Russian President Vladimir Putin to visit India today

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin will arrive in India today in order to hold the 21st annual India-Russia summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Reportedly, India and Russia are expected to sign more than 10 agreements following annual talks between PM Modi and President Putin. These agreements will be in the fields of space, culture, science and technology, defense, etc.

India and Russia to hold the first 2+2 ministerial dialogue to be held at the level of the foreign and defense ministers.

Both the countries, in its first 2+2 format dialogue today, will discuss key bilateral, regional & international issues, including the situation in Afghanistan post-Taliban takeover, threats emanating from terror groups, protection of human rights of minorities, women, and children in Afghanistan.

Putin had said last week that he intends to discuss with PM Modi new “large-scale” initiatives on further developing “specially privileged” Russian-Indian relations.

With heated exchanges between the US and Russia due to heavy concentration of troops in Ukraine border scheduled for talks between both, Russias growing dependency on China due to sanctions from West, and Indian tilt towards the US with inclusion in Quad, the visit of Russian President Vladimir Putin to India on December 6, appears to be viewed differently by different world players. Even in domestic debates, the public anger due to Chinese intrusion in Ladakh and growing partnership of Russia and China, indicates that the visit is sensitive in context of international geopolitical scenario; hence will require a delicate strategic balancing including text of joint statement, if issued at the end of the visit. Notwithstanding the above, the visit is a scheduled 21st India-Russia Annual Summit, which couldnt take place earlier due to coronavirus pandemic, there are many justified reasons to continue with ‘Indo-Soviet Friendship Treaty (1971)’ matured into ‘Strategic Partnership (2000)’, which has stood the test of time till date, even during ongoing rough relations between China and India.

India and US have commonality of Interest in most issues including tackling China, which has pushed India to become an important global strategic partner of US, by its aggressive designs. There is congruence of interests in most global issues between US and India in the current geo-strategic equation. India stands with US and Quad in context of Indo-Pacific and facing China challenge. India continues to do its best to respond to sensitivities and concerns of the US, at times risking some of its old relationships like Iran. To accommodate US interest India reduced import of oil from Iran, bearing a cost disadvantage, as Iran oil was being imported in Rupee terms, in crude form and attuned to existing refineries in India. India doesn’t seem to be repeating the same mistake with Russians, who haven’t done anything bilaterally which demands a divorce in mutual relationship. Moreover, military capacity building of India also adds to collective strength of Quad, which is in collective interest.

Lately India is trying to be self-reliant, as well as diversifying procurement from various countries to include US, France, Israel. In last decade the defence procurement from Russia has gradually reduced from over 65 percent approximately to nearly 49 percent and correspondingly increased in favour of the US, Israel and France. There is a noticeable upward trend in purchase of US military hardware, as the year 2020 alone saw a purchase $3.4 billion worth of US military equipment, indicating enough accommodation by India. In a buyers’ market US has competitors to include Russia, Israel and France, and every country will make sovereign choice to pick the best deal including India. India has also made modest beginning in exporting Rs 38,000 crore worth of military equipment, as a step towards self-reliance, seeking support of all the partners.

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