Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold the 21st annual India-Russia summit in New Delhi on Monday. Putin is expected to arrive in Delhi on Monday afternoon and hold talks with Modi on ways to boost strategic ties between the two nations at the Hyderabad House. He will emplane from Delhi after dinner at 9:30 am.
This is the first in-person meeting of the two premiers since 2019 when they met on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in Brasilia.
Last week, the Russian President has said he would discuss new "large-scale" initiatives with PM Modi. "This partnership brings real mutual benefit to both states. Bilateral trade shows good dynamics; ties are actively developing in the energy sector, innovation, space, and the production of coronavirus vaccines and medicines," the Russian President had said about India-Russia relations last Wednesday.
2+2 format dialogue
India and Russia will hold the first 2+2 format dialogue in the capital at the level of defence and foreign ministers.
Under the framework of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu.
Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will meet Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov. Later all four ministers will hold the '2+2' dialogue.
Modi and Putin will review the bilateral relations of the two countries and discuss ways to strengthen strategic ties. The two nations are expected to sign several bilateral agreements as well.
According to the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi, the 2+ 2 dialogue will focus on "political and defence issues of mutual interest".
The ministers are likely to hold detailed discussions on the developments in Afghanistan, Syria and the Asia-Pacific region and the rising threat of terrorism from groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed, media reports said.
The ministers are expected to renew a framework for military-technical cooperation for the next decade at the summit and announce a joint commission on technology and science.
India has recently approved the AK 203 Kalashnikov rifles deal which will start production of over 5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles at Amethi under an Indo-Russian joint venture worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore. The deal would see a complete transfer of technology within seven years of signing the contract.
Apart from this, the two sides are also likely to finalise a number of defence procurement proposals and discuss the long-pending project for joint production of 200 twin-engine Kamov-226T light helicopters.
According to ANI, Putin is scheduled to hand over the model of an S-400 air defence system to Modi during the meeting. The two countries are also likely to exchange views on the IGLA air defence system deal even though they are unlikely to sign a deal during this visit, ANI reported.
India and Russia could instead seal the deal on the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS) that will give the militaries of the two nations access to logistics and support facilities from each other's bases.
"What's clear for today is that one of the outcomes would be a sizeable and formidable joint political statement," Russian Ambassador to India Nikolay Kudashev said.
"It would be a very comprehensive paper, a comprehensive document covering all dimensions of our ties beginning with global issues and the UN revived commitment to itself to its central position in the modern world. Then would come regional issues, Afghanistan included," he said.
Although the US has expressed "concern" over the recent delivery of Russia's S-400 Triumf surface-to-air missile systems to India, it may turn a blind eye to the deals during Putin visit for now, says reports. This is because the US is relying on Indian support in the Asia-Pacific region. The US had imposed sanctions after a similar purchase by NATO ally Turkey.
India, the US, Japan and Australia are part of the Quad group which is shaping up as a bulwark against China’s influence in the Indo-Pacific region.
Putin's visit comes on the heels of President Joe Biden's virtual Summit for Democracy schedule on December 9-10 where the US is likely to further enhance ties with India.