St Petersburg, June 1 : Marking 70 years of diplomatic ties, India and Russia on Thursday signed the St Petersburg Declaration – an action plan for deepening not only political and economic development of the two countries but also to ensure a benchmark of stability in times of global instability.
The Declaration was signed following the annual bilateral summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin.
Stating that the economies of India and Russia complement each other in the energy sector, it said that they would “strive to build an ‘Energy Bridge’ between our states and expand bilateral relations in all areas of energy cooperation, including nuclear, hydrocarbon, hydel and renewable energy sources and in improving energy efficiency”.
It said both countries have noted that wider use of natural gas, an economically efficient and environmentally friendly fuel, which has become an integral part of the global energy market, was highly significant for reducing greenhouse gas emissions.
“Cooperation in the peaceful uses of nuclear energy has emerged as one of the hallmarks of the strategic partnership between the two countries, contributing to India’s energy security and energizing broader scientific and technological cooperation,” said the declaration.
“With concerted efforts on both sides, there has been a series of steady and demonstrable achievements in our civil nuclear partnership, including advancing nuclear power projects at the Kudankulam site and transforming it into one of India’s largest energy hubs. We welcome the conclusion of the General Framework Agreement and Credit Protocol for Units 5 and 6 of the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant.”
According to the Declaration, the growing nuclear power partnership between India and Russia has opened opportunities for developing advanced nuclear manufacturing capabilities in India in line with its ‘Make in India’ initiative.
It also stated that both countries were interested in launching joint projects on exploration and exploitation of hydrocarbons in the Arctic shelf of Russia.
The Declaration sets major economic objectives including expanding trade and investment and diversification of trade in goods and services, in particular increasing the share of high-technology products, fostering industrial cooperation, improving environment for entrepreneurship and investments and developing cooperation in banking and financial matters.
On connectivity, it said this must be strengthened based on dialogue and consent of all parties concerned with due respect to sovereignty, while reiterating their commitment to build effective infrastructure for the International North South Transport Corridor and implementation of the Green Corridor.
It said given Russia’s strength in shipbuilding, river navigation and desalination technologies, both countries would work together to develop joint projects through transfer of technology and experience sharing for developing inland waterways, river embankments, ports and cargo containers towards effective utilisation of India’s extensive river systems.
They also would work on development of high speed railways, dedicated freight corridors, and application of newer technologies for efficient rail transport.
On defence cooperation, it said both countries upgrade and intensify this cooperation, “through joint manufacture, co-production and co-development of military hardware and military spares, with increasing reliance on the adoption and sharing of future technologies, in compliance with the obligations of the sides under the existing agreements on military-technical cooperation”.
Regarding the new world order, the Declaration said both India and Russia “regard the establishment of the multi-polar global order in international relations as a reflection of natural and inevitable process of evolution of interstate relations in the 21st century”.
Thus, they would enhance collaboration to democratize the system of international relations based on the principles of the rule of law and the central role of the United Nations.
Russia reaffirmed its support for India’s bid for permanent membership in the UN Security Council and the Nuclear Suppliers Group.
Both countries strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and stressed “that there can be no justification whatsoever for any acts of terrorism, whether based upon ideological, religious, political, racial, ethnic or any other reasons”.
They urged all countries and entities to “work sincerely to disrupt terrorist networks and their financing, and stop cross-border movement of terrorists” and called for “early conclusion of negotiations on the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism to strengthen the global counter-terrorism normative and legal framework to combat this scourge”.