EXTENSION of the Agreement on Program of the Military-Technical Cooperation between India and Russia for ten years from 2021 is significantly giving the fact Moscow continues as India’s one of the most dependable and trusted allies in and out of the United Nations. The major takeaway of the summit between PM Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin is that the Russians are convinced about India’s concerns over the two hostile neighbours bent upon changing its international borders. Besides, India’s role in the fast-changing global scenario cannot be overlooked. As per the long-awaited A-203 assault rifles deal worth INR 5,000 crore inked at the inaugural 2+2 summit between New Delhi and Moscow, around 6 lakh AK-203 rifles will be made by a joint venture company Indo-Russia Rifles Private Limited based at Amethi in Uttar Pradesh. Compared to 5.56×45mm bullets used by INSAS being used by India’s security forces over three decades, the AK-203 uses 7.62x39mm bullets making it more lethal. The AK-203 magazine carries 30 bullets against the 20-round capacity of the INSAS rifle. The AK-203 fires 600 bullets per minute rate providing greater accuracy. The latest in the Kalashnikov series, AK -203 is lightweight with an effective range of 300 meters will undoubtedly immensely increase the operational effectiveness of the security forces in counter-insurgency and counter-terrorism operations. During his less than 5-hour visit on December 6, 2021, to the Indian capital, his second foreign trip outside Russia following the outbreak of the Covid -19 Pandemic, Putin, worried about China’s gameplan in Central Asia, and Modi, worried over increasing danger to a diverse society, resolved to work in unison for enhancing the fight against terrorism, calling for an inclusive government in Afghanistan after reviewing bilateral and regional issues. Both sides have made it clear that Afghan territory should not be used for sheltering, training, or planning acts of terrorism. Defying the threat of US sanctions, the two countries started implementing the 2018 S-400 missile deal. ’’ We follow an independent foreign policy and decisions are not taken in light of others” as India’s Foreign Secretary Shringla rightly asserted. India badly needs the S-300 PMU-3 mobile surface-to-air missile system to protect its territorial integrity. The completion of 5 decades of the 1971 Treaty of Peace, Friendship and Cooperation and 2 decades of Declaration on Strategic Partnership are symbolic of the long-standing and time-tested India-Russia relations characterized by mutual trust, respect for each other’s core national interests and similarity of positions on various international and regional issues. There is no denying in the aftermath of the interactions between the policymakers of the two nations, cooperation between the two nations in military, space, energy, power and power sectors will be further accelerated.
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