Know India’s foreign policy – Part IX

Russia and Central Asia

Atal Bihari Vajpayee with Russian president Vladimir Putin in 2001.

The dissolution of the Soviet Union and the emergence of the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS) had major repercussions for Indian foreign policy. Substantial trade with the former Soviet Union plummeted after the Soviet collapse and has yet to recover. Longstanding military supply relationships were similarly disrupted due to questions over financing, although Russia continues to be India’s largest supplier of military systems and spare parts.

The relationship with USSR was tested (and proven) during the 1971 war with Pakistan, which led to the subsequent liberation of Bangladesh. Soon after the victory of the Indian Armed Forces, one of the foreign delegates to visit India was Admiral S.G. Gorshkov, Chief of the Soviet Navy. During his visit to Mumbai (Bombay) he came on board INS Vikrant. During a conversation with Vice Admiral Swaraj Prakash, Gorshkov asked the Vice Admiral, “Were you worried about a battle against the American carrier?” He answered himself: “Well, you had no reason to be worried, as I had a Soviet nuclear submarine trailing the American task force all the way into the Indian Ocean.”[352]

Russian Federation

RussiaIndia

Indian PM Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin. India and Russia enjoy strong strategic and military relations.

India’s ties with the Russian Federation are time-tested and based on continuity, trust and mutual understanding. There is national consensus in both the countries on the need to preserve and strengthen India-Russia relations and further consolidate the strategic partnership between the two countries. A Declaration on Strategic Partnership was signed between present Russian President Vladimir Putin and former Indian Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee in October 2000.

Joint Indo-Russian BrahMosnuclear cruise missile, has a top speed of Mach 2.8, making it the one of the fastest supersoniccruise missile.

Russia and India have decided not to renew the 1971 Indo-Soviet Peace and Friendship Treaty and have sought to follow what both describe as a more pragmatic, less ideological relationship. Russian President Yeltsin’s visit to India in January 1993 helped cement this new relationship. Ties have grown stronger with President Vladimir Putin’s 2004 visit. The pace of high-level visits has since increased, as has discussion of major defence purchases. Russia, is working for the development of theKoodankulam Nuclear Power Plant, that will be capable of producing 1000 MW of electricity. Gazprom, is working for the development of oil and natural gas, in the Bay of Bengal. India and Russia, have collaborated extensively, on space technology. Other areas of collaboration include software, ayurveda, etc. India and Russia, have set a determination in increasing trade to $10 billion. Cooperation between clothing manufacturers of the two countries continues to strengthen. India and Russia signed an agreement on joint efforts to increase investment and trade volumes in the textile industry in both countries. In signing the document included representatives of the Russian Union of Entrepreneurs of Textile and Light Industry Council and apparel exports of India (AEPC). A cooperation agreement provides, inter alia, exchange of technology and know-how in textile production. For this purpose, a special Commission on Affairs textile (Textile Communication Committee). Counter-terrorism techniques are also in place between Russia and India. In 2007 President Vladimir Putin was guest of honour at Republic Day celebration on 26 January 2007. 2008, has been declared by both countries as the Russia-India Friendship Year. Bollywood films are quite popular in Russia. The Indian public sector oil company ONGCbought Imperial Energy in 2008. In December 2008, during President Medvedev’s visit, to New Delhi, India and Russia, signed a nuclear energy co-operation agreement. In March, 2010, Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin signed an additional 19 pacts with India which included civilian nuclear energy, space and military co-operation and the final sale of Admiral Gorshkov (Aircraft Carrier) along with MiG-29K fighter jets.

