Home News Modi to meet Putin in Moscow as India shapes its foreign policy

Modi to meet Putin in Moscow as India shapes its foreign policy

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Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India will meet President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia this week in a meeting that shows the Indian leader is determined to stick to his diplomatic path even as the West continues to isolate Moscow over the war in Ukraine.

For Putin, Modi’s visit will allow Russia to show that India, the world’s fifth-largest economy, has Deepening Relationships India buys Russian oil at a discount, helping fill Russian coffers depleted by international sanctions from the war, while Russia seeks India as a partner Reshaping the Western-dominated global order.

Modi, in his first visit to Russia in five years, is expected to arrive in Moscow on Monday and attend a dinner hosted by Putin. The two leaders are scheduled to hold talks on Tuesday to discuss trade, energy and military ties.

South Asian countries have become Major Buyers India is building large nuclear power plants with technical assistance from Russia at a time when Western sanctions have restricted Russian oil sales and pricing on international markets. Russia is also India’s largest arms supplier, so the relationship is vital for India, which has long been trying to defend its borders against China.

Tuesday’s meeting in Moscow coincides with the first day of a high-profile summit of NATO leaders in Washington, during which the Western allies are expected to announce more air defense NATO said it would provide Ukraine with systems and guarantee the alliance’s long-term commitment to Kiev’s security.

Indian officials told reporters ahead of Modi’s visit to New Delhi Modi’s summit with Putin was “significant”, but they stressed that relations with Russia were not directed against any third party. They also tried to downplay the timing of the meeting.

“I don’t want to read into its significance, I just want to say that we attach great importance to this annual summit,” Indian Foreign Minister Vinay Mohan Kwatra said at a news conference on Friday.

The annual summit is part of India and Russia’s long-standing strategic partnership, although the two leaders last met during Putin’s visit to Delhi in 2021. Indian officials say they have met at other events and spoken on the phone several times.

In the nearly two and a half years since his full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Putin has sought to double down on ties with global leaders outside the West, pursuing what he calls a “multipolar” world order away from sole American dominance.

China, with its vast economic and military resources, has emerged as the most critical partner in this effort, but Putin has also touted ties with other countries, such as Vietnam, Brazil and India, to demonstrate that Russia will not succumb to the isolation the West wants.

At an investment forum in Moscow in December, Putin praised the Indian leader for pursuing an independent foreign policy and refusing to succumb to Western pressure. Modi “was not frightened, intimidated or forced into actions or decisions that were contrary to the national interests of India and the Indian people,” Putin said.

For Modi, the meeting was a chance for India to show its resolve to forge its own foreign policy path. India needs both the United States and Russia to counter China and has therefore been trying to balance its relations with Washington and Moscow. While India has strengthened its ties with Washington, it has refused to publicly condemn Russia over Ukraine despite US pressure.

India may be seeking to strengthen its ties with Russia to counter its growing closeness with China, said Happimon Jacob, an associate professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University and an expert on Indian foreign policy. Increasingly consistent The move comes after the two leaders announced an “unrestricted” partnership to be established in 2022. (Last week, the two leaders praised the relationship at a meeting in Kazakhstan.)

Jacob said India may realize that the United States is “unlikely to punish India for continuing its relationship with Russia” because China is becoming Washington’s “primary adversary.”

Indian Foreign Minister Narendra Modi may also discuss the contentious issue of Russia recruiting Indian nationals to fight in the war in Ukraine, according to Indian Foreign Minister Narendra Modi. He said dozens of Indian citizens had been lured to Russia under “false pretexts” and the government was working to repatriate them.

At the same time, India also needs the support of the United States to counter potential Chinese aggression in its backyard. China and India have had many border conflicts over the decades. Including 2022 and 2020when 20 Indian soldiers and an unknown number of Chinese soldiers were killed. India needs the ammunition to defend its northern and eastern borders.

Russia is India’s largest supplier of military equipment, but the share of Russian weapons has been declining over the years – partly due to the country’s older technology. India seeks to diversify its military supply sources and pursue defense cooperation agreements with countries such as the United States. The United States and India have also said they will expand cooperation in advanced weapons, supercomputing and other high-tech fields.

But U.S. officials worried The United States will consider providing these equipment and sensitive technologies to India if there is a risk that the Russian military could obtain them. During a recent visit to New Delhi, US Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said the United States wants to build a strong technical relationship with India and made it clear “which areas will be affected by the ongoing military and technical relationship between India and Russia.”

Nandan Unnikrishnan, director of the Eurasian studies programme at the Observer Research Foundation, said India’s defence ties with Russia “might irritate the United States but not enough to derail Washington’s military cooperation with India”.

Unnikrishnan said he did not expect India to announce any new purchases of military equipment from Russia during the summit. But he thought the two leaders were likely to announce deals on trade, investment and energy cooperation.

Indian officials say that India’s trade imbalance with Russia will be a priority for Modi. India’s exports to Russia are only $4 billion, while imports are $65 billion, a large part of which comes from large purchases of oil. India wants to increase exports to Russia across the board, including agriculture, medicine and services.

Paul Sonnet Correspondents from Berlin contributed to this report.

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