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PSIR 2B-5.5 India – Russia – Previous Year Questions – Solved

Model Answers to PYQs (2018-2023)

1] Arms trade, economic ties and congruent geo-political interests are no longer the three pillars of India – Russia relationship in the emerging strategic context. Comment. [2023/20m/250w/6a]

The India-Russia relationship has always been that of friendship but with the changing global dynamics, the nature of this friendship has also changed.

India and Russia have a long-standing history of arms trade, with India being a major buyer of Russian defense equipment. While arms trade remains significant, India has also diversified its defense procurement by engaging with other countries, such as the United States, Israel, and France, among others. The dependence on Russia for defense equipment has decreased, which might have affected the centrality of arms trade in the relationship.

Economic cooperation between India and Russia was another cornerstone of their relationship, primarily in sectors like energy, nuclear technology, and pharmaceuticals. However, economic ties have not seen significant growth over the years, and both countries have been looking to expand their trade and investment partnerships with other nations.

Historically, India and Russia shared common interests, especially during the Cold War. While they still cooperate on various geopolitical issues, such as counter-terrorism and multilateral forums like BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), India has also been building partnerships with other major powers like the United States and has its unique strategic priorities, particularly in its Indo-Pacific engagement.

The changing geopolitical landscape, with the rise of China, the repositioning of the United States, and the shifting global balance of power, has led India to recalibrate its strategic engagements.

India’s “multi-alignment” strategy involves engaging with multiple powers, rather than relying on a single ally. This diversification strategy can reduce India’s dependence on Russia and make it less reliant on any one partner.

The India-Russia relationship remains valuable, but it is evolving, and the traditional pillars are likely to be supplemented by new dimensions and priorities. [284 words]

2] “Relations between India and Russia are rooted in history, mutual trust and mutually beneficial cooperation.” Discuss. [2021/20m/250w/8a]

Diplomatic relations between India and Russia began even before Indian independence, when on 13 April 1947, the countries announced their decision to establish official missions in Delhi and Moscow.

A watershed moment in relations between India and the Soviet Union was the signing of the Treaty of Peace and Friendship in August 1971. The Treaty was the manifestation of the shared goals of the two nations as well as a blueprint for the strengthening of regional and global peace and security.

In 2000, during the visit of President Putin to India, the partnership acquired a new qualitative character, that of a Strategic Partnership. It institutionalized annual meetings between the Prime Minister of India and the President of Russia and meetings have been held regularly since then.

During the 2010 visit of President Dmitry Medvedev, the relationship was elevated to the status of a Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership. So far, eighteen Annual India-Russia Summits have been held since 2000. These have led to personal contacts and close understanding at the highest level between our leaders.

The countries have shared interests in the field of energy and oil, defence technology and space exploration. This is also reflected in their active collaborations in these fields be it the development of Bramhos or India’s manned spaceflight program or the purchase of Russian oil amidst the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war.

However, it also needs to be acknowledged that any relationship cannot flourish on defence and historical linkages alone. With systemic changes underway in international relations, new dimensions of cooperation need to be found to build a strong economic and strategic partnership.

Both India and Russia will have to learn to navigate their relationship amidst challenges emerging not just from bilateral factors but also regional and global ones, as both countries seek to strengthen their position at a time of flux in the international order. [309 words]

The post contains answers to the last 6-year papers i.e. (2023-2018). Answers to the previous year questions from 2013-2017 are a part of our book PSIR Optional Model Answers to PYQs (2013-2022)

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