PM Modi, Putin hold talks; Set to ink crucial pacts

RSTV Bureau
Moscow: President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin presents to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi a page from Mahatma Gandhi's diary containing Gandhiji's handwritten notes, in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, December 23, 2015. Photo - PTI

Moscow: President of Russian Federation, Vladimir Putin presents to the Prime Minister Narendra Modi a page from Mahatma Gandhi’s diary containing Gandhiji’s handwritten notes, in Moscow, Russia on Wednesday, December 23, 2015.
Photo – PTI

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir held 16th India-Russia annual summit talks on Thursday at the Kremlin, where the two leaders emphasised to further strengthen the already close bilateral strategic partnership. Post their meeting, India and Russia are set to sign number of agreements to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.

Earlier on Wednesday evening after his arrival at Moscow, PM Modi was hosted by President Putin for a dinner followed by a private meeting where the two leaders took up issues of mutual interest concerning the two nations. On a two-day visit to Russia, PM Modi got a red-carpet welcome soon after his arrival in Moscow.

“From inside the Kremlin! PM Narendra Modi & President Putin begin the 16th Annual Summit with a restricted meeting,” Union External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup wrote on a micro-blogging site Twitter along with sharing a picture of the two leaders at the Kremlin.

The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000, told the senior official.

In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant. The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative. The decision in this regard is likely to be finalised Thursday. Both the sides are expected to seal a number of defence deals as well.

Union Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had last week cleared the purchase of Russian S 400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore and there may be an announcement of the deal on Thursday besides a few others.

Among the bilateral issues, PM Modi and Vladimir Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.

(With PTI inputs)