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Oleg Popadyuk

PhD in Law, MGIMO University

Vyacheslav Trubnikov

Vice President of the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC), Member of the Board of Directors of the Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Russian Federation, General of the Army

Igor Denisov

Senior Research Fellow of the Institute for International Studies at MGIMO-University

Harinder Sekhon

Ph.D. in International Relations, Senior Fellow, Vivekananda International Foundation

Andrey Kortunov

Director General of the Russian International Affairs Council, RIAC member

Kanwal Sibal

Former Foreign Secretary to the Government of India, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India, Member of the Advisory Board and Dean of the Centre for International Relations and Diplomacy, Vivekananda International Foundation

Prabhat Prakash Shukla

Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of India, Distinguished Fellow and Member of the Advisory Council, Vivekananda International Foundation

Liudmila Filippova

Expert at the Center for Strategic Research

Ksenia Kuzmina

Program Coordinator at the Russian International Affairs Council

India had an enduring friendship with the Soviet Union during much of the Cold War. The two countries built a strong strategic, military, economic and diplomatic relations that culminated in the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation in August 1971. This was a remarkable diplomatic achievement for both India and the Soviet Union. Treaty served India and the USSR well during height of the Cold War, and relations were the strongest between them in the late 1970s.

However, due to changing global realities and their own preoccupations at the end of the Cold War, the relationship began to drift. It is only in recent years that once again India and Russia are trying to find ways to forge a common response to the new challenges facing the international community by refocusing on each other.

Over the last 15 years, the trade turnover between Russia and India has grown six-fold, large-scale military-technical projects have been implemented, natural resources have been developed jointly, and the number of academic programmes and educational exchanges has been growing. Russia and India enjoy a relationship based on deep trust and understanding, but need to do more to forge common positions on influential international platforms, including new platforms such as BRICS.

Still, to achieve substantial progress in bilateral relations it is necessary to renew their strategic paradigm. Working on a range of cooperation projects that meet the new economic needs of Russia and India will make a qualitative leap in economic ties possible. Joint initiatives should be based on the global competitive edge of both countries and transition to new development models. The cooperation mechanisms must be revised to adapt to new realities. The ultimate goal of this revision is to make Russia–India relations independent of their ties with third countries and impervious to crises and changes in global circumstances.

The present paper, which is a result of a joint effort undertaken by the Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF), opens up a new discussion on the prospects of relations between the two countries and the steps required to develop them further. The authors express hope that ideas and recommendations expressed herein will provide the necessary expert support for state level contacts and will be helpful in foreign policy decision-making by the two governments.


In 2017, Russia and India celebrate the 70th anniversary of diplomatic relations. Over the years, the two states have steadily developed mutually beneficial ties. Their cooperation has achieved the level of special and privileged strategic partnership. Regular contacts between the two leaders have become an established practice. However, in order to make full use of the collaboration potential, ties between Russia and India should be taken to a qualitatively new level. 

Russian International Affairs Council (RIAC) and the Vivekananda International Foundation (VIF) have drafted a joint report in order to open up a new discussion on the prospects of Russia-India relations and the steps required to develop them further. The authors express hope that ideas and recommendations expressed in the paper will provide the necessary expert support for state level contacts and will be helpful in foreign policy decision-making by the two governments.

70th Anniversary of Russia-India Relations: New Horizons of Privileged Partnership. Report, 1.5 Mb

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Poll conducted

  1. Korean Peninsula Crisis Has no Military Solution. How Can It Be Solved?
    Demilitarization of the region based on Russia-China "Dual Freeze" proposal  
     36 (35%)
    Restoring multilateral negotiation process without any preliminary conditions  
     27 (26%)
    While the situation benefits Kim Jong-un's and Trump's domestic agenda, there will be no solution  
     22 (21%)
    Armed conflict still cannot be avoided  
     12 (12%)
    Stonger deterrence on behalf of the U.S. through modernization of military infrastructure in the region  
     4 (4%)
    Toughening economic sanctions against North Korea  
     2 (2%)
 
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