Modi to visit Russian Federation next week

Howard TerryMay 16, 2018

The informal summit is significant given the upcoming USA sanctions not just against Russian Federation under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, but also Iran following President Donald Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear accord with Tehran.

New Delhi- Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia on May 21 for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin in the summer beach resort of Sochi amid USA sanctions against Moscow that might impact Russian military supplies to India, particularly an estimated Rs 40,000-crore deal to buy the sophisticated, long-range S-400 air defence system.

President Putin's invitation will be an important occasion for both leaders to exchange about worldwide issues in a long-term and broad perspective, with the main goal of strengthening even more the special and privileged strategic partnership, the Foreign Ministry stressed in a statement. "Both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters", the MEA statement read.

It would be Prime Minister Modi's second informal summit in as many months as he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jingpin in China's Wuhan in a similar format last month. In April, PM Modi had travelled to Wuhan in China for an informal summit with President Xi Jinping.

Last week, national security adviser Ajit Doval had visited Moscow and held talks with foreign minister Sergei Lavrov. Modi had visited St. Petersburg for the 18th edition of annual bilateral summit in 2017.

Sources said Modi would most likely reassure Putin of India's commitment to consolidate ties with Russian Federation in defence, nuclear energy, trade and other key sectors. Observers have termed the move significant to boost investments in India.

Informal summits are clearly the flavour of the season. "We need to affirm in the face of a hard geopolitical climate that the strategic partnership between India and Russian Federation remains relevant", he told The Wire.

The summit comes at a time when an anti-US containment strategy has resulted in a strengthened Russia-Pakistan military cooperation.

This message had to be conveyed against a backdrop of deteriorating US-Russia relations which has ignited a budding Russia-China alliance. Ever since the Trump administration chose to withdraw from the nuclear deal, alleging that Tehran is not fulfilling its commitments, the worldwide community has been working overtime to salvage the deal. This could affect the S-400 missile defence system deal which is said to be at an advanced stage of negotiations. Russian Federation is the only country - apart from Japan - which has an "annual summit" mechanism with India.

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