During the 2014 Crimean crisis India refused to support American sanctions against Russia and one of India’s national security advisers Shivshankar Menon was reported to have said “There are legitimate Russian and other interests involved and we hope they are discussed and resolved.”[353]

From 7 August 2014 India and Russia will hold a joint counter-terrorism exercise near Moscow boundary with China and Mongolia. It will involve the use of tanks and armored vehicles.[354]

India and Russia have so far conducted three rounds of INDRA exercises. The first exercise was carried out in 2005 in Rajasthan, followed by Prshkov in Russia. The third exercise was conducted at Chaubattia in Kumaon hills in October 2010.[354][355]

Kazakhstan

KazakhstanIndia

India is working towards developing strong relations with this resource rich Central Asian country. The Indian oil company, Oil and Natural Gas Corporation, has got oil exploration and petroleum development grants in Kazakhstan. The two countries are collaborating in petrochemicals, information technology, and space technology. Kazakhstan has offered India five blocks for oil and gas exploration. India and Kazakhstan, are to set up joint projects in construction, minerals and metallurgy. India also signed four other pacts, including an extradition treaty, in the presence of President Prathibha Patil and her Kazakh counterpart Nursultan Nazarbayev. Kazakhstan will provideuranium and related products under the MoU between Nuclear Power Corp. of India and KazatomProm. These MoU also opens possibilities of joint exploration of uranium in Kazakhstan, which has the worlds’ second largest reserves, and India building atomic power plants in the Central Asian country.

Mongolia

MongoliaIndia

The relations between India and Mongolia are still at a nascent stage and Indo-Mongolian cooperation is limited to diplomatic visits, provision of soft loans and financial aid and the collaborations in the IT sector.

India established diplomatic relations in December 1955. India was the first country outside the Soviet bloc to establish diplomatic relations with Mongolia. Since then, there have been treaties of mutual friendship and cooperation between the two countries in 1973, 1994, 2001 and 2004.

Tajikistan

TajikistanIndia

Diplomatic relations were established India and Tajikistan following Tajikistan’s independence from the 1991 dissolution of the Soviet Union, which had been friendly with India. Tajikistan occupies a strategically important position in Central Asia, bordering Afghanistan, the People’s Republic of China and separated by a small strip of Afghan territory from Pakistan. India’s role in fighting the Taliban and Al-Qaeda and its strategic rivalry with both China and Pakistan have made its ties with Tajikistan important to its strategic and security policies. Despite their common efforts, bilateral trade has been comparatively low, valued at USD 12.09 million in 2005; India’s exports to Tajikistan were valued at USD 6.2 million and its imports at USD 5.89 million. India’s military presence and activities have been significant, beginning with India’s extensive support to the anti-Taliban Afghan Northern Alliance (ANA). India began renovating the Farkhor Air Base and stationed aircraft of the Indian Air Force there. The Farkhor Air Basebecame fully operational in 2006, and 12 MiG-29 bombers and trainer aircraft are planned to be stationed there.

Uzbekistan

UzbekistanIndia

India has an embassy in Tashkent. Uzbekistan has an embassy in New Delhi. Uzbekistan has had a great impact on Indian culture mostly due to the Mughal Empire which was founded by Babur of Ferghana (in present-day Uzbekistan) who created his empire southward first in Afghanistan and then in India.

Africa

Indian PM Manmohan Singh with Brazilian President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva and South African President Thabo Mbeki.

As of year 2011, India’s total trade with Africa is over US$46 billion and total investment is over US$11 billion with US$5.7 billion line of credit for executing various projects in Africa.[356]

India has had good relationships with most sub-Saharan African nations for most of its history. In the Prime Minister’s visit to Mauritius in 1997, the two countries secured a deal to a new Credit Agreement of INR 105 million (US$3 million) to finance import by Mauritius of capital goods, consultancy services and consumer durable from India. The government of India secured a rice and medicine agreement with the people of Seychelles. India continued to build upon its historically close relations with Ethiopia, Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Visits from political ministers from Ethiopia provided opportunities for strengthening bilateral cooperation between the two countries in the fields of education and technical training, water resources management and development of small industries. This has allowed India to gain benefits from nations that are generally forgotten by other Western Nations. The South African President, Thabo Mbeki has called for a strategic relationship between India and South Africa to avoid imposition by Western Nations. India continued to build upon its close and friendly relations with Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Swaziland, Zambia and Zimbabwe. The Minister of Foreign Affairs arranged for the sending of Special Envoys to each of these countries during 1996–97 as a reaffirmation of India’s assurance to strengthening cooperation with these countries in a spirit of South-South partnership. These relations have created a position of strength with African nations that other nations may not possess.[357]

Ethiopia

EthiopiaIndia

India and Ethiopia have warm bilateral ties based on mutual cooperation and support. India has been a partner in Ethiopia’s developmental efforts, training Ethiopian personnel under itsITEC programmer, providing it with several lines of credit and launching thePan-African e-Network Project there in 2007. The Second India-Africa Forum Summit was held in Addis Ababa in 2011. India is also Ethiopia’s second largest source of Foreign Direct Investments.

