Highlights of the Indian PM’s Two-Day Visit to Russia


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What’s in today’s article?

  • Why in News?
  • Highlights of the Indian PM’s Two-Day Visit to Russia
  • A Joint Vision Statement on Trade and Economic Cooperation
  • Conclusion of the Indian PM’s Two-Day Visit to Russia

Why in News?

  • The Indian PM departed for Austria after concluding a two-day high-profile visit to Russia, where he attended the 22nd India-Russia annual summit with President Vladimir Putin.

Highlights of the Indian PM’s Two-Day Visit to Russia:

  • Receives highest civilian honour: The Indian PM was conferred with Russia’s highest civilian honour - Order of St Andrew the Apostle - by the Russian President (announced in 2019, but presented now).
  • Bilateral talks - A meeting of two close friends and trusted partners:
    • It was held to review ties between the two nations, including in areas like defence, investment, energy cooperation, education and culture.
    • During the meeting, the Indian PM told the Russian President that a solution to the Ukraine conflict is not possible on the battlefield and peace talks do not succeed amidst bombs, guns and bullets.
    • The Russian President accepted a direct request from the Indian PM to expedite the discharge of all Indians who have been recruited by the Russian military, many of whom are now at the war front.
  • Interactions with Indian community in Moscow:
    • The Indian PM shared his thoughts on India’s rising global profile and its perception as a ‘Vishwa Bandhu’.
    • During the address,
      • He applauded the Indian community for their contribution in taking India - Russia relations to new heights.
      • He announced the opening of Indian Consulates in Kazan and Yekaterinburg.
  • Other highlights: At the Rosatom Pavilion, the Indian PM saw the "Atomic Symphony" - a model of the VVER-1000 reactor used in India’s Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.

A Joint Vision Statement on Trade and Economic Cooperation:

  • A shift from previous Summits: The focus on economic issues was a shift from previous Annual Summits where military supplies and the defence and strategic partnership between the two countries had been at the top of the agenda.
  • 9 issues that need to be resolved by 2030: It includes -
    • The elimination of non-tariff barriers,
    • The development of a bilateral settlement system using national currencies,
    • Ironing out customs procedures and using new connectivity routes, including -
      • The Chennai-Vladivostok maritime route,
      • The Northern Sea Route and
      • The International North–South Transport Corridor via Iran.
    • Investments in the energy sector including nuclear energy,
    • Infrastructure development and
    • Investment promotion as priority areas.
  • India and Russia signed a number of MoUs between institutions on climate change, polar research, legal arbitration, pharmaceutical certification, etc.
  • Ambitious bilateral trade target:
    • India and Russia agreed to increase bilateral trade to $100 billion dollars by 2030, including the use of national currencies to circumvent Western sanctions.
    • The bilateral trade reached an all-time high of $65.70 billion in FY 2023-24, mostly because of the surge in India’s imports of Russian crude.
    • Achieving the target would take the business relationship to levels of trade India currently has only with bigger economies like the U.S., China and the EU.

Conclusion of the Indian PM’s Two-Day Visit to Russia:

  • Invited to the first “Extended BRICS” summit:
    • The Russian leader invited the Indian PM to return to the city of Kazan where he will host the first Extended BRICS summit (in October 2024).
    • This will include five new members to the Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa grouping of emerging economies.
  • The Indian PM departs for Austria:
    • This visit to Vienna will be the first visit by an Indian PM in over four decades. In 1983, Indira Gandhi was the last PM to visit the country.
    • The one-day official visit comes as both countries mark 75 years of their diplomatic relationship.

Q.1. What is the VVER-1000 reactor?

The VVER-1000 is a 3000 MW thermal power nuclear power plant (NPP) which is cooled and moderated by light water. The Kudankulam NPP is scheduled to have six VVER-1000 reactors built in collaboration with the Russian Atomstroyexport and the NPCIL.

Q.2. What is the extended BRICS organisation?

After 13 years without expansion, at its 15th summit held in Johannesburg on 22-24 August 2023, BRICS welcomed four new members into its ranks – Egypt, Ethiopia, Iran and the United Arab Emirates – and is now informally called BRICS+.