for more than a third of the total volume of our military-technical cooperation with foreign countries,” he said.

Russia’s defence sales topped $13 billion last year.

“The potential [of Indo-Russian defence cooperation] is enormous and prospects for growth are very impressive,” Mr. Dzirkaln said.

He spoke hours after the news came that the U.S. Apache Longbow had beaten Russia’s Mi-28 in the $1.4-billion Indian tender for the purchase of 22 heavy-duty attack helicopters.

Mr. Dzirkaln said Russia was prioritising technology transfer and license production of high-tech defence systems in its defence cooperation with India. He revealed that a contract for the supply to India of additional 42 long-range multirole Su-30MKI fighters to India will be signed in the next few months.

“The contract is ready and practically finalised with the Indian side. It is currently undergoing procedures within the Indian Defence Ministry. We hope that it will be signed before the end of the year,” Mr. Dzirkaln said.

News » National

Updated: October 8, 2012 03:30 IST

India-Russia equipment developers’ roundtable to be held next month

Vladimir Radyuhin

To explore commercialisation of cutting-edge technologies, and creation of high-tech products

A focused meeting of Indian and Russian equipment developers and business leaders will be held in New Delhi from October 16 to 18 to promote commercial application of innovative technologies and new research and development (R&D) projects between the countries.

The roundtable is expected to draw about 100 participants who will explore mechanisms for commercialisation of cutting-edge technologies and creation of new high-tech products.

It is the first in a series of get-togethers organised by the Indo-Russian Centre for Science and Technology (S&T) set up last December with branches in Moscow and Delhi.

“The main goals set are to facilitate cooperation and create new linkages, develop industrial assets, promote new R&D and business projects,” the centre said. It also plans to organise regular exchanges of researchers, technologists and business people.

A delegation of Indian experts toured Russia last week to familiarise themselves with Russian technologies for long-distance radio communication and fabrication of silicon wafers and titanium sponge.

During the visit, the state-owned Mishra Dhatu Nigam Limited, which specialises in production of specialised metals and metal alloys, signed a memorandum of understanding with Russia’s VSMPO-Avisma Corporation, the world’s largest titanium manufacturer. The two sides agreed to explore joint projects for use of high-tech titanium products in aviation, automotive industry, energy and other spheres.

The Indo-Russian S&T Centre has been established to facilitate industrial applications of R&D work done in both countries.

News » International

Updated: January 26, 2013 17:17 IST

Indo-Russian trade posts impressive growth

Vladimir Radyuhin

India’s trade with Russia increased by more than 30 per cent last year, touching $11 billion for the first time since the breakup of the Soviet Union.

Bilateral trade grew by an impressive 32.5 per cent in January-November and will have zoomed from $8.9 billion in 2011 to $11 billion in 2012 when the December figures are available, according to India’s Ambassador to Russia Ajai Malhotra.

“This marks the fastest growth in India-Russia trade in recent years and is especially noteworthy given the global economic slowdown and the marginal decline in India’s overall trade during 2012,” Ambassador Malhotra said at a flag hoisting ceremony at the Indian embassy in Moscow on Saturday.

The two countries have set the goal of boosting bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015.

The Indian Ambassador also revealed that the Russian tourist flow to India increased by 22 percent last year. In 2011 the Indian embassy simplified visa rules for Russians, which led to a surge in the number of Russians visiting India. Last year the Indian consulates in Moscow, St. Petersburg and Vladivostok issued 160,000 visas, a jump of 50 percent on 2010.

Despite biting cold hundreds of Indian nationals gathered on the embassy grounds to celebrate the 64 Republic Day. After the ceremony children of the embassy school sang some patriotic songs. Later in the day the Russian dance group “Nritya Sabha” gave a concert of classical Indian dance at Moscow’s prestigious Higher School of Economics.

Opinion » Comment

Updated: December 25, 2012 01:58 IST

For Russia, deepening friendship with India is a top foreign policy priority

Vladimir Putin

  • MULTIVECTOR COOPERATION: Joint high-technology projects can yield products that India and Russia can offer to markets of third countries. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
    The Hindu MULTIVECTOR COOPERATION: Joint high-technology projects can yield products that India and Russia can offer to markets of third countries. Photo: Sandeep Saxena
  • Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Special Arrangement
    Russian President Vladimir Putin. Photo: Special Arrangement

A new level of partnership can be achieved by developing business, scientific and technological, and humanitarian ties

I am glad to have an opportunity to address the readers of one of the most influential Indian newspapers — The Hindu. As my visit to New Delhi is beginning, I would like to outline approaches to further development of the strategic partnership between India and Russia.

