Global politics will be high on the agenda of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s coming visit to Russia in the context of shifting power equations in the world, said India’s envoy to Russia.
“The world is witnessing a profound transformation and a shift in the global balance of power,” Ambassador Ajai Malhotra said. “Our relationship serves as an anchor of peace and stability during this transitions phase.”
The international agenda of Dr. Singh’s talks with Russian leaders acquires special relevance in the light of India taking the Chair of BRICS in 2012 and hosting the group’s next summit in late March, Mr. Malhotra stressed speaking to the media ahead of the Russian-Indian summit in Moscow on December 15-17. It will be the 12th bilateral summit since 2000 when the two countries agreed to hold top-level meetings annually.
Noting that India and Russia have “identical, close or common” perspectives on a wide range of international issues, the Indian envoy urged the two countries to step up cooperation on the global stage.
“Global challenges make it imperative that we further intensify our dialogue on issues such as the need to revive the world economy, the situation in West Asia and North Africa, challenges in neighbouring Afghanistan, cooperation within BRICS, as well as new threats posed by climate change and piracy.”
Indo-Russian cooperation can push global changes in the right direction.
“Together India and Russia can help shape global responses,” Mr. Malhotra said. “The changes underway offer an opportunity to bring about an international order that is democratic, inclusive, based on the supremacy of international law and consistent with the objectives and principles contained in the U.N. Charter.”
During his talks with Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, the Prime Minister is expected to discuss bilateral cooperation in defence, space, atomic energy, hydrocarbons, and science and technology, Mr. Malhotra said.
He pointed out that the ongoing protests that have held up the commissioning of the first of two Russian-built nuclear reactors at Kudankulam will not impact on collaboration with Russia in nuclear energy.
“We will fulfil our commitments as regards Indo-Russian cooperation in atomic power energy.”
It is understood that a contract for the construction of two more reactors of the Russian design at Kudankulam has been finalised but may not be signed at the Moscow summit.
“Both sides understand that we need to proceed with due care and caution” in regard of the Kudankulam protests, the Indian envoy said.
The upcoming summit is expected to emphasise opportunities for broader trade and economic links between India and Russia. The two countries hope to double bilateral trade to touch $20 billion by 2015 and diversify their economic cooperation.
“In particular, there are ongoing efforts to strengthen bilateral linkages in sectors such as steel, fertilisers, pharmaceuticals, coal, diamonds, telecommunications, oil and gas, and IT,” Mr. Malhotra said.
The outgoing year has seen an encouraging growth in people-to-people contact between the two countries, with the Indian embassy in Russia issuing 25 percent more tourists, business and conference-linked visas compared with last year, the Indian envoy said. India has liberalised visa rules for Russian visitors since June, and Russia reciprocated the move on December 1.