Ahead of the 21 May informal summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin at Sochi, India has made it clear that it would not be dictated by any other country on furthering its defence and security ties with Russia.
This assumes significance against the backdrop of the challenge posed to India-Russia defence partnership by impending US sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the controversial Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
“As far are we are concerned, we are not going to allow decisions on our defence requirements to be dictated by any other nation…we will take our decisions that are in the best interest of the nation,’’ highly-placed sources said on Thursday.
These comments came amid speculations that Modi and Putin might take stock of the defence cooperation between their two countries in view of the US threat to blacklist Russian defence manufacturers, some of them are the biggest trading partners of India.
The informal summit in the Russian beach resort will be more or less on the lines of the summit Modi held with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Wuhan late last month.
The two leaders will have a one-on-one interaction soon after Modi arrives in Sochi on the morning of 21 May. This will be followed by a lunch where both leaders will be accompanied by their senior officials. Thereafter, the two leaders will be engaged in another one-on-one meeting. They could also together go for a walk. Modi will leave for home the same night.
Sources said there was no agreed agenda between the two sides for the summit and there would be no joint statement. The two leaders would hold free-wheeling discussions on bilateral issues as well as international developments.
Among bilateral issues, the focus could be on defence, security, civil nuclear energy and economic cooperation. While reviewing international developments, the two leaders could discuss the US decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord and the situation in Af-Pak region, the Korean peninsula and Syria.
“The objective of the informal summit is to strengthen contact between the two countries at the leadership-level,’’ sources said while pointing out that the two leaders, who share a good personal chemistry, will hold their formal summit towards the end of the year.