NEW DELHI -- The short-but-fruitful visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to India last month has resulted in a rich economic and diplomatic haul for the two countries. Moscow and New Delhi signed a raft of deals -- predominantly in defense (to the tune of $4 billion) and civil nuclear cooperation -- in hopes of boosting annual bilateral trade from the current $7.5 billion to $20 billion by 2015.
The agreements will facilitate the construction of 16 Russian-designed nuclear reactors in India, and lead to greater cooperation in the fields of gas, oil and hydrocarbons. India will also work with Russia to develop and manufacture fifth-generation fighter aircraft, augmenting India's aircraft-building capacity. A Russian-built nuclear attack submarine is also in the works.
Apart from the obvious commercial gains accruing to both parties from this bilateral engagement, Putin's visit -- his fifth since 2000 -- is also being seen as an attempt to resuscitate an old friendship. The relationship had drifted in the 90s, as both Moscow and New Delhi recalibrated their policies to changing geopolitical equations in the post-Cold War global order.