In a discussion on the bilateral relationship between Russia and India, the Carnegie Moscow Center hosted Nandan Unnikrishnan and Manoj Joshi from the Observer Research Foundation in New Delhi, India. This conversation, which was moderated by Carnegie Center Director Dmitri Trenin and also included Petr Topychkanov, an associate in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s nonproliferation program, covered a variety of topics related to this critical relationship.

Discussion highlights

  • Relationship being taken for granted: The Indo-Russian relationship has been an important and relatively stable one since the Soviet era, when India began to receive weapons and technological assistance from the Soviet Union. Unfortunately, this stability has led some on both sides to take the relationship for granted, turning it into an offhand relationship. If the relationship is to progress and find new areas of cooperation, this reliance on the past must shift to a more active, forward-looking mentality.
  • Areas for Cooperation and “Strategic Partnership”: Russia and India maintain a “strategic partnership,” but strategy is a path to a goal, not a goal in and of itself. Articulating what this strategy is for, is necessary to move the economic partnership between the countries forward. These initiatives need a mandate from the highest levels of both governments in order to succeed. This mandate will give the relationship the drive and focus to shift from one largely centered on military and technical cooperation to one of more geo-strategic cooperation with the rise of Russia, China, and India as three centers of power within the Eurasian region. As the world becomes multipolar, the relationships between these three countries will become more important as key global actors.

Dmitri Trenin 

Dmitri Trenin is director of Carnegie Moscow Center and chair of its Foreign and Security Policy Program.

Nandan Unnikrishnan

Nandan Unnikrishnan is vice president of the Observer Research Foundation (ORF).

Manoj Joshi

Manoj Joshi is the head of the National Security Program at ORF.

Petr Topychkanov

Petr Topychkanov is an associate in the Carnegie Moscow Center’s Nonproliferation Program.