Russia is yet to give clearance to hypersonic technology and India found that Russian specifications do not meet Indian requirements. Additional areas being considered for collaboration include stealth technologies for aircraft, aerodynamic technologies such as creation of plasma wing tunnel facility for air vehicle applications and development and testing of submerged air intake models for unmanned aerial aircraft.
With heavy emphasis on military cooperation, disappointingly there has been no breakthrough in natural gas and oil cooperation where both nations are anxious to partner. India is eager to get a larger portion of the Russia’s huge energy reserves and Moscow is anxious to get a good chunk of New Delhi’s energy import bill and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh observed that there is a “clear compatibility in India’s demands and Russia’s resources.” Even so, hectic lobbying based on finances, politics, international relations, and other leverages, India’s largest oil company, state owned Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) has managed only a 20% stake in Sakhalin-I field to net 2.4 million tons of crude a year.
Bilateral trade has all but collapsed and stays rooted in military maintenance contract or an odd sale of military equipment and is nowhere near the Cold War high figures nor has the trade list diversified. With India looking more the West for arms to diversify its portfolio, the existing military relationship is also set to collapse.
A major stumbling block for Indian businesses seeking to do business in Russia
is the lack of understanding of Russian business culture and ethics. Still
another block is the lack of
land based access or alternate shipping routes to Russia and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) has already proposed numerous changes to the government to stimulate bilateral trade.
Putin has his work cut-out. He has to convince his Indian interlocutors that the Sukhoi jets are better bet to meet the 126 fighter jet request for proposal that India intends to float—with the BrahMos missile being targeted for fitment in the Sukhoi, the plane has a very good chance of acceptance. He will also pitch strongly for nuclear cooperation with India on the back of the Indo-US Civilian nuclear deal to include nuclear reactors and fuel supplies.