Putin meets “time tested friend” Modi: 4 deals signed with talks on Chinese aggression & Afghanistan
Afghanistan -Monday evening Russian President Vladimir Putin arrived in New Delhi, and within few hours he met his “time tested friend” India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi at Hyderabad House. The meet was first ever India and Russia’s 2+2 ministerial meeting between Defence and Foreign ministries of the countries.
The two countries’ 21st annual summit saw them reaffirming to their commitment to the S-400 air defence system deal. Government of India asserted that even though the countries confirm to follow the “legacy contract” while India and Russia will also confirm to follow their independent foreign policies. Government also added that during the summit there was no discussion about the US CAATSA sanctions threat.
“Friendly” nation and “time tested friend”
Putin marked the meeting calling India a “great power”, a “friendly” country and a “time tested friend”.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi added, “Despite the challenges posed by Covid, there is no change in the pace of growth of India-Russia relations. Our special & privileged strategic partnership continues to become stronger.”
“In the last few decades, the world witnessed many fundamental changes and different kinds of geopolitical equations emerged but the friendship of India and Russia remained constant,” PM Modi said stressing on “unique” relations between India and Russia.
Concerns over Afghanistan
Russian president Vladimir Putin shared concerns over the crisis in Afghanistan. He red-flagged the situation with key challenges in region as “fight against terrorism, drug trafficking and organised crime”, where both countries will need to cooperate. “We continue to cooperate jointly on global agenda… our positions are quite similar…in the fight against terrorism, also fighting drug trafficking and organized crime,” Putin said along with PM Modi before beginning of the bilateral summit.
2+2 ministerial dialogue
India and Russia have signed four agreements under the 2+2 ministerial dialogue. Rajnath Singh, Indian defence minister, met his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoigu with the two sides signing two deals for manufacture of about 6 lakh AK 203 rifles under joint venture in Uttar Pradesh’s Amethi. The deal is worth more than Rs 5000 crore.
Another agreement was signed for military technology cooperation for period 2021-2031, as well as Protocol of the 20th India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military & Military Technical Cooperation (IRIGC-M&MTC).
Concerns over China’s aggression
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh raised issue of China’s aggressive stand along the northern border. He said, “The pandemic, the extra-ordinary militarisation and expansion of armament in our neighbourhood and the completely unprovoked aggression on our northern border since early summer of 2020 have thrown in several challenges.” He further added that India is “confident of overcoming these challenges with its strong political will and inherent capability of its people”.
Modi welcomed Putin while commending the friendship between India and Russia that has remained a constant through decades. He said, “Both the countries have not only cooperated with each other without any hesitation but have also taken special care of each other’s sensitivities. It is truly a unique and reliable model of inter-state friendship.”