Not Informal, Putin-Modi Summit in Sochi a “Sochi-Samjhi” Meeting

Upcoming Putin-Modi Meet in Sochi, Russia might look like an informal summit like Modi-XiJinping Meeting in Wuhan, China, but these “informal” meets are actually “Sochi-Samjhi” and well planned. Indian PM Narendra Modi is set to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin in the seaside resort of Sochi next week, but what is the core agenda of Putin-Modi Meeting?

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In a surprise announcement, Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) stated that Putin-Modi Meeting would be “a significant moment for both the leaders to discuss international matters in a broad and long-term perspective”. The India-Russia summit, according to Indian TOI, was a last minute decision and only materialized after Indian National Security Advisor – NSA Ajit Doval and foreign secretary Vijay Gokhale visited the Russian capital.

What is the rationale behind Modi-Putin summit is surprising as both the leaders are expected to meet at the SCO summit in Qingdao, China in June 2018? Russian President Putin is also expected to visit India for the annual India-Russia summit, a few months later.

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Modi-Putin summit will be followed by Indian PM’s visit to Indonesia and Singapore, and then to the SCO summit in Qingdao, China. The Indian PM will meet the Russian President for the BRICS summit in South Africa and then again for the G-20 summit in Argentina.

“Bilateral issues will not be on the agenda during Modi-Putin meeting,” and both leaders are reckoned to discuss “global matters” of concern. The official explanation for Modi-Putin meet is due to hedging policies being initiated by all major global powers with which old alliances are wobbling. India-Russia relationship has a very strong and robust history, however, both the nations are now on very different trajectories and it will take intense dedication and work to keep the relationship and trust intact.

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As the animosity between US and Russia escalates with economic sanctions and military actions against each other, India has started to feel the heat as Delhi has exceptional relations with both the nations. On the other hand, Russia has started to cosy-up with China and Pakistan, which is a big concern for India. It is thus paramount for India to maintain excellent relations with Russia, China and the US at the same time and Putin-Modi Meet is one such step in this direction.

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