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Narendra Modi- Russia visit to deepen bilateral ties

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Russian President Vladimir after arriving here on Wednesday evening on a two-day visit during which the two leaders will participate in the 16th India-Russia annual summit.

India and Russian Federation are likely to ink a number of pacts in a range of sectors including nuclear energy and defence.

He also stated there would be extensive deliberations with President Putin. On his arrival here, the Prime Minister was accorded a guard of honour at the Vnukova II airport amid light drizzle and overcast conditions.

Beyond bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to discuss broader global issues, including the fate of Afghanistan, where both India and Russian Federation have important interests, the ongoing crises in the Middle East, and the future of regional and worldwide institutions where both India and Russian Federation participate, including the BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

On the hydrocarbon front, participation by India in exploration for oil, gas and other minerals in Russia’s Arctic shelf will help establish Delhi as a long-term player in Moscow’s energy sector.

India has termed Russian Federation as an “old and trusted” partner.

“We are soon going to make a beginning in that direction”, he said. Discussions on Free-Trade area, Eurasian Economic zone, boosting tourism and agro trade between the two countries will be taken up. “Russian Federation has been the largest supplier of military equipment to India and would remain so”, he said. Tomorrow, Modi and Putin will interact with a group of Indian and Russian CEOs in Kremlin.

Responding to a question from The Hindu at a briefing on the visit, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar also rejected the idea that India had moved closer to the US or any “one country on a permanent basis”.

Apart from the bilateral meetings and issuing a joint statement, the Prime minister will also address at a gathering of friends of India.

Ahead of his visit to Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday expressed confidence that his trip would deepen cooperation in the economic, energy and security spheres and substantially take forward the already strong people-to-people ties with “one of India’s most valued friend”.

The India-Russia Annual Summit is being held in Moscow, which will be attended by Modi.

The state-owned Indian Oil Corp and Oil India, whose chairmen are to accompany Modi in Moscow, are reportedly in talks with Russia’s Rosneft to buy a stake in a Siberian oil project. “Our Constitution both guarantees and nurtures the diversities of our country”, he said in response to a question on how he manages to support and develop ethnic cultures and traditions.

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