India and Russia to sign pacts on energy, defense, trade and technology, Energy News, ET EnergyWorld

New Delhi: India and Russia set to sign series of agreements to further strengthen cooperation in key areas of defense, trade and investment, energy and technology during summit talks between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin on Monday, government sources said.

During the summit as well as during the inaugural “2 + 2” defense and foreign talks, the two sides are also expected to focus on the situation in Afghanistan and the growing threat of terrorism, especially from groups like Lashkar- e-Taiba and Jaish -e-Mohammed.

We learn that the joint declaration to be released after the summit is likely to reflect India’s concerns about cross-border terrorism and the security implications arising from the Afghan crisis.

While Putin arrives in Delhi on Monday, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu arrive on Sunday evening.

According to the Foreign Office (MEA), Prime Minister Modi and President Putin will start summit talks at 5:30 p.m. and the Russian leader will leave Delhi at 9:30 p.m.

Ahead of the summit, India cleared the long-standing AK 203 Kalashnikov rifle deal worth nearly Rs 5,000 crore for the production of over five lakhs of AK-203 assault rifles at Korwa in Amethi by an Indo-Russian joint venture.

The two sides are also expected to conclude the final phase of negotiations for a logistics support agreement, which is expected to be signed either in the two plus two talks or at the summit.

Reflecting their proven defense ties, India and Russia are also expected to renew a military-technical cooperation framework for the next decade at the summit, in addition to announcing a joint commission on technology and science.

The two sides could also confirm a number of defense procurement proposals in addition to deliberating on the long-standing plan to jointly produce 200 Kamov-226T twin-engine light helicopters for the Indian Armed Forces.

According to sources, India will likely inform the Russian side of its position on the eastern border line of Ladakh as well as its concerns about various regional developments.

The sources said President Putin’s decision to visit India despite the current COVID-19 situation in Russia reflects the importance he attaches to the relationship with India.

“December 6 will be a full day for Russia,” said a source referring to back-to-back important meetings.

The day will begin with talks between Defense Minister Rajnath Singh and his Russian counterpart Shoygu within the framework of the Indo-Russian Intergovernmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation.

In addition, Foreign Minister S Jaishankar will meet with his Russian counterpart Lavrov. Afterwards, the Foreign Affairs and Defense Ministers of the two parties will hold the “2 + 2” dialogue at 11:30 am.

Prime Minister Modi and President Putin will meet face-to-face ahead of the 21st India-Russia summit. A dinner will also be organized for the Russian leader.

The pacts to be signed will cover a wide range of areas, including trade, energy, culture, defense and technology, the sources said.

In addition to government-to-government deals, a number of other covenants are also expected to be confirmed on the sidelines of the summit, the sources said.

“Despite the global geopolitical changes, our relations with Russia have been very stable,” said another source. Regarding defense cooperation, the sources said the two sides should focus on co-production and co-development of military equipment and platforms.

Referring to investment links, they said the $ 30 billion target had already been reached in 2018 and now needs to be raised to $ 50 billion by 2025.

They said efforts would be to diversify trade relations which have so far been dominated by cooperation in the energy sector. “We are looking for new engines of growth,” said the source.

The sources said India is also keen to strengthen its trade relations with the Russian Far East and that 11 governors from the region have been invited to the upcoming Vibrant Gujarat conclave.

The last annual India-Russia summit was held in September 2019 during Modi’s visit to Vladivostok. The annual summit could not take place last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

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