Published: Wed, May 16, 2018

Modi to visit Russian Federation on May 21 for informal summit

Modi to visit Russian Federation on May 21 for informal summit

Modi is also said to meet Putin at the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation summit held in Qingdao in the month of June.

The summit, according to sources, was a last minute decision and only came together after an unnanounced visit to Moscow by NSA Ajit Doval and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale. Moscow's increasing closeness with Islamabad might also be raised.

However, there had been a perception among observers that the relationship had been drifting, with India apparently moving closer to the USA administration under Donald Trump.

At the same time, India has become entwined into the fracas between Moscow and Washington with concerns that Indian purchase of S-400 missile defence system would trigger United States sanctions related to CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017).

The two countries signed an agreement in principle for the S-400 deal in 2016. The two leaders might also discuss how their two countries could counter the challenge posed to their defence cooperation by impending USA sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

The sanctions aimed to punish Moscow for its meddling in Ukraine, Syria, the 2016 Presidential elections and, most recently, Russia's alleged involvement in the poisoning of a former intelligence officer in the United Kingdom. At present, the Indian armed forces are 70 per cent equipped with Soviet or Russian weapons.

An External Affairs Ministry release said Modi's visit to Russian Federation will be an important occasion for him and Putin to exchange views on worldwide matters in a broad and long-term perspective in order to further strengthen the special and privileged strategic partnership.

Calling it an important occasion, the Indian ministry's statement said that both leaders would also discuss their respective national priorities and bilateral issues.

In this context, the India-Russia summit "is a very good idea", Raghavan said. The Modi-Putin summit comes amid a great deal of flux in the global order as well as at a time when India-Russia ties are seen as lacking the warmth they used to have - raising speculation that the summit could aim at a possible reset in ties between India and Russia.

Like this: