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Prospects of Maritime Cooperation between India and Russia in Indian Ocean Region, Arctic and Russian Far East

Capt Anurag Bisen is Research Fellow at Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses
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  • Occasional Paper No. 60

    The India-Russia partnership is longstanding and time-tested, one of steadiest of the major relationships in the world. Although the relations between the two countries have remained exceptionally warm and cordial, their full potential has not been realised. This is despite the fact that India and Russia have a convergence in their worldview, and there is also a political will at the highest level, between Prime Minister Modi and President Putin.

    But of late, there seems to be a sense of disquiet on account of Russia's growing alignment with China, India's principal adversary, and on India's seemingly deepening ties with the US. Russia's unease with India's Indo-Pacific overtures has also been articulated more than once.

    Building stronger ties requires identifying areas of convergence and prioritising them over the divergences. As we have recently completed 75 years of diplomatic relations between the two countries in 2022, there is a need to identify areas of cooperation between India and Russia that can propel the cooperation to another level.

    Indian Ocean and the Arctic and Russian Far East (RFE) hold special significance for India and Russia respectively, where neither poses a strategic threat to the other and yet they provide strategic alternatives to each other. If both countries facilitate greater reciprocal access in their respective areas, not only will there be strong potential for a win-win cooperation between the two nations, the benefits will bring stability and prosperity to a wider region.

    The Occasional Paper identifies potential areas of cooperation between India and Russia in the Indian Ocean Region and the Arctic including the Russian Far East and the Northern Sea Route.

    About the Author

    Capt Anurag Bisen is a serving officer of the Indian Navy with over 34 years of service. As a submariner he commanded a Sindhughosh class missile submarine. Capt Bisen joined the IDSA after a tenure in the National Security Council Secretariat where he worked on maritime issues including maritime boundary and legal issues, Indo-Pacific, Indian Ocean Region, Maritime and Coastal Security and Polar Issues. He was instrumental in drafting and approval of India’s Arctic Policy, released in March, 2022. Capt Anurag Bisen is a graduate of Defence Services Staff College Wellington, holds a Master’s degree in Telecom and a diploma in Russian Language from Arkhangelsk State University Russia. He has also qualified for UGC-NET.

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