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PM Modi arrives in Sochi for informal summit with Putin

May 21
16:55 2018

SOCHI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi today arrived in Russia’s Black Sea coastal city Sochi for an informal summit with President Vladimir Putin that will focus on pressing global and regional issues, including impact of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal.

“All in 9 hours! Continuing the tradition of high-level visits, PM Modi arrives in Sochi for informal summit with President Putin. The two leaders will meet with delegation, followed by a private lunch at Bocharev Creek and conclude with Tete-a-tete before departing today,” said Raveesh Kumar, spokesperson at the Ministry of External Affairs.

The aim of the informal summit is to use the friendship and trust between the two countries to create convergence on key global and regional issues, official sources said.

They said the two leaders will meet for around four to six hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues are likely to be very limited.

“Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him,” Modi had tweeted yesterday.

“Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia,” Modi had tweeted.

The issues on the table may include economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, situation in Afghanistan, Syria, threat of terrorism and matters relating to upcoming SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and BRICS summits.

The sources said possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defense cooperation may also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin.

There have been apprehensions that the US decision on Iran deal may adversely impact New Delhi’s oil import from the Persian Gulf nation as well as on the Chabahar port project. Iran is the third largest supplier of crude oil to India after Saudi Arabia and Iraq.

The countries having financial dealings with Iran are expected to be hit by the comprehensive sanctions regime announced by the Trump administration after withdrawal from the nuclear deal.

The US had imposed sanctions on Russia earlier this year under CAATSA for its military intervention in Ukraine and alleged meddling in the 2016 US Presidential elections.

The two leaders may also deliberate on extending Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation in third countries, possible areas for cooperation for the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) project, India’s engagement with five-nation Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU) and the situation in the Korean peninsula.

The sources said the large part of the informal meeting between Modi and Putin will be one-to-one and there may be limited segment for restricted delegation level discussions.

They said President Putin will to also host a lunch for Modi.

It would be Modi’s second informal summit in as many months as he held talks with Chinese President Xi Jingpin in China’s Wuhan in a similar format last month.

Sources said there could be more such informal summits between Modi and other world leaders in the coming months as India eyes to play an important role in global power dynamics.

They said President Putin will be in India later this year for the annual summit during which key bilateral issues will be deliberated upon.

The annual summit talks between the top leadership of the two countries have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000. PTI

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