India and Russia on Thursday resolved to expand their strategic partnership in all areas, including trade and economy, military and technical, energy, scientific, cultural and humanitarian programmes, and foreign policy in a way that helps promote national interests of both countries.
Marking the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Russia, leaders of the two countries, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin, noted that bilateral relations between the two countries are based on deep mutual understanding and respect and have been immune to external influences.
The declaration signed in Saint Petersburg recalls the Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation signed between the two countries in August 1971 and subsequent expansions of the treaty in later years.
Stating that the economies of India and Russia complemented each other in the energy sector, the two countries agreed to strive to build an "Energy Bridge'' and expand bilateral relations in all areas of energy cooperation, including nuclear, hydrocarbon, hydel and renewable energy sources and in improving energy efficiency.
The joint declaration also took note of the wider use of natural gas, an economically efficient and environmentally friendly fuel, in fulfilling the provisions of the Paris Agreement on Climate Change, as well as achieving sustainable economic growth.
The declaration also proposed joint projects on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf of the Russian Federation.
The two countries will also develop joint strategies to harness the potential for mutually beneficial cooperation in the field of deep sea exploration and development of hydrocarbon resources, polymetallic nodules, and other marine resources utilising strengths in the field of maritime research and training to develop mutually beneficial cooperation.
Energy companies of both countries will cooperate in modernising existing power stations and building new ones in India. The two countries will also share technologies to promote energy efficiency through development of joint projects in different terrains and climatic conditions.
The two countries will expand trade and investment and diversify trade in goods and services, so as to increase the share of high-technology products in bilateral trade, foster industrial cooperation, improve the environment for entrepreneurship and investments and develop cooperation in banking and financial matters.
As the next stage of their strategic partnership, India and Russia plan to extend bilateral technical, economic and scientific cooperation to third countries by undertaking joint development projects in mutually agreed sectors.
Easing trade flows
The two countries also decided to promote settlements of India-Russia trade in national currencies to reduce dependence on other currencies. ''We will jointly encourage our business communities to use the existing workable schemes and mechanisms for settlements in national currencies elaborated by the Reserve Bank of India and the Bank of Russia.''
Besides, the two countries decided to coordinate efforts to develop a credit rating industry that is transparent for the market participants and independent from political conjuncture. The countries will support work aimed at exploring the opportunities of harmonisation of legislation in the area of credit ratings, as well as the recognition of ratings of our local credit rating agencies.
In order to foster economic cooperation at the regional level, the two countries resolved to facilitate an early commencement of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and India.
The declaration also reiterates the commitments of both countries to the principles of transparency, sustainability and responsibility in building an effective infrastructure for the International North South Transport Corridor and implementation of the Green Corridor.
India and Russia will broaden cooperation in designing, developing, manufacturing and bringing to foreign markets high-technology products and strengthen scientific collaboration in areas such as space technology, aviation, new materials, agriculture, information and communication technologies, medicine, pharmaceuticals, robotics, nanotechnology, supercomputing technologies, artificial intelligence and material sciences.
Towards this a High Level Committee on Cooperation in High Technologies between the two countries is being established.
Areas of cooperation also include infrastructure, urbanisation, food security, preserving water and forest resources, economic reforms, development of small and medium enterprises and skill development.
India and Russia also resolved to work together to further develop the potential for cooperation in the diamond industry. They also plan to intensify joint efforts to counter undisclosed synthetic stones entering diamond market and to support the development of generic marketing programmes for diamonds.
Russia will assist India in areas such as shipbuilding, river navigation, desalination technologies and develop joint projects through transfer of technology and experience sharing for developing inland waterways, river embankments, ports and cargo containers towards effective utilization of extensive river systems in India.
Russia will also help India develop high speed railways, dedicated freight corridors, and in application of newer technologies for efficient rail transport through joint development and sharing of technologies, and training of personnel.
In order to boost bilateral trade the two sides agreed to improve market access for agriculture and food commodities in each other's markets and develop joint strategies through research and development in the agriculture and food processing sector covering an entire spectrum of activities from farming, harvesting, production, processing to marketing strategies.
They also agreed to work together to explore joint projects for effective use of natural resources in each other's country through application of existing technologies and development and sharing of newer technologies.
India's Regional Connectivity Scheme is seen as another opportunity for strengthening cooperation in joint production and setting up of joint ventures in India in the field of aviation manufacturing.
Besides, India and Russia decided to expand and upgrade cooperation in military technologies, through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of military hardware and military spares.
The two countries will continue holding regular joint land and sea military exercises, and training in each others' military institutions. ''This year will see the first ever Tri-services exercise INDRA–2017.''
India and Russia regard the establishment of a multi-polar global order in international relations as a reflection of natural and inevitable process of evolution of interstate relations in the 21st century.
''We will work to foster the democratization and reform of global political, economic, financial and social institutions, for them to better accommodate the interests of all members of the international community,''says the joint declaration.
We will continue to develop cooperation within other multilateral forums and organizations, including the WTO, G20 and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, as well as Russia-India-China cooperation.