India, Relations with

India, Relations with
   Upon gaining its independence from Great Britain in 1947, India became the largest member of the Non-Aligned Movement. However, American overtures to its enemy Pakistan during the early years of the Cold War drove the country into a strategic relationship with the Soviet Union. In 1971, the two countries signed the Indo-Soviet Treaty of Peace, Friendship, and Cooperation, paving the way for a fraternal social, economic, and diplomatic partnership that continued for two decades. After the dissolution of the Soviet Union, India strove to improve its relations with the West, including the United States; however, its possession of nuclear weapons and status as a nonsignatory of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty hampered its relations with Washington during the administrations of George H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton. Due to these complications, Russia remained a key partner in developing India’s nuclear energy program and an important supplier of the country’s military technology (although India has expanded its diplomatic contacts, adding Israel to its list of arms suppliers). During the latter years of Boris Yeltsin’s presidency, Yevgeny Primakov attempted to create a Russia-China-India counterweight to American hegemony, but the simmering Sino-Indian rivalry and disputes over Kashmir prevented the realization of any such plans.
   Vladimir Putin made several visits to India during his presidency, typically focusing on practical matters such as foreign trade, energy, counterterrorism, scientific and space program cooperation, and improving trans-Eurasian transportation links; reflecting his focus on commercial ties, he often traveled with high-level business delegations. On his first visit in 2000, he signed the Declaration on Strategic Partnership between India and the Russian Federation, reworking the long-standing bilateral relationship for the 21st century. Trade between the two countries is robust, amounting to $3 billion in 2007 and projected to triple by 2010. As a provider of energy, Moscow also features prominently in New Delhi’s long-term economic growth; Indian companies have made important investments in Siberian oil exploration in recent years.
   While Indian-American relations only improved in the wake of September 11, with George W. Bush pushing for a normalization of ties with India despite controversy over nuclear proliferation issues, Russo-Indian ties remained strong and diversified. In 2003, the two navies conducted joint exercises in the Indian Ocean. India, a country with its own secessionist and democratization issues, has never leveled criticism against Russian actions in Chechnya or Moscow’s spotty record on human rights and freedom of the press. Reciprocally, Moscow—unlike Washington—is not constrained by the demands of maintaining a cordial relationship with Pakistan. In 2008, Dmitry Medvyedev met with Prime Minister Manmohan Singh at the first Brazil, Russia, India, and China (BRIC) summit in Hokkaido, Japan, and made plans for a visit to India later that year.

Historical Dictionary of the Russian Federation. . 2010.

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