Ghana

GhanaIndia

Relations between Ghana and India are generally close and cordial mixed with economic and cultural connections. Trade between India and Ghana amounted to US$818 million in 2010-11 and is expected to be worth US$1 billion by 2013.[358] Ghana imports automobiles and buses from India and companies like Tata Motors and Ashok Leylandhave a significant presence in the country.[359][360] Ghanaian exports to India consist of goldcocoa and timber while Indian exports to Ghana comprisepharmaceuticals, agricultural machinery, electrical equipment, plastics, steel and cement.[361]

The Government of India has extended $228 million in lines of credit to Ghana which has been used for projects in sectors like agro-processing, fish processing, waste management, rural electrification and the expansion of Ghana’s railways.[362] India has also offered to set up an India-Africa Institute of Information Technology (IAIIT) and a Food Processing Business Incubation Centre in Ghana under the India-Africa Forum Summit.[361]

India is among the largest foreign investors in Ghana’s economy. At the end of 2011, Indian investments in Ghana amounted to $550 million covering some 548 projects.[362] Indian investments are primarily in the agriculture and manufacturing sectors of Ghana while Ghanaian companies manufacture drugs in collaboration with Indian companies. The IT sector in Ghana too has a significant Indian presence in it. India and Ghana also have a Bilateral Investment Protection Agreement between them.[363] India’sRashtriya Chemicals and Fertilisers is in the process of setting up a fertiliser plant in Ghana at Nyankrom in theShama District of the Western Region of Ghana. The project entails an investment of US$1.3 billion and the plant would have an annual production capacity of 1.1 million tonnes, the bulk of which would be exported to India.[364][365] There are also plans to develop a sugar processing plant entailing an investment of US$36 million.[366] Bank of BarodaBharti Airtel,Tata Motors and Tech Mahindra are amongst the major Indian companies in Ghana.[367]

There are about seven to eight thousand Indians and Persons of Indian Originliving in Ghana today with some of them having been there for over 70 years.[361]Ghana is home to a growing indigenous Hindu population that today numbers 3000 families. Hinduism first came to Ghana only in the late 1940s with theSindhi traders who migrated here following India’s Partition. It has been growing in Ghana and neighbouring Togo since the mid-1970s when an African Hindu monastery was established in Accra.[368][369]

Ivory Coast

Ivory CoastIndia

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of Ivory Coast have expanded considerably in recent years as India seeks to develop an extensive commercial and strategic partnership in the West African region. The Indian diplomatic mission in Abidjanwas opened in 1979. Ivory Coast opened its resident mission in New Delhi in September 2004.[370] Both nations are currently fostering efforts to increase trade, investments and economic cooperation.[371]

Kenya

KenyaIndia

As littoral states of the Indian Ocean, trade links and commercial ties between India and Kenya go back several centuries. Kenya has a large minority of Indians and Persons of Indian Originliving there who are descendants of labourers who were brought in by the British to construct the Uganda Railwayand Gujarati merchants.[372] India and Kenya have growing trade and commercial ties. Bilateral trade amounted to $2.4 billion in 2010–2011 but with Kenyan imports from India accounting for $2.3 billion, the balance of trade was heavily in India’s favour. India is Kenya’s sixth largest trading partner and the largest exporter to Kenya. Indian exports to Kenya includepharmaceuticalssteel, machinery andautomobiles while Kenyan exports to India are largely primary commodities such as soda ash, vegetables and tea. Indian companies have a significant presence in Kenya with Indian corporates like the Tata GroupEssar,Reliance Industries and Bharti Airteloperating there.

