May 21, 2018

Putin to hold talks with India's PM in Sochi next week

15 May 2018, 05:49 | Taylor George

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86 percent of Moscow hotels booked for Russia 2018 World Cup

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Russian city of Sochi next week for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin on May 21 to deliberate on pressing global issues and explore ways to further boost the already close bilateral ties.

Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping held a similar informal summit in China last month. The ministry also said that both leaders would also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters.

It added that the "informal summit" was in "keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russian Federation at the highest levels". Modi's Russian Federation visit comes within a month of his visit to the Chinese city of Wuhan for an informal summit with President Xi Jingpin. During that meeting PM Modi praised Putin. The two leaders might also discuss how their two countries could counter the challenge posed to their defence cooperation by impending United States sanctions against several Russian entities involved in military supplies to India under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA).

Putin is also expected to visit India later this year for the annual bilateral summit. With Russia still being a major defence supplier, a recent USA law could impose sanctions on India if it goes ahead with significant purchases from Russia, for example the S-400 Triumf air defense system.

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As observed during the Indo-Chinese informal summit in Wuhan, there will be no deliverables or agreements announced after the Sochi summit. India had abstained from voting at the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) on the chemical weapons attack in the United Kingdom which Russian Federation viewed as a support for its position.

At the same time, India has become entwined into the fracas between Moscow and Washington with concerns that Indian purchase of S-400 missile defence system would trigger USA sanctions related to CAATSA (Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act of 2017).

The Prime Minister's previously unannounced visit comes after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow last week to discuss a way out of the USA sanctions on Russian firms. Putin was sworn in for the fourth time as a Russian president.

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