Sochi talks: Modi-Putin meet to focus on US sanctions against Russia

By: | Published: May 16, 2018 12:01 AM

The US sanctions against Moscow that are likely to impact the Russian military supplies to India will be the key topic during informal discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladmir Putin, when they meet in Sochi next week.

Narendra Modi, Narendra Modi russia visit, Vladimir Putin, Ministry of External Affairs, Xi Jingpin, india russia tiesUS decision to pull out of Iran nuclear deal and its impact on India are also expected to be discussed by the leaders.

The US sanctions against Moscow that are likely to impact the Russian military supplies to India will be the key topic during informal discussions between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladmir Putin, when they meet in Sochi next week. Also, the US administration’s recent decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal which was signed between Iran and six world powers (Britain, China, France, Germany, Russia and the US) and its possible impact on India, and other issues of mutual interest, are expected to be discussed by the two leaders.

At the informal meeting on May 21 — to take place in a summer beach resort of Sochi — the focus could also be on an estimated Rs 40,000-crore deal to buy the sophisticated, long-range S-400 Triumf advanced air defence missile system. The two countries signed an agreement in principle for the S-400 deal in 2016.

Russia has been one of India’s key major suppliers of arms and ammunition. According to a recent report of the authoritative Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI), Russia had a 62% share in India’s arms imports during the past five years, down from 79% in 2008-12.

The PM’s visit to Russia at the invitation of Putin comes after national security adviser Ajit Doval and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow last week to discuss a way out of the US sanctions on Russian firms. It comes after the informal summit between Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping in China last month.

According to a release by the ministry of external affairs, Modi’s visit to Russia will be an important occasion for him and Putin to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective. “Both leaders will discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters,” the release said, adding, “The informal summit was in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest level.”

The annual bilateral summit between the two countries is scheduled later this year where the Russian leader is going to be leading a high-level delegation for talks.

The sanctions against Russian oligarchs and companies, including Rosoboronexport, the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, has raised concerns in India about a possible impact on India’s military buys from Moscow. Rosoboronexport has long-standing significant contracts and business ties with India and other countries.

The US sanctions under the ‘Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act’ mandate similar action against those who conduct transactions with the banned Russian oligarchs and defence firms.

Last month at the DefExpo-2018, both defence companies from both sides had inked seven agreements for indigenous manufacture of spare parts for the Russian defence equipment being used by the Indian armed forces.

The ministry of sefence (MoD) had identified 48 items covering all major platforms which can be made in India with the Russian collaboration. The products to get support include helicopters, aircraft and naval systems.

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