While Russia under the iron grip of Putin did manage to silence Alexander Litvinenko soon (poisoned with radionu- clide polonium-210 whilst in exile in the United Kingdom), it didn’t stop the trail of mysteri- ous deaths of Putin’s critics.
Days after the ‘2+2’ ministerial-level Indo-US dialogue, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj left for Russia on Wednesday to attend an inter-governmental meeting and prepare the ground for President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India next month for the annual India-Russia summit.
‘’Taking stock of a time-tested, special and privileged strategic partnership! EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs on a two-day visit to Moscow, Russia on 13-14 September to hold the 23rd meeting of the Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical & Economic Cooperation,’’ Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Taking stock of a time-tested, special and privileged strategic partnership! EAM @SushmaSwaraj departs on a two-day visit to Moscow, Russia on 13-14 September to hold the 23rd meeting of the Inter- Governmental Commission on Technical & Economic Cooperation. pic.twitter.com/O5oTUqoM5a
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) September 13, 2018
The meeting of the commission is to be co-chaired by Swaraj and Yuri Borisov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Russian Federation.
“IRIGC-TEC is a standing body which annually meets and reviews ongoing activities of bilateral cooperation in the fields of bilateral trade and investment, science and technology, culture and other issues of mutual interest,” the ministry stated. The last meeting of the commission was held in New Delhi in December 2017.
Earlier, Swaraj was to visit Syria and Lebanon too during the course of this overseas visit. However, her visits to Syria and Lebanon have been postponed for now.
The minister’s visit to Russia comes days after she and Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman jointly hosted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defence Secretary Jim Mattis at the inaugural India-US ‘2+2’ dialogue.
There were clear differences between the two sides over India’s defence partnership with Russia, particularly the impending S-400 Triumph missile defence system agreement.
India is believed to have firmly conveyed to Washington that it was keen to go ahead with the S-400 deal, notwithstanding the threat of punitive action under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).
During her visit to Moscow, Swaraj is also expected to discuss the preparations for President Putin’s visit for the annual summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The S-400 deal is likely to be signed during Putin’s visit.