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PM Modi’s Moscow Visit to Focus on Energy and Trade Amid Strengthening India-Russia Ties

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Warm Welcome and Special Dinner in Moscow

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Moscow on July 8 for a significant visit, marked by a special private dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Dacha in the Moscow suburb of Novo-Ogaryovo. This visit marks the first meeting between the two leaders since 2022 and Mr. Modi’s first visit to Moscow since the onset of the Ukraine war. It is also his first overseas trip for bilateral talks since his re-election in June.

Mr. Modi’s visit will last approximately 26 hours, with events planned closely together. He will receive a ceremonial welcome at Vnukovo Airport, followed by a greeting from school children and Indian community members near his hotel, opposite the iconic Red Square. The private dinner with Mr. Putin is expected to set the tone for the formal talks that will take place the next day.

Strengthening Bilateral Ties

On July 9, Prime Minister Modi will address the Indian community at a reception for about 500 people at his hotel in Moscow. He will then pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial for Russian soldiers who have died in wars. Following this, Mr. Modi and Mr. Putin will visit an exhibition venue for Rosatom to explore nuclear power-related technology developments, a key aspect of India-Russia bilateral relations.

Formal Meetings and Delegation-Level Talks

The formal meetings and delegation-level talks at the Kremlin will focus on several crucial issues. Sources indicate that the talks will address trade and banking challenges due to Western sanctions, possibilities for more predictable pricing and long-term contracts for Indian energy imports in oil and LNG, investment opportunities, and connectivity projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime route, and the North Sea corridor.

Strategic and Defence Discussions

While no new defence procurement deals are expected, Prime Minister Modi will likely request expedited deliveries of delayed orders, including the remaining S-400 missile defence systems and spares for India-Russia joint defence production ventures. The issue of Indian nationals in the Russian Army will also be discussed, with Mr. Modi advocating for their early discharge or full waiver for those wishing to return to India.

Renewed Bilateral Engagement

Indian Ambassador Vinay Kumar emphasized the bilateral context of Mr. Modi’s visit. “Since there have been no annual summits since 2021, it was a priority to resume the bilateral summit mechanism, and both sides have been working towards this,” Mr. Kumar stated. Recovering ground lost over the past three years will be at the top of the agenda for the 22nd Annual Summit, although Foreign and Defence Ministers, National Security Advisors, and Deputy NSAs have been meeting regularly for strategic, trade, military, and technical talks.

Navigating Sanctions and Cooperation

The discussions will also focus on navigating the impact of Western sanctions on Russia and Iran, and their implications for India-Russia projects. Both sides are expected to sign an agreement on cooperation in Russia’s Far East region. President Putin’s recent state visits to China and North Korea, and meetings at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) summit, underline Russia’s efforts to maintain strong ties with global leaders despite Western attempts at isolation.

Conclusion

Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Moscow signifies a renewed commitment to strengthening India-Russia ties, with a robust focus on energy, trade, and strategic cooperation. This significant visit is set to address a multitude of pressing issues, ranging from navigating the challenges posed by Western sanctions to exploring new avenues for economic collaboration. The leaders will discuss possibilities for more predictable pricing and long-term contracts for Indian energy imports, including oil and LNG, which are crucial for India’s growing energy needs. Additionally, investment opportunities and key connectivity projects such as the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime route, and the North Sea corridor will be on the agenda.

Strategic cooperation will also feature prominently in the discussions in Moscow, with an emphasis on expediting delayed deliveries of critical defence equipment, such as the remaining S-400 missile defence systems and spares for joint defence production ventures. The leaders will also address the sensitive issue of Indian nationals serving in the Russian Army, with Mr. Modi advocating for their early discharge or full waiver.

Moreover, the visit to Moscow will explore new opportunities for collaboration in nuclear power technology developments, further cementing the strong bilateral relationship. By addressing these diverse and critical areas, the discussions aim to set a robust framework for future bilateral engagements, ensuring that the India-Russia partnership continues to thrive and adapt to the evolving global landscape. This visit underscores the shared commitment of both nations to not only maintain but also enhance their strategic partnership, fostering mutual growth and stability.

Also read: ASSAM FLOODS: RISING RIVER LEVELS DISPLACE 2.3 LAKH, DEATH TOLL AT 58

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