India and Russia signed 15 agreements taking bilateral cooperation to a new high at the 20th annual summit in Vladivostok today.
The agreements were exchanged in the presence of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin after the restricted and delegation-level talks.
The agreements include four in the area of oil and gas, LNG and coking coal, five in trade and investments, two in infrastructure and one each in defence and audiovisual production.
Later, in a joint statement, both leaders expressed satisfaction over the outcome of summit-level talks and affirmed that they are resolved to expand the bilateral relations to new areas of cooperation.
Prime Minister Modi on the occasion described Russia as a reliable partner and special friend. The Prime Minister said, the relations between the two countries are not only quantitative but also qualitative.
Russian President said, the relations between the two countries are unique and mutually beneficial. Mr Putin said, Russia welcomes the intent of the Indian Side to expand its economic and investment presence in the Far Eastern region and Siberia. He expressed readiness to participate in major infrastructural and other projects in India.
The MoU on defence is about the production of spare parts for Russian origin arms under Make-in-India program through joint ventures. In his statement, Prime Minister Modi said, through this agreement, the relationship between both countries will be enhanced from buyer-seller to co-producers.
The MoUs in infrastructure relate to the establishment of maritime links between Vladivostok and Chennai to improve connectivity. Other MoUs relate to the exploration of cooking coal in the Arctic region, sourcing LNG from Russia. An agreement has also been exchanged for combating customs violations during 2019-22.
An agreement between Invest India and the Russian Direct Investment Fund has been signed for Investment Collaboration.
Mr Modi said, both countries have decided to roll out a five-year road map in the area of exploration and exploitation of oil and gas fields in both countries.
The Prime Minister said, a new chapter has begun in the strategic partnership Russia through military exercises like ‘Indra”. He has come forward to provide assistance in Gaganyaan space flight program.
Mr Modi said, cybersecurity and environment protection also came for discussion during the delegation-level talks and they decided to hold a bilateral forum on tiger conservation next year.
The Prime Minister said that both India and Russia are looking forward for peace in Afghanistan. He said, both countries are against any intervention from outside in the internal issues of any country. He said, both countries are working together for a multipolar world through organisations like SCO, BRICS.
Later addressing media persons, Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale said, the four agreements signed in the field of energy will be a breakthrough in the bilateral relations. He said, both countries decided to promote mutual settlements of payments in national currencies. They also discussed manpower export from India in view of the dearth of labour in the Far East of the Russian region.
The Foreign Secretary said the Russian President invited the Prime Minister to attend the 75th Victory Day to celebrate the victory of the USSR in the second world war, to be held in Moscow in May next year.