Evolution of ties INDIA – RUSSIA


  • The convergence in Indian and Russian interests is evident in three arenas i.e. global, regional and bilateral.
  • PM Nehru strong inclination was to keep a fine balance b/w USA and USSR, but this idea proved particularly grating to USA. For USA the bipolar order represented not just a power equation but a stark ideological divergence and moral high ground b/w communism and capitalist democracy.
  • US showed frustration over Indian decision and this was evident with Indian outcry over Western power attack on Egypt over Suez Canal nationalisation and relative silence over Hungarian  intervention by USSR.
  • Indian defeat at the hands of China and border disputes b/w China and Ussr in 1969 gave both a common adversary in Asian region. The US rapprochement with China in 1971 and Pakistan’s  role as facilitator in the friendship was viewed by India as highly threatening and thus India entered treaty of friendship with USSR in 1971


  • After the soviet collapse India found itself cut adrift from its traditional foreign policy partner. India was facing the most severe economic crisis in its history and has to device a completely new strategic framework with little confidence regarding Russian capability.
  • Lack of great power ally left India exposed to any future negative developments, while Russia was correcting itself India took some bold steps  with weaponization of nuclear capability , deep economic reforms thus amounting to overhaul of Nehruvian paradigm and a diversion of external policy under PM NARASIMHA RAO’s LOOKE EAST POLICY.
  • India has few friends in the new so called democratic Russia under Boris Yeltsin, the foreign ministry under pro-western Andrei-Kozyrev relegated India to a secondary position. Yeltsin’s tilt towards the Western World and in search for an European Identity was interpreted as Russian turning back on Eurasian identity.
  • However the Yeltsin’s policy failed as the country has expected rich dividends in form of Economic largess and a nod to its great power status from USA. Instead the Russian economy plunged and further the NATO expansion along with large scale military action against YUGOSLAVIA were the double shocks for Russian’s 


  • During the Cold War years India was more open to Russia as it provided high technology and advanced military instrument which was denied by the USA. Soviets on the other hand accepted India’s pre-eminence in South Asia. 
  • The two countries signed Declaration of Strategic Partnership with Putin’s visit in 2000. India faced a crunch in repair and spare parts post the break of Soviet Union. The two countries have experienced steady relationship in this tech-commercial sector. India’s need to upgrade its soviet made conventional weapons post Kargil war bought it closer to Russia.
  • The stimulus for arms’ trade since 1191 from the Russia side to earn hard-currency and safeguard its defence industry. Large firms like Mig-Mapo systems were given right to engage in arms transaction directly.
  • From Indian perspective this type of openness was extremely beneficial as it was in dire search of upgrading its indigenous capability and this was stated y the fact that India buys more military hardware from Russia than Russia buys from itself
  • Putin visit in 2007 as Republic Day guest, in a joint statement Russia offered to build four new nuclear plants in India, in addition to existing support for two nuclear plants. Indian defence scientist and sections of foreign policy repose greater confidence in Russia’s long term reliability as a supplier of crucial raw material.
  • Russia has established as part of agreement a service centre in India called ROSOBORON service such that India can get timely delivery of spare part and maintenance services


  • Post 9/11 India and Russia are in agreement on curtailing Pakistan’s influence in Afghanistan and regaining its own position in Afghanistan. The US overthrew of Taliban from power has strengthened the position of both Russia and India in Afghanistan.
  • Also Indian and Russia shares a unspoken but deep concern about China’s rapid rise and growing influence as in past both the countries have had period of antagonism with China


The formal growth of trilateral dialogue b/w Russia , India and China has helped Russia to regain its lost ground with PRIMAKOV PLAN which has aimed for a strategic triangle b/w these three as an antidote for American Hyphenation

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