After visiting China to hold an informal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping a month ago, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has now met with Russian President Vladimir Putin as well. Prime Minister Narendra Modi is visiting Sochi, a Russian city on the coast of Black sea in the Krasnodar Krai province. He was at Bocharev Creek for the informal summit and was received with great hospitality. The two leaders held their first informal summit on May 21st with an aim to deepen the friendship between India and Russia, and also to exchange views on various international and regional views. The two leaders reaffirmed their bond towards each other and recalled how they had first met in 2001. They agreed that Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two nations was very important to maintain regional order.
The one-on-one talks between PM Modi and President Putin focused on various global issues. But, one of the major focus of the discussion was the defence ties between India and Russia. India and Russia have been major defence partners, with Russia being the top exporter of arms to India. The two countries which have signed an agreement in principle for the S-400 Triumf, has been suffering due to the US’s policy decision called CAATSA (Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act). CAATSA, signed by Donald Trump last year, aims to counter the US adversaries through a series of sanctions. The act ensures that any country that engages in large transactions with the adversaries of the US for defence purposes will be under CAATSA scanner. The issue of CAATSA was also raised informal talk between PM Modi and President Putin. It was reported by India Today, that India has assured that it would not allow any third party or a country to influence its relationship with Russia.
The two leaders also held detailed discussions on the growing issue of terrorism. Both of them expressed their concern over increasing radicalisation in South Asia and also said that they would combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. They also agreed that speedy work needs to be done in Afghanistan and that peace in the country would also bring stability in the region. They also assured each other that they would work together in countering terror funding networks and also root out all financial systems that are involved in funding terrorism in the region.
The two leaders agreed that it is important to have a multi-polar world today. In achieving the same, Modi and Putin agreed to work together in various multilateral organisations such as United Nations, G-20, SCO and BRICS. India also tabled discussions on International North South Transport Corridor. They also agreed to institute a Strategic Economic Dialogue between NITI Aayog of India and the Ministry of Economic Development of the Russian Federation. The two leaders also agreed to expand bilateral trade and investment. In this regard, they welcomed the arrival of the first consignment of Liquified Natural Gas, a project between GAIL and Gazprom, a Russian gas company.
Apart from discussing bilateral issues, the two leaders also discussed Syrian conflict, growing threat by ISIS, North Korea and the United States’ pullout from Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. The two leaders also took a boat ride in Putin’s personal yacht in the Black Sea and also reiterated that the informal meet between them was of significance in showing longstanding partnership in trade, investment, defence, security and nuclear energy. They both assured each other that they will take forward the relationship and find areas of convergence to further bolstering the bilateral ties between India and Russia.