Saturday, December 9, 2023

Major milestones expected during Putin’s India visit

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Russian President Vladimir Putin is scheduled to arrive in the national capital here on Monday for the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit. This will be the first face-to-face meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after their meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in November 2019.

Here are some key points:

1. During the summit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will review the state and prospects of bilateral relations between India and Russia and will discuss ways to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries.

2. India and Russia are expected to ink more than 10 bilateral agreements including issues like connectivity, shipping, space, military-technical cooperation, science and technology, education, and culture.

3. In a major boost to India and Russia military ties, the two countries are scheduled to ink the deal on supplying 7.5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles. Days ahead of the summit, the Centre approved the manufacture of AK-203 rifles at a factory in Uttar Pradesh under the joint venture Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited to boost the self-reliance in India’s defence manufacturing.

4. The bilateral focus is expected to be on the delivery of the S-400 missile defence systems and other defence agreements. India had signed a USD 5.43-billion contract with Russia for the purchase of five S-400 surface to air missile systems during the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit in New Delhi in October 2019, for long-term security needs.

5. The COVID situation and cooperation in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic will also be discussed during the meeting between Putin and PM Modi, which is happening in physical format after two years.

6. The two sides are also expected to discuss in detail regional security concerns including Afghanistan, and the fallout of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which is a common concern for both India and Russia. India has time and again expressed its concern over the use of Afghan soil for terrorism mainly by Pakistan-backed elements.

7. Simultaneously, India and Russia will also hold a 2+2 format dialogue that will see a meeting between the External Affairs and Defence ministers of both countries. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergey Shoigu will participate in the first 2+2 dialogue between the countries. The agenda for the 2+2 dialogue will cover “political and defence issues of mutual interest.”

8. The ministers are expected to hold in-depth discussions of the key regional and international topics, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and developments in Afghanistan and Syria, as well as exchange views on interaction within the SCO and Russia, India and China (RIC).

9. Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudeshev said that Putin’s visit to Delhi would result in pragmatic economic outcomes, and will provide impetus to the bilateral relationship of Moscow and New Delhi, covering all spheres of the relationship between the two countries.

10. The Russian envoy said there will also be a “formidable joint political document” after the summit covering all spheres of the relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Modi and President Putin will hold a one-on-meeting before the summit. A dinner will also be hosted for the Russian leader. 

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