Modi, Putin to meet amidst growing proximity between Russia, China

His last visit to Russia was in 2019 when he attended an economic conclave in the Far East city of Vladivostok.
PM Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin
PM Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin (File photo | AP)

NEW DELHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will take part in the 22nd India-Russia Summit in Moscow on July 9th.

This is PM Modi’s first visit to Moscow (in five years) since the conflict began between Russia and Ukraine on February 24th, 2022. The two leaders last met each other in person in Vladivostok, in 2019 and then and then in Uzbekistan in 2022 during the SCO Summit.

PM Modi was received at the airport by Deputy PM Denis Manturov and later in the evening, President Putin will be hosting him for dinner.

“I look forward to reviewing all aspects of bilateral cooperation with my friend Vladimir Putin and sharing perspectives on various regional and global issues. We seek to play a supportive role in a peaceful and stable region. This visit will also provide me with an opportunity to meet the vibrant Indian community in Russia,” said Prime Minister Narendra Modi, before leaving for Russia on Monday.

PM Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin
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This visit is being viewed as important, as despite the tradition and historic ties India has with Russia, there is a growing proximity between Russia and China. In the recently concluded Shanghai Corporation Organisation (SCO) Summit held in Astana, Kazakhstan, which PM Modi did not attend in person, President Putin described relations with China as ‘the best in history.’

Notwithstanding the proximity between Russia and China, India is doing its bit to fortify its existing partnership. PM Modi reiterated the same before leaving for Russia.

“The special and privileged strategic partnership between India and Russia has advanced over the past ten years including in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment, health, education, culture, tourism and people-to-people exchanges,” Modi added on Monday.

Amongst the announcements likely to be made India is likely to secure a long-term uranium supply deal with Russia for a nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu.

Meanwhile, despite India looking at other markets to purchase military hardware even now nearly one-third of India’s defence imports come from Moscow. This is down from two-thirds it was a few years back, but that is primarily due to Russia's inability to supply spares since the conflict with Ukraine.

However, bilateral energy trade has improved as India increased its imports from Russia as it was getting huge discounts. Russia’s exports to India are valued at $60 billion while India’s exports are around $4 billion.

“Trade imbalance is a matter of priority and will be taken up in our discussions with the Russian side,” Foreign Secretary, Vinay Kwatra said on Friday. India wants to export farm products, technology, pharmaceuticals and services to lower the deficit.

Meanwhile, PM Modi had also travelled to Moscow with former PM Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2001 and he signed a protocol pact for cooperation between his home state of Gujarat and the Russian province of Astrakhan.

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