Putin to visit India next month for bilateral summit

New Delhi: Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit India from October 4-5 during the course of which he will hold an annual bilateral summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi, it was announced on Friday.

“Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay an official visit to New Delhi on October 4-5 for the 19th India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit,” the External Affairs Ministry said in a statement.

“During the visit, President Putin will hold official talks with the Prime Minister Modi… He will also have a meeting with the President (Ram Nath Kovind), as well as other official engagements,” it stated.

Russia is one of only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits, the other being Japan.

The India-Russia bilateral relationship was elevated to Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership in 2010.

Earlier this month, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Moscow for the 23rd India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Technical and Economic Cooperation (IRIGC-TEC) meeting which also prepared the groundwork for Putin’s upcoming visit.

During that meeting, India and Russia decided to increase the target of two-way investments to $50 billion by 2025 since the earlier target of $30 billion has already been crossed.

Speculation is also rife about whether a missile deal that New Delhi has been negotiating with Moscow will be finalised during Putin’s visit.

With US President Donald Trump’s administration’s law — Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) — coming into effect in January, India’s defence deals with other countries have come under the scanner.

CAATSA targets countries doing business with Russian, Iranian and North Korean defence companies. It is a matter of concern for India as it is a major defence partner of Russia.

The most controversial issue is India’s purchase of four S-400 air defence missile systems from Russia at a cost of more that Rs 40,000 crore.

Following the first ever India-US 2+2 Ministerial Dialogue held in New Delhi on September 6, a senior US State Department official said that there will be no blanket waiver for the S-400 deal.

The last India-Russia annual bilateral summit was held on June 1, 2017, during the visit of Modi to Russia.

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