This year marked the 65 anniversary of diplomatic relations between our countries. During the past decades we have acquired vast experience of working together and achieved progress in a range of fields. Political epochs changed but the principles of bilateral ties, such as mutual confidence and equality, remained the same. I would like to stress that deepening of friendship and cooperation with India is among the top priorities of our foreign policy. And now we have every reason to say that they have really unique special and privileged character.

The Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and Russia signed in October 2000 became a truly historic step. The developments in the first decade of the 21 century confirmed that it was a particularly significant and timely step. In fact, today we, the whole civilization, face serious challenges. These are unbalanced global development, economic and social instability, lack of confidence and security.

In that situation India and Russia show an example of responsible leadership and collective actions in the international arena.

Multipolar world

We have a common goal — to make the world we live in more just, democratic and secure and to facilitate resolving global and regional problems, including the situation in the Middle East and North Africa, and in Afghanistan.

I would like to note that our joint work in the BRICS has become increasingly intensive. The authority of that association is growing every year, and that is quite natural. Our proposed initiatives are aimed at establishing new architecture for a multipolar world order. The same constructive approach is also reflected in our interaction in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and other multilateral formats. We expect a meaningful dialogue with the Indian side within the framework of Russia’s presidency in the G20 that has begun.

Joint steps in the international arena, participation in the development of rules of global trade and enhancing business, scientific and technological and humanitarian ties form the basis for achieving a new quality of partnership.

We attach particular significance to bilateral trade and investment relations. The growing economic potential of India and Russia is mutually complementary in many respects. Our trade turnover has overcome the consequences of the global crisis, and in 2012 we expect to reach record numbers, over $10 billion. Our next goal is to reach $20 billion by 2015.

To this end, we should engage all reserves and maintain direct contacts between business communities and promote establishing efficient investment, technological and industry alliances in the most dynamic and promising fields, for instance, in the energy industry, primarily the nuclear one.

The construction of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant with the use of the most reliable and up-to-date technologies and standards became a major breakthrough project in that field. The beginning of operation of the first power unit of that plant will allow to significantly reduce the energy deficiency in southern States of India, and eventually eliminate it completely, after the launch of the second and other power units. We expect that the implementation of our arrangements on the construction of new NPPs in India will begin in the nearest future.

We hope for significant returns from long-term projects in steel industry, hydrocarbon production, car and aircraft manufacturing, chemical and pharmaceuticals industries, in the field of information and biotechnologies. Important benchmarks are set in the Integrated Long-Term Program of Cooperation in the sphere of science, technology and innovation until 2020. Its main task is to ensure that our scientists conduct fundamental and applied research in order to create new technologies, equipment and materials.

The joint operation of Russian global navigation satellite system GLONASS opens up broad prospects. The package of respective bilateral agreements has already been signed. We intend to promote practical interaction in that important area.

The strategic nature of the partnership between India and Russia is witnessed by the unprecedented level of our military and technical cooperation. The licensed production and joint development of advanced armaments rather than just purchasing military products becomes a key area of activities.

Serious attention is being paid to developing a fifth generation multifunctional fighter plane and a multipurpose transport aircraft. The product of our designers, the ‘BrahMos’ cruise missile, has successfully passed all tests. Today experts are thinking of its aircraft version.

I am confident that such a multivector cooperation will allow our countries not only to reach leading positions as a range of hi-technology projects are concerned, but will help to successfully advance joint products to markets of third countries.

Humanitarian cooperation has a particular significance for India and Russia, which are states with great cultural heritage and potential. The centuries-old history and culture of India, majestic architectural monuments and museums of Delhi, Agra and Mumbai have a unique attractive force. In its turn, Indian citizens with interest discover the wealth of Russian music, literature and art. The Festival of Russian Culture in India and All-Russian Festival of Modern Cinema and Culture of India which were successfully held this year have convincingly proved it once again.

I am confident that awareness-raising and educational projects should be more actively promoted and tourism and youth exchanges developed. In fact, they enrich our citizens and add new contents to human dimension of bilateral relations which becomes all the more significant and relevant today.

