Prez Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi will talk "as much as they want". The importance of Russia in India's defence preparedness remains a constant feature. The Cabinet Committee on Security headed by PM gave the nod to the Rs 5,100-crore project to jointly manufacture AK-203 rifles at the Amethi facility.
New Delhi: Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu arrived on Sunday (December 5) night for the historic inaugural '2 plus 2' dialogue of both countries' Foreign and Defence ministers.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will represent the Indian side. Besides the '2 Plus 2' meet, External Affairs Minister Jaishankar will also hold a bilateral meeting with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov. The two sides' foreign and defence ministers will hold the '2+2' dialogue from around 11.30 am.
But the most expected awaited of the day would be the 21st India-Russia Annual Summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The Russian President is expected to arrive in New Delhi on Monday afternoon.
It may be stated that the Summit in New Delhi could turn a path-breaking as both sides could seek to tread a new path, trying to strike the right balance as New Delhi is now a firm and committed friend of the United States. The Russia-US relationship at the same time has remained around the good old love-hate matrix, observers say.
India and Russia could ink ten crucial pacts, including a few 'semi-confidential' ones.
Besides Defence and strategic issues, Trade, energy, culture and technology-related subjects would be covered in the agreements. The government has also cleared a plan for the joint production of more than 5 lakh AK-203 assault rifles with Russia to boost self-reliance in defence manufacturing.
For his part, Prime Minister Modi does understand the importance of Russia and the leadership of Putin in both regional and global contexts.
Addressing the Eastern Economic Forum-2021 in September in the virtual format, Mr Modi had called President Putin "a great friend of India", under whose guidance the strategic partnership between the two countries has continued to grow. Russia is also a crucial partner for India in the regional scene, especially in the context of RIC and BRICS.
India is now aiming to have a role in 'reshaping' the global policies – from climate change to terrorism, experts say, and of course – Moscow ought to be on the same page with New Delhi to achieve some of them.
The four-nation Quad between the US, India, Australia and Japan did not go very well with Moscow.
The India-Russia relationship has also assumed significance given the Afghanistan situation since August 2021.
External Affairs Minister, Jaishankar has once said: "Relations between Russia and India have been amongst the steadiest of the major relationships in the world after the Second World War." A Joint Statement is proposed to be issued after the Summit, Indian officials have said.
The last India-Russia Annual summit was held in September 2019 during the visit of Modi to Vladivostok in Russia. Notwithstanding the discomfort of the Americans, the much-awaited $5.2 billion S-400 air defence system deal between India and Russia is still on track.
"The President and the Prime Minister will talk as much as they want," said Russian Presidential Aide Yuri Ushakov. "About 10 bilateral agreements will be signed, which are quite important and include some semi-confidential ones," Ushakov has said.
This will be Putin's only second trip abroad since the start of the Covid-19. He had travelled to Geneva in June for a Summit with the US President Joe Biden.
The decision to stick to the India-Russia military deal has remained on track despite the Joe Biden administration deciding to continue with the Donald Trump-era policy of imposing Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Russia or any other country that would buy armaments from some listed countries.
In October 2018, India inked a deal with Russia to buy five S-400 air defence missile systems units braving against strong reservations from the Trump administration. The first batch of S-400 missile systems from Russia is expected to arrive soon.