Vladimir Putin says Russia would like to participate in Delhi-Mumbai Industrial Corridor and speed up FTA talks between India and the Eurasian Union. Narendra Modi assures Russia that it remains India’s most important defense partner.

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi meet in New Delhi. Photo: Konstantin Zavrazhin / RG

India and Russia signed 16 agreements at the 15th annual Indo-Russian bilateral summit, including two concerning the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

In a joint statement, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin said they agreed on a vision for strengthening the India-Russia partnership over the next decade. “Recognizing that the special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has been built on the strong foundation of mutual trust, bilateral understanding and unique people-to-people affinities, the leaders emphasized that the time has come for a significant broad-basing of bilateral cooperation to carry the friendship between the countries to a qualitatively new level,” the statement read.

Russia and India agreed on the construction of at least 12 new nuclear power units within the next 20 years, including two new units at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant. The countries also agreed to find a new site to construct a new nuclear plant.

At a joint press conference, Putin said Russia would look at participating in the Delhi Mumbai Industrial Corridor project. He added that negotiations for a free trade agreement between India and the Eurasian Union would be sped up.

Although the sides did not reach a concrete agreement on the FGFA and MTA projects, Putin said the projects show the strides made in defense cooperation between the countries. Modi reassured the Russians that Moscow would remain Delhi’s primary defense partner.

The sides agreed to promote bilateral economic, trade and investment cooperation, including the idea of exploring the use of national currencies in settlements. India and Russia agreed to consult and coordinate in multilateral fora such as G20, EAS, BRICS and RIC. “Russia looks forward to India becoming a full member of the SCO following the completion of all required negotiations procedures,” the statement read. “The sides support the evolution of an open, balanced and inclusive security architecture in the Asia Pacific region based on collective efforts, considering legitimate interests of all states of the region and guided by respect for norms and principles of international law.”

While there was no agreement for ONGC to increase its participation in the Russian oil and has sector, the joint statement defined a broader vision for bilateral cooperation in the sector. “The bilateral program ‘on enhanced cooperation in oil and gas sphere’ underlines the serious commitments of the two sides to develop cooperation in this area of great promise,” according to the statement. “The leaders envisage broader collaboration between hydrocarbon companies of the two countries in oil and gas exploration and production as well as in LNG projects and supplies.”

The article is first published in Russia & India Report.