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Chronology of Major Events 2009 - Page 4

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Chronology of Major Events 2009
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Strategic profile

1 January: After talks on gas prices for 2009 fell through, Russia’s gas monopoly Gazprom halted deliveries of natural gas supplies to neighbouring Ukraine. 

7 January:  Russia halted all deliveries of natural gas to Europe through Ukraine. Russian gas export monopoly Gazprom accused Kiev of shutting down its transit pipelines.

18 January: Russia and Ukraine agreed on the price of natural gas for Ukraine in 2009 and resolved the three-week standoff between the two countries.

30 January: During a weeklong visit to Russia by Cuban President Raul Castro, Russia and Cuba signed a strategic partnership pact designed to revive the Soviet-era close alliance between the two countries.

17 March:Russian President Dmitry Medvedev announced a “large scale” rearmament and renewal of Russia’s nuclear arsenal, accusing NATO of pushing ahead with expansion near Russian borders.

16 April:Russia ended an anti-terror operation in Chechnya. The operation saw Russian forces defeat separatist rebels who had gained control of the majority Muslim region.

6 June: Russian President Dmitri A Medvedev told an economic forum that wobbly American financial policy had made the dollar an undesirable currency for reserves held by central banks. Russia, along with China and other nations floated the idea of forming a supernational currency to supplant the dollar.

9 June: Russia slammed the door on its 16-year old bid to join the World Trade Organisation saying it will only seek WTO membership as part of a single regional bloc with Kazakhstan and Belarus.

20 June: Making a reference to the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty (START), Russian President Dmitry Medvedev told journalists in Amsterdam that Russia is ready to significantly reduce its nuclear arms.

16 June: On the sidelines of SCO summit in Yekaterinburg, Russia set up a trilateral mechanism with Afghanistan and Pakistan to help resolve the problem of terrorism in the tribal zone.

20 June: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev reaffirmed Russia’s commitment to drastic cuts in nuclear weapons but conditioned it on US scrapping its global missile defence system and plans to put non-nuclear warheads on strategic missiles as well as reconfirming START-1 ban on deploying strategic offensive weapons outside national territory.

6 July: At Moscow, Russian President Dmitry Medvedev and US President Barack Obama struck a preliminary deal to reduce their nations’ stockpiles of nuclear warheads to as few as 1,500 each, aiming toward the lowest levels of any US-Russia arms control mechanism.

10 July: Russian President Dmitry Medvedev during a press conference at the G-8 summit warned the US that if it did not reach agreement with Russia on plans for missile defence systems, Moscow would deploy rockets in an enclave near Poland.

19 September: Russian deputy defence minister Vladimir Popovkin told Ekho Moskvy radio that Russia will scrap a plan to deploy Iskander short-range missiles in Kaliningrad, Poland. The announcement was the most explicit declaration after US President’s decision to halt Eastern European missile defence plans.

29 November: Russia published its proposal for a new Euro-Atlantic security treaty that would restrict its ability to use military force unilaterally if the US and its European allies agreed to do the same. The document, published on the Kremlin website, reaffirmed the role of the UN Security Council, in which Russia has a veto, as the ultimate arbiter of international conflicts.

22 December: Russia agreed to resume gas imports from Turkmenistan after an eight-month halt over a price dispute. Under a long-term agreement signed during Russian President Dmitry Medvedev’s visit to Turkmenistan, Russian’s Gazprom monopoly agreed to import upto 30 billion cubic metres (bcm) of Turkmen gas.

29 December: Prime Minister Vladimir Putin reiterated that Russia must develop new offensive weapons systems to counter US missile defences and prevent Americans from feeling they can do whatever they want.

Relations with India

11 February: Russian leading nuclear company TVEL and India’s department of atomic energy signed two contracts for supplying uranium for Indian nuclear reactors. The contract was for the long-term supply of 2,000 tonnes of natural uranium pellets for India’s pressurised heavy water reactors.

3 September: During her five day visit to Russia (2-6 September), President Pratibha Patil stated that India shared a ‘unique bilateral relationship’ with Russia founded on civilizational and historical ties and India’s improvement of relations with ‘other countries’ would not be at the expense of ‘tried and tested’ friendship with Russia.

21 September: General Director Tishchenko of the Russian company Phazotron told The Hindu that Russia pledged 100 per cent technology transfer for the MiG-35, including the radar and all its systems.

15 October:At the 9th session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-MTC) in Russia, India and Russia finalised a new 10-year military cooperation pact covering both the ongoing projects and 31 new projects.

21 October: At the 15th session of the Indo-Russian Inter-Governmental Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific, Technological and Cultural Cooperation in Russia, co-chaired by External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna and Russian Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Sobyanin, the two countries decided to boost bilateral trade to $20 billion by 2015.

27 October: At the 9th trilateral meeting offoreign ministers of Russia, India and China (RIC) in Banglore, the three sides took common positions on multilateral financial institutions’ reforms and North Korea, and continued to coordinate their positions on international issues like terrorism, Kosovo and climate change.

27 November: India abstained from a resolution at the IAEA moved by Russia to create an international nuclear fuel bank on its territory so that there is an assurance of fuel supply as a safety measure for all member countries. India maintained that such a distinction is only made by the Non-Proliferation Treaty and cannot be applied to the IAEA, where no such categorization exists. But, despite Indian abstention, the resolution was passed.

7 December:During Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Moscow (6-8 December), India and Russia signed the civil nuclear agreement for expanding unrestricted civil nuclear cooperation. Under the agreement, Russia would set up more nuclear reactors in India, transfer the full range of nuclear energy technologies and ensure uninterrupted supply of fuel.

8 December: ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and Russia’s Sistema signed a memorandum of understanding to scout for oil and gas assets in Russia and other Central Asian Countries.

28 December: Russian Navy inducted the nuclear attack submarine Nerpa for subsequent leasing to the Indian Navy in spring 2010.

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