India, Russia open up new vista: Sign 28 pacts, set $50 bn investment, $30 bn trade target

India, Russia open up new vista: Sign 28 pacts, set $50 bn investment, $30 bn trade target
© Provided by The Statesman India, Russia open up new vista: Sign 28 pacts, set $50 bn investment, $30 bn trade target

India-Russia relationship leapfrogged to a new realm on Monday with the two sides holding a game-changer ‘2 Plus 2’ Dialogue and Russian President Vladimir Putin landing in Delhi in-person for one-on-one interaction and the 21st Annual Summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

“The fact that the Russian President decided to visit India for our annual summit is an indication of the importance he attaches to the bilateral relationship and his personal rapport with PM Modi,” Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla told reporters here.

PM Modi and President Putin made a strong pitch for a ‘secured and stable Afghanistan’- that will have “an inclusive government with all sections of society”.

In his remarks, Prime Minister Modi said at the Summit parley: “We are adopting a long-term vision to strengthen our partnership in economic affairs”.

By 2025, the Prime Minister said – “We have set a target of trade worth $30 billion and investment worth $50 billion.

Both the leaders discussed the “need for mutual recognition” of vaccine certification to enable easier travel by the citizens to each other’s countries, Shringla said.

“Mr Modi also thanked President Putin for the welfare of the Indian community in Russia, especially during COVID pandemic,” the Foreign Secretary said, adding that President Putin’s visit could be short but it was “highly productive and substantive”.

“There were excellent discussions between the two leaders. As many as 28 agreements/MoUs were concluded during this visit,” Shringla said adding these pacts cover a wide range of issues and also subjects between Govt to Govt and business to business.

The Foreign Secretary said both sides “were very clear” that the Afghanistan territory should not be used for training and sheltering, planning, and financing any acts of terrorism.

“There were of course concerns on the issues of drugs and other concerns that could emanate from Afghanistan,” Mr. Shringla said. Both the leaders had detailed talks on regional and international issues of “common interest”.

“They decided to continue consultation and coordination between two sides on Afghanistan including for a peaceful, secured, and stable Afghanistan,” he said.

Prime Minister Modi said: “The first 2+2 dialogue between our defence and foreign ministers has taken place (on Monday). It starts a new mechanism to improve our behavioural cooperation”.

Mr Modi said, “We have been in constant touch on Afghanistan and other regional issues.

In the last few decades, several fundamentals have changed. New geopolitical angles have emerged.

Amidst all such variables, Indo-Russian friendship has been constant”.

Moreover, he laid emphasis that both the countries have assisted each other and also taken care of each other’s sensitivities.

These remarks owe their own significance because Indo-Russia relations have been treading a right balanced approach keeping the sensitivities intact in the context of Indo-US relationship and Russia-China ties.

For his part, Mr Putin described India as a ‘time-tested friend’.

“The relations between our nations are growing and I am looking into the future,” he said, exuding optimism.

The same spirit was shared by PM Modi as well.

Putin said his country is “concerned” about the Afghan situation and it also considers that fight against drugs is as vital as the global war to crush terrorism.

“We are concerned about everything that has to do with terrorism. Fight against terrorism is also fight against drug trafficking and organized crime,” Putin said.

Thus, his country remains concerned about the “developments of the situation in Afghanistan”.

Mr Putin, considered a key player and partner for India both in global and post-Taliban takeover regional contexts, said – Russia regards India “as a great power and a friendly nation”.

The Joint Statement said, both sides “intend to focus particularly on increasing the effectiveness of countering terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking, cross-border organized crime, and information security threats, in particular by improving the functionality of the SCO Regional Anti-Terrorist Structure”.

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