Trade, tariff on Modi’s Russia visit agenda   

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Sources aware of the planning said that the dinner at the Dacha on Monday is a special gesture by the Russian President, extended only to a few global leaders…reports Asian Lite News

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive Moscow on July 8 to a particularly warm and special welcome at a private dinner hosted by Russian President Vladimir Putin at his Dacha or estate in the Moscow suburb of Novo-Ogaryovo.

The meeting of the two leaders, their first since 2022, is also Modi’s first visit to Russia since the war in Ukraine began and his own first visit abroad for bilateral talks since he was re-elected to office in June. The two leaders will be together for most of the events during the two-day, approximately 26-hour visit by Modi.

Modi will land on Monday afternoon and receive a ceremonial welcome at the Vanukovo airport and travel to his hotel across from the iconic Red Square that houses the Kremlin, where school children and members of the Indian community will greet him.

The one-on-one dinner with Putin will reciprocate the dinner Modi had hosted for the Russian President during his visit to Delhi the last time an India-Russia Summit was held, in December 2021. It is expected to set the tone for formal talks the next day.

On Tuesday, Modi will address members of the Indian community at a reception for about 500 people at his hotel. He will then pay respects at the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier, a memorial for Russian soldiers who have died in war. Modi will be joined by Putin for a visit to an exhibition venue for Rosatom on nuclear power-related technology developments, a key segment of bilateral ties, after which they will go into formal meetings and delegation level-talks at the Kremlin.

Sources aware of the planning said that the dinner at the Dacha on Monday is a special gesture by the Russian President, extended only to a few global leaders.

Recovering ground lost over three years will therefore be at the top of the agenda of the 22nd Annual Summit, although Foreign and Defence Ministers, the National Security Advisors and Deputy NSAs have met regularly for strategic, trade, military and technical talks, including a major five-day visit by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar to Moscow and St. Petersburg in December 2023.

Officials said that official talks and delegation-level talks on Tuesday will focus on addressing trade and banking challenges due to western sanctions, the possibility of more predictable pricing and long-term contracts for Indian energy imports in oil and LNG, opportunities for investment, as well as connectivity projects like the International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the Chennai-Vladivostok maritime route, and the North Sea corridor. Here too, sanctions against Russia as well as Iran are a factor and require discussion, and the two sides are expected to sign a separate agreement on cooperation in the Russian “Far East” region.

While no new defence procurement deals are on the anvil, Modi is expected to request expediting delayed deliveries for India, including the remainder S-400 missile defence systems, as well as spares and requirements for India-Russia joint ventures in defence production. The issue of Indians in the Russian Army will feature, as Modi will press for early discharge or even a full waiver of the processes for those wishing to return, as soon as possible.

‘West jealously watching visit’

Meanwhile, Kremlin spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that The West is closely and jealously watching Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Russia.

“They are jealous – that means they are closely monitoring it. Their close monitoring means they attach great importance to it. And they are not mistaken, there is something to attach great importance to,” said Peskov.

As Modi leaves, a vibrant community event is set to highlight cultural ties between India and Russia, featuring performances by Russian artists trained in Kathak dance.

Expressing her excitement, Natalia, one of the Russian artists, said, “I have been learning Kathak dance for the past 7 years, and I am thrilled to finally perform my favourite art form in front of PM Narendra Modi. His visit to Moscow signifies the strong relationship between our two beloved countries.”

Earlier, India’s Ambassador to Russia, Vinay Kumar, called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Russia “very significant” and noted that it is taking place after a gap of three years.

‘Visit will bring India, Russia close’

Meanwhile, Indian students in Moscow expressed excitement about the PM’s visit and said that the visit would bring India and Russia close.

Surekha, an Indian national, who is currently on vacation to Russia with her family, said that Modi’s visit will help in strengthening the India-Russia relationship.

“We got to know about Modi’s visit to Russia tomorrow and we are very excited about it. It will be a great thing for strengthening the India-Russia relationship. Modi last visited Russia before Covid,” she said.

Surekha further stressed the hope that something positive might happen in regard to Russia Ukraine war as Modi is visiting Russia.

“I think something positive might happen in the case of the ongoing Russia-Ukraine war,” she said, adding, “However, we would not be able to meet him as we are also leaving in two days.”

Notably, this will be the 22nd India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit. The 21st bilateral Summit was held in December 2021 when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited New Delhi. (ANI)

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