PM Modi, Putin to hold informal summit in Russia's Sochi

PM Modi, Putin to hold informal summit in Russia's Sochi

PM Modi, Putin to hold informal summit in Russia's Sochi

It's time for yet another informal meeting.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Russia on May 21 for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin in the summer beach resort of Sochi amid USA sanctions against Moscow that might impact Russian military supplies to India, particularly an estimated Rs 40,000-crore deal to buy the sophisticated, long-range S-400 air defence system.

The two leaders will discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters. Earlier meetings have been structured interactions with pre-negotiated documents.

The date for the PM's visit to Russian Federation was finalised last week when National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow.

On Monday, May 14, the Ministry of External Affairs confirmed Modi's visit to Russian Federation in a statement saying it would take place at the "invitation" of Putin.

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This announcement follows the May 10 visit of National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale to Moscow, where they met Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and other senior officials, including Secretary of the Russian Security Council, Nikolai Patrushev.

Informal summits are in - or so it would seem.

This could include the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal in which Russian Federation remains invested; India's perceived pro-US tilt, evident from the decision to play ball with the Washington-led quadrilateral in the Indo-Pacific; and Moscow's growing engagement with Pakistan. The diplomatic surge in the Korean Peninsula where the U.S. has taken an initiative to disarm North Korea though has happened from a positive reasoning, but one never knows which way the tide will turn as long as Trump is in charge of affairs. Trump has evolved nearly as a common threat to everybody else - directly or indirectly - and this has given rise to diplomacy of a new kind across the table.

Besides, the USA decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and its ramifications on India-Russia have also caused new worries in New Delhi.

The two leaders might also discuss how their two countries could counter the challenge posed to their defence cooperation by impending U.S. sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA). But with Trump around, it might not take long for every other line of division to get erased.

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