Prime Minister Narendra Modi reached Sochi on Monday afternoon for an ‘informal summit’ with Russian President Vladimir Putin in this Black Sea city in Russia. Modi, who is on his fourth visit to Russia, was greeted by Indian Ambassador to Russia Pankaj Saran and Mayor of Sochi Anatoly Pokhamov upon his arrival.
The focus of the meeting between Modi and Putin will be on further strengthening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between the two countries. They are also expected to discuss the impact of the US withdrawal from a nuclear deal with Iran besides the conflict-ridden situations in Afghanistan and Syria, and the political developments in Korean peninsula.
This meeting comes just ahead of the SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and BRICS summits, where both Russia and India are members.
Modi’s meeting with Putin comes after his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in a specially observed development in late April this year. In that meeting, India and China ‘reset’ their ties which had been strained after the 2017 Doklam crisis.
Though dubbed an “informal summit”, on the table is likely to be a host of discussions ranging from economic to strategic.
The two leaders might discuss the Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation to third countries and the sanctions against Russian oligarchs and companies, including Rosoboronexport, the state-owned Russian weapons trading company, which may have a possible impact on India’s military purchases from Moscow.
US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) might impact the Indo-Russia defence cooperation, which is what the two leaders are likely to study.
“Both leaders will discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters,” read a statement from the External Affairs Ministry.
It said the informal summit was in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest level and will be an important occasion for Modi and Putin to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective.
Russia and Japan are the only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits.
Putin had recently won a fourth term in office in March this year after remaining in power for almost two decades. Modi has previously visited Russia for the 2015 BRICS summit, a state visit in December that same year, and the 2017 annual summit.