Prime Minister Narendra Modi today expressed hope that his talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin would further strengthen the “special and privileged” strategic partnership between India and Russia. In a series of tweets first in Russian and then in English on the eve of his visit to Russia, he said, “Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.” “Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him,” Modi said in another tweet.
The two leaders will primarily focus on pressing global and regional issues, including impact of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, during their informal summit in Russian city of Sochi on Monday. Official sources have said the two leaders will meet for four to six hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited. They said the issues on the table may include economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, situation in Afghanistan and Syria, threat of terrorism, and matters relating to the upcoming Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) and BRICS summits.
The sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defence cooperation might also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin. India is not going to allow its defence engagement with Russia to be dictated by any other country, the sources have said, adding New Delhi has been lobbying with the Trump administration on the issue.
The aim of the informal summit is to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues, the sources said. The two leaders may also deliberate on extending Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation to third countries, possible areas for cooperation for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project, India’s engagement with five-nation Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the situation in the Korean peninsula. The sources said the large part of the informal meeting between Modi and Putin would be one-to-one and there might be limited segment for restricted delegation-level discussions.