10 Jul 2024

PM Modi Russia Visit: India Secures Release of Citizens from Russian Army, Strengthens Bilateral Ties


All Indians recruited into the Russian army under false pretenses have been permitted to return home. Reports indicate that approximately 40 Indians were misled with promises of employment and subsequently deployed in the ongoing conflict along the Ukraine border. Tragically, two Indians have lost their lives in this conflict. During his visit to Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed this issue assertively in a meeting with President Vladimir Putin on Monday.

President Putin has agreed to release all the Indians. Prior to this, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar discussed the matter with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. The 22nd India-Russia summit, led by Modi and Putin, concluded on Tuesday, focusing on various issues to strengthen bilateral relations. 

Discussions revealed that defense relations between India and Russia are no longer the highest priority. However, Prime Minister Modi did raise concerns about the shortage of Russian military supplies in India's defense sector post-Ukraine war. Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra emphasized that the economic agenda dominated the summit, with a target set to increase bilateral trade from the current $65 billion to $100 billion by 2030.

In the aftermath of the Ukraine war, India has purchased substantial quantities of crude oil from Russia, defying pressure from the US and Western nations. This move provided India with cheaper oil and enabled Russia to earn foreign exchange. Prime Minister Modi highlighted that during global shortages of food, fertilizer, and fuel, Indian farmers faced no issues due to Russia's support. India has also expressed interest in purchasing more fertilizers from Russia.

Key Outcomes of the Visit

Long-term Supply Agreements

  • Russia has agreed to supply crude oil, coal, and fertilizers to India for an extended period.

Nuclear Energy Cooperation

  • In addition to the Kudankulam nuclear power plant, another nuclear facility based on Russian technology will be established in India.

Defense Collaboration

  • The committee on technical cooperation between the Indian and Russian armies will reconvene.
  • Components required for Russian defense equipment will be manufactured in India, with plans for a joint venture.

Economic and Trade Initiatives

  • Measures will be taken to eliminate non-tariff barriers and promote mutual trade.
  • Discussions will be held regarding a potential Free Trade Agreement (FTA) with Eurasian countries.
  • Connectivity to boost mutual trade will be enhanced through three sea routes.
  • Efforts will be made to increase trade in agriculture, food, and fertilizers.
  • Energy sector cooperation will be strengthened, particularly in nuclear, petroleum, and petro-chemicals.
  • New opportunities will be explored in the automobile, shipbuilding, and transport sectors.
  • Significant potential exists in the medical field, with plans for Indian companies to open hospitals in Russia.

India has secured numerous economic and strategic benefits from this visit, laying the groundwork for further strengthening of bilateral relations in the future.

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