It seems Russian President Vladimir Putin just found an ally.
On Thursday, Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met in New Delhi to improve the energy, military, and trade alliances between their two nations.
For starters, Russia and India will be exploring a stronger relationship in the energy sector.
The two countries will build at least 10 nuclear power plants in India over the next 20 years, and will have a joint venture in exploring hydroelectric power projects in Asia.
Additionally, Russia's state-owned Rosneft signed a preliminary agreement to supply India with 10 million tons of oil over the next 10 years.
And the most eyebrow-raising move of all is that Russia invited India to "work on projects" in the Arctic.
"Rosneft and Gazprom, our biggest companies, together with their Indian colleagues, are preparing projects for the development of Russian-Arctic shelf [and] the expansion of liquefied gas," Putin said.
Why is this point important, exactly?
In September, Rosneft discovered a huge amount of oil in the Arctic — an amount that's comparable to the resource base of Saudi Arabia.
But there was also a huge problem: Russia doesn't have the ability to drill in cold offshore conditions without Exxon's expertise. But because of the ongoing sanctions, Exxon can't drill there anymore.
And “as Russia’s existing fields in Siberia run dry, the country needs to develop new reserves as it vies with the US to be the world’s largest oil and gas producer,” Bloomberg reported in September. So Russia really needs that oil in the Arctic.
The partnership was also key for Exxon. Since Russia is the company's second-biggest exploration area, this is a critical loss.
Putin and Modi didn't just cover energy agreements. The two countries strengthened their military alliance. The leaders signed a document allowing Indian military to train in Russian military training camps, and Modi said that Russia will remain India's top arms suppler.
While the West is punishing Russia with the ongoing sanctions, India just agreed to double its trading with Russia, up to $20 billion in 2015.
All this is part of Russia's larger strategic plan called "turning to the East," according to Vesti, as the country looks to establish partnerships outside of the eurozone and US.
Over the past few months, Russia has strengthened its relationship with China. Putin and President Xi Jinping signed a 30-year contract for a gas pipeline in May. Additionally, the two nations have started to work toward building a stronger military alliance.
If that weren't enough, Putin announced that he's interested in having closer ties with North Korea.
Given Russia's economic woes, it'll be interesting to see how, exactly, Russia's turning East plays out.
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