Russian President Vladimir Putin will visit India on December 6 when he and PM Modi will hold their first in-person India-Russia summit in two years. “They will review the state and prospects of bilateral relations and discuss ways to strengthen the strategic partnership between the countries,” MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The highlight of the visit will be the delivery of S-400 Triumf missile systems, whose components have started arriving in India. Delivery of the first squadron is scheduled to be completed by December. The US could impose sanctions against India for engaging in transactions with the Russian sectors.
The last India-Russia annual summit was held in September 2019 when Modi visited Vladivostok.
The summit will coincide with the first meeting of the 2+2 dialogue between defence minister Rajnath Singh and foreign minister S Jaishankar with their respective counterparts, Sergey Shoigu and Sergey Lavrov. The dialogue was agreed after a phone conversation between Modi and Putin on April 28, MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said.
The Russian embassy tweeted, “Ministers are expected to have in-depth discussions of the key regional and international topics, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and developments on #Afghanistan and #Syria, as well as exchange views on interaction within #SCO and# RIC.”
The summit could not happen in 2020. Bagchi said this would be the first time the two leaders would meet in person “after their meeting on sidelines of the Brics summit in Brasilia in November, 2019.”
Afghanistan was a big topic of discussion also among the RIC that held a virtual foreign ministerial meeting on Friday. Jaishankar tweeted after the Russia-India-China trilateral, that the benchmarks for Afghanistan were set down in UNSC resolution 2593.
“Afghan territory must not be used for terror activities... RIC countries should coordinate respective approaches on threats of terrorism, radicalisation, drug trafficking etc.”
With the threat of sanctions still hanging over India, the joint statement at the end of the RIC foreign ministers’ meeting said, “Imposition of unilateral sanctions beyond those adopted by the UNSC as well as “long-arm jurisdiction” were inconsistent with the principles of international law, have reduced the effectiveness of the UNSC sanction regime, and had a negative impact on third states and international economic and trade relations.” In a tweet thread, Jaishankar said he had stressed the importance of supply chains, specially in health sector, an indirect swipe at China which had resorted to choking medical supplies and price gouging on pharma components during the second wave. He asked RIC countries to “recognise vaccination certificates issued by each other. The world should avoid unreasonable travel restrictions.”
Jaishankar told Russia and China, “UN reform is being blocked using a smokescreen of consensus as only way forward. As a result, international community is being denied democratic rights.”
For the first time, the RIC countries discussed Myanmar’s fate “India supports upholding the rule of law, release of political detainees and cessation of violence in Myanmar. We will respond to the pandemic situation.” Jaishankar said.