INTERNATIONAL DESK: Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin during their meeting in Samarkand this week will focus on multilateral engagements including at G20, SCO and UN this year and next year, besides bilateral defence, energy and investment partnerships.
The bilateral agenda will give considerable focus on multilateral cooperation with India holding Group of 20 (G20) and Shanghai Cooperative Organisation (SCO) presidencies next year, ET has learnt.
This will be the first bilateral between Modi and Putin since Russia invaded Ukraine on February 24. It will take place on the sidelines of the SCO Summit in Samarkand on Thursday and Friday.
The Kremlin on Tuesday had hinted at subjects of discussion for Modi-Putin meet. Putin will discuss Russian-Indian cooperation within the United Nations (UN), G20 and SCO with Modi besides bilateral issues and Indo-Pacific stability, according to veteran diplomat and presidential aide Yuri Ushakov.
“This is particularly important, because India will preside over the UN Security Council in December, and, in 2023, India will lead the SCO and will also chair the G20,” Ushakov said. Both sides will seek to coordinate their positions at these forums amid the geopolitical uncertainty, he added.
Interestingly, Maharashtra deputy chief minister Devendra Fadnavis is currently in Moscow to attend a host of programmes.
Modi and Putin have spoken with each other four times over phone since February 24 and, understandably, the state of the Russia-Ukraine conflict will be discussed with the prime minister expected to emphasise on the need for dialogue and diplomacy as a way forward.
Russia has been outspoken against Quad, or Quadrilateral Security Dialogue between India, the US, Japan and Australia, but India has maintained that Quad is not directed against any country and Modi is expected to emphasise on Indo-Russian partnership in the Indo-Pacific region with special focus on the Russian Far East, Vladivostok to Chennai maritime connect, and partnership in the Arctic and the Northern Sea Route, persons familiar with the subject said.
The prime minister highlighted India’s priorities at the Eastern Economic Forum last week in the presence of Putin.
On its part, Russia in its recently released naval doctrine has made India the key partner for the Indian Ocean Region.
Eurasia will also be in focus at the Putin-Modi meet as Russia is a traditional player in that region and India is an emerging player, complementing each other’s efforts including in Afghanistan.
On the bilateral side, the two leaders are expected to focus on predictability of defence partnership and supplies from Russia and joint production in India besides energy security, food security, export of key commodities from Russia to India, increasing India’s business footprints in Russia, trade in national currencies, and new Russian economic projects in India.
While Indian retail chains are increasing their footprints in Russia, Russian firms and commodity majors are eyeing Indian markets and are in talks to open chapters here amid western sanctions. (The Economic Times)