The India-Russia summit in New Delhi was preceded by painstaking and comprehensive preparations. We have a clear vision of major vectors of future-oriented joint work. I am confident that the summit talks will be constructive, as they always were, and their outcome will give a powerful impetus to a strategic partnership for the benefit of our two countries and peoples, in the interests of peace and stability in Eurasia and on our common planet.

I will take the liberty to outline joint prospects for strategic partnership between India and Russia in the 21 century. These are deepening of cooperation in knowledge-intensive fields based on strong historic traditions, advancement of joint products to international markets, further increasing of the share of high value added products in the trade turnover, enhancing the role and effectiveness of Indian-Russian interaction in international affairs, and the widest possible realization of the potential of cultural and humanitarian contacts.

I sincerely wish to the people of friendly India peace, well-being and new impressive achievements.

(Vladimir Putin is President of Russia. He arrives in New Delhi on Monday)

 Opinion » Lead

Updated: December 28, 2012 01:48 IST

Still comrades after all these years

Kanwal Sibal

The India-Russia summit saw positive formulations on many issues, while providing an opportunity to address difficult questions like Kudankulam

Russia was the first country with which India established a strategic partnership in 2000 when Vladimir Putin became President and reversed the drift in ties under Boris Yeltsin when Moscow veered westwards and lost interest in its Soviet-era friendships. The declaration of a strategic partnership with India was a pragmatic step, calculated to restore Russia’s role in international affairs by linking up with independent-minded, friendly, economically resurgent countries like India that could help promote multi-polarity and resist United States-led policies of regime change and intervention in the internal affairs of sovereign countries.

Since then, India has signed strategic partnership agreements with several countries, including the U.S. whose unilateralism was the motive for espousing multipolarity in the first place. The India-U.S. strategic partnership agreement shifts the balance in India’s foreign policy as its logic is both to deepen bilateral ties and build convergences in policies on regional and global issues. Because of the disparity of power between them, the U.S. has more capacity to influence India’s policies than the reverse, with the result that changes in India’s stance on some domestic and foreign issues is often attributed to U.S. influence, causing misgivings about India’s U.S. tilt.

Perceived westward tilt

If before 2000 it was Russia’s westward tilt that unsettled our bilateral relationship, it is now the perceived westward tilt of India that is causing some unease in Russian thinking.

To underline the claim that the India-Russia relationship is in fine fettle and distinguish it from India’s other strategic partnerships, the two countries declared last year that theirs was a “special and privileged” one. But such well meaning rhetoric does not match reality.

If the economic pillar of relationships is more important today than the political one, then the inability of India and Russia to build a strong bilateral economic relationship weakens the foundations of overall ties. At $10 billion currently, two-way trade, even with a 30 per cent increase over the previous year, is small, compared to $100 billion in economic exchanges with the U.S. and almost $73 billion of trade in goods with China. The target of $20 billion by 2015 appears optimistic. Many efforts at the government level to promote more business to business contacts have not galvanised the economic relationship because of the hangover of the state controlled trade arrangements of the past that blunt real entrepreneurship on both sides, the decline of the public sector in India and the state oriented structure of the Russian economy, and also because the most dynamic, technologically modernising sectors of our economy, especially knowledge-based, are west oriented. In this context, some agreements signed during the summit in IT and pharmaceutical sectors, as well as on satellite based navigation systems using GLONASS (the Russian GPS system), are encouraging.

In areas of obvious complementarities, as in the energy sector, achievements have remained modest despite several summit level discussions during the 12 years of strategic partnership. The joint statement issued at the end of the just concluded summit between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and President Putin devotes considerable attention to the subject, with some indication of progress. We have, as before, reiterated our interest in equity participation in new projects in Siberia, Russia’s Far East and the Arctic shelf, as well as in discovered/producing assets and proposed LNG projects in Russia. In return, Russia has always pitched for a share in downstream activities in India, to which we are agreeable. The LNG deal between GAIL and the Gazprom group for long-term supply of 2.5 mmt mentioned in the joint statement is to be welcomed. We are looking to Russia to ease the tax liability on Indian investment in Imperial Energy which is making the project unremunerative.

