India and Russia on 1 June 2017 signed the St Petersburg Declaration to mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two nations.
The declaration is an action plan for deepening not only political and economic development of the two countries but also to ensure a benchmark of stability in times of global instability. It was signed following the annual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Stating that the economies of India and Russia complement each other in the energy sector, the declaration said that both the countries would "strive to build an 'Energy Bridge' between their states and expand bilateral relations in all areas of energy cooperation, including nuclear, hydrocarbon, hydel and renewable energy sources and in improving energy efficiency".
Key Highlights of the Declaration
• The Declaration stated that both the countries have noted that wider use of natural gas, an economically efficient and environmentally friendly fuel, which has become an integral part of the global energy market, was highly significant for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
• It said that cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has emerged as one of the hallmarks of the strategic partnership between the two countries, contributing to India's energy security and energizing broader scientific and technological cooperation.
• With concerted efforts on both sides, there has been a series of steady and demonstrable achievements in India and Russia’s civil nuclear partnership, including advancing nuclear power projects at the Kudankulam site and transforming it into one of India's largest energy hubs.
• The declaration also welcomed the conclusion of the General Framework Agreement and Credit Protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.
• According to the Declaration, the growing nuclear power partnership between India and Russia has opened opportunities for developing advanced nuclear manufacturing capabilities in India in line with its 'Make in India' initiative.
• It also stated that both countries were interested in launching joint projects on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf of the Russian Federation.
• It also set major economic objectives including expanding trade and investment and diversification of trade in goods and services, in particular increasing the share of high-technology products, fostering industrial cooperation, improving the environment for entrepreneurship and investments and developing cooperation in banking and financial matters between the two countries.
• It also stated that both countries, as the next stage of their strategic partnership, would extend their bilateral technical, economic and scientific cooperation with third countries by undertaking joint development projects in mutually agreed sectors.
• The declaration would also facilitate an early commencement of negotiations on a free trade agreement between the Eurasian Economic Union and the Republic of India.
• On regional connectivity for peace, progress and prosperity, it said that this must be strengthened based on dialogue and consent of all parties concerned with due respect to sovereignty.
• The two nations also reiterated their commitment to building effective infrastructure for the International North South Transport Corridor and implementation of the Green Corridor.
• Recognizing the strength of Russia in shipbuilding, river navigation and desalination technologies, the two nations agreed to work together to develop joint projects through the transfer of technology and experience sharing for the development of inland waterways, river embankments, ports and cargo containers towards effective utilization of India’s extensive river systems.
• India and Russia would also be working together for the development of high-speed railways, dedicated freight corridors and application of newer technologies for efficient rail transport.
• Our bilateral defense cooperation is built on strong mutual trust. Russia exports its modern military technologies to India. We will upgrade and intensify this cooperation, through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of military hardware and military spares, with increasing reliance on the adoption and sharing of future technologies, in compliance with the obligations of the sides under the existing agreements on military-technical cooperation.
• On defence cooperation, both the countries will upgrade and intensify the already existing strong mutual trust and cooperation through joint manufacture, production and development of military hardware and spares with increasing reliance on the adoption and sharing of future technologies in compliance with the obligations of the sides under the existing agreements on military-technical cooperation.
• Both the nations would also enhance collaboration to democratize the system of international relations based on the principles of the rule of law and the central role of the United Nations.
• Russia reaffirmed its strong support for India's bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
• Both countries strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons.
• The countries agreed to jointly continue efforts to combat international terrorism and urged all the other countries and entities to work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing and stop cross-border movement of terrorists.
• In the closing points the two countries reaffirmed their commitment to work together to address global challenges like Climate change, Environmental Protection, Clean Energy, Cyber security, Affordable health care, Marine biology etc through scientific discoveries and to explore priority areas of common interest.
• They also showed a keen interest in boosting the development of tourism and people-to-people contacts by easing the visa regime.