Stating that Russia will remain a key foreign policy priority for India, New Delhi on Monday called for joint defence equipment manufacturing between the two countries under the Make in India initiative.
“Russia is and will remain the key important foreign policy priority for India,” Vijay Gokhale, Secretary, Economic Relations, in the Ministry of External Affairs, said while addressing the Second India-Russia Heads of Think-Tanks Forum organised by the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) in New Delhi.
“It would not be out of place to state that this is a strong national consensus,” he said.
Contending that the past relationship between India and Russia should not transmute into a passive present partnership, he cautioned that “there is no room for complacency in our ties” for it “cannot remain isolated from global changes or be immune from their impact”.
Stating that Russia remained a major supplier of India’s defence requirements, Gokhale said that New Delhi appreciated Moscow’s “consistent support through the seven decades of our partnership”.
“At the same time, we believe that this is the opportune time to move from a buyer-seller format to joint production and joint investments under our Prime Minister’s ‘Make in India’ initiative, in order to bring a new dynamism to our military-technical co-operation,” he said.
“We invite Russian defence industry to look at our new policies in this regard and to partner us as India begins a journey to become a defence manufacturer.”
Holding cooperation in the energy sector was now embarking in new directions, Gokhale said that Indian investments in the Vankor and Taas-Yuryakh oilfields in Russia was symbolic of this and cooperation in nuclear energy is a cornerstone of the Strategic Partnership.