As against this, the atmosphere for Russian investment in India has been soured by the problems Sistema has been facing in the telecom sector with its licences revoked by the Supreme Court’s 2G judgment, putting in jeopardy its multi-billion dollar investment that includes $700 million of Russian debt funds. The issue has got complicated because Sistema contends rightly that it acted within the policy framework and committed no wrongdoing and the Russian government seeks resolution through executive fiat and is unpersuaded that the government of India cannot disregard the Supreme Court judgment. Some amicable solution seems to have been explored as the issue does not figure in the joint statement, while India’s problem with Russian tax laws in connection with Imperial Energy does.

Disappointment

Russia’s disappointment with the delay in signing the agreement on Kudankulam 3 and 4, despite the attractive financial terms offered, is understandable. Having agreed to set up nuclear plants in defiance of U.S.-led international restrictions on civilian nuclear cooperation with India and supply nuclear fuel for Tarapur, the Russians are resentful that India wants to treat them and the Americans and the French alike with regard to our nuclear liability law, especially as the inter-governmental agreement pertaining to these reactors preceded our liability legislation. However, with Fukushima and the public agitation against Kudankulam 1 and 2, not to mention the Supreme Court’s involvement in the matter, the issue has become politically difficult for the government. The answer may lie in increased cost of Russian reactors to cater for liability exposure. If Russia explored a practical solution within the rules framed under our liability law that provides considerable scope for limiting the financial liability of the supplier, Kudankulam 3 and 4 could be signed and Russia would dramatically increase its head start over others in India’s nuclear sector.

Similarly, on defence contracts, the Russians are unhappy at the negative publicity over the inordinate delay in delivering the aircraft carrier, now slated for November 2013, even as the Government of India has been extremely accommodating over the delay. Russia retains its privileged position as the largest source of defence supplies to India, but gets upset when it loses some tenders. Because the India-Russia relationship is excessively defence weighted, such losses are felt all the more acutely. India has to manage Russian expectations even as it is obliged to diversify its sources of supply as part of building strategic ties with other partners. The answer lies in diversifying the India-Russia relationship and giving it strong non-defence legs. On the positive side, the two countries are engaged in joint projects such as the Fifth Generation Fighter Aircraft, Multi-Role Transport Aircraft and the BrahMos missile, while India has ordered an additional 12 MI-17v5 helicopters as well as technological kits for 42 additional Sukhoi 30-MKI aircraft. It is ironic that although India is the biggest user of Russian platforms which are used in exercises with the U.S. armed forces, military level contacts with the Russians, as compared to those with the U.S., are negligible. Beyond all this, it is a huge policy failure on our part that with so much access to advanced Russian equipment we have failed to establish an indigenous defence manufacturing base.

The joint statement has substantive paragraphs with positive formulations on several regional and global issues. Russia has expressed satisfaction with India’s cooperation as a non-permanent member of the U.N. Security Council and reiterated its strong support for its candidature for permanent membership. The formulation on terrorism is robust. Pakistan is not named, but the implication, including in the context of Afghanistan, is clear, easing doubts raised by Russia’s recent overtures to Pakistan. The Taliban is not named, but in the context of attempts to have a dialogue with it, both countries have recalled the redlines for this and have implicitly opposed the dilution of U.N. sanctions against the extremist elements.

The formulation on Syria reflects convergence in thinking on essentials, as also that on Iran where any military option is opposed. In the long paragraph on security in Asia, there is a call for inclusive regional security architecture. In the background of Chinese claims in South China Sea, the need for strengthening maritime security in accordance with the universally accepted principles of international law is stressed. The trilateral India-Russia-China mechanism gets a positive mention, with Russia conveying its support for India’s membership of SCO and APEC. The important role BRICS plays in a multi-polar order and collective decision making is noted. Both countries back a more representative and legitimate international financial architecture that includes an expeditious reform of the IMF.

Russia has extended support to India’s membership of the MTCR (Missile Technology Control Regime) and Wassenar Arrangement as well as the Nuclear Suppliers Group. The Australia Group is a notable omission. In the joint statement, India has “underscored its determination to actively contribute to international efforts at strengthening nuclear non-proliferation regime,” which, apart from the clumsy language, is unclear about what is implied.

All in all, despite a truncated visit consistent with Mr. Putin’s matter-of-fact, businesslike style, the 13th summit was timely in providing an opportunity to the two sides to underline a shared understanding on several important issues and address some vexatious ones creating ripples across the smooth surface of the bilateral relationship.

(The writer is a former Foreign Secretary)

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