Liberia

LiberiaIndia

The bilateral relations between the Republic of India and the Republic of Liberia have expanded on growing bilateral trade and strategic cooperation. India is represented in Liberia through its embassy in Abidjan (Ivory Coast) and an active honorary consulate inMonrovia since 1984. Liberia was represented in India through its resident mission in New Delhi which subsequently closed due to budgetary constraints.[373]

Mauritius

IndiaMauritius

The relations between India and Mauritius existed since 1730, diplomatic relations were established in 1948, before Mauritius became an independent state.[374] The relationship is very cordial due to cultural affinities and long historical ties that exist between the two nations. More than 68% of the Mauritian population are of Indianorigin, most commonly known as Indo-Mauritian. Economic and commercial corporation has been increasing over the years. India has become Mauritius’ largest source of imports since 2007 and Mauritius imported US$816 million worth of goods in the April 2010-March 2011 financial year. Mauritius has remained the largest source of FDI for India for more than a decade with FDI equity inflows totalling US$55.2 billion in the period April 2000 to April 2011. India and Mauritius cooperate in combating piracy which has emerged as a major threat in the Indian Ocean region and support India’s stand against terrorism.[375]

The relationship between Mauritius and India date back in the early 1730s, when artisans were brought from Puducherryand Tamil Nadu.[374] Diplomatic relations between India and Mauritius were established in 1948. Mauritius maintained contacts with India through successive Dutch, French and British occupation. From the 1820s, Indian workers started coming into Mauritius to work on sugar plantations. From 1834 when slavery was abolished by the British Parliament, large numbers of Indian workers began to be brought into Mauritius as indentured labourers. On 2 November 1834 the ship named ‘Atlas’ docked in Mauritius carrying the first batch of Indian indentured labourers.

Morocco

IndiaMorocco

Morocco has an embassy in New Delhi. It also has an Honorary Consul based inMumbai. India operates an embassy inRabat. Both nations are part of the Non-Aligned Movement.[376]

In the United Nations, India supported the decolonisation of Morocco and the Moroccan freedom movement. India recognised Morocco on 20 June 1956 and established relations in 1957.[377]The Ministry of External Affairs of theGovernment of India states that “India and Morocco have enjoyed cordial and friendly relations and over the years bilateral relations have witnessed significant depth and growth.”[378]

The Indian Council for Cultural Relationspromotes indian culture in Morocco.[379]Morocco seeks to increase its trade ties with India and is seeking Indian investment in various sectors[380] The bilateral relations between India and Morocco strengthened after the Moroccan Ambassador to India spent nearly a week in Srinagar, the capital city of Jammu & Kashmir. This showed Moroccan solidarity with India in regard to Kashmir.[380]

Namibia

IndiaNamibia

Relations between India and Namibia are warm and cordial.[381]

India was one of SWAPO‘s earliest supporters during the Namibian liberation movement. The first SWAPO embassy was established in India in 1986. India’s observer mission was converted to a full High Commission on Namibia’s independence day of 21 March 1990.[381] India has helped train the Namibian Air Force since its creation in 1995. The two countries work closely in mutual multilateral organisations such as the United NationsNon-Aligned Movement and the Commonwealth of Nations. Namibia supports expansion of the United Nations Security Council to include a permanent seat for India.[381]

In 2008–09, trade between the two countries stood at approximately US$80 million. Namibia’s main imports from India were drugs and pharmaceuticals, chemicals, agricultural machinery, automobile and automobile parts, glass and glassware, plastic and linoleum products. India primarily imported nonferrous metals, ores and metal scarps. Indian products are also exported to neighboring South Africa and re-imported to Namibia as South African imports. Namibian diamonds are often exported to European diamond markets before being again imported to India. In 2009, the first direct sale of Namibian diamonds to India took place.[381] In 2008, two Indian companies won a US$105 million contract from NamPower to lay a high-voltage direct current bi-polar line fromKatima Mulilo to Otjiwarongo.[381]Namibia is a beneficiary of the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme for telecommunications professionals from developing countries.[382]

India has a high commissioner inWindhoek[383] and Namibia has a high commissioner in New Delhi. Namibia’s high commissioner is also accredited for Bangladesh, the Maldives and Sri Lanka.[384]

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s