• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

Diplomacy

PM Modi to visit Russia on July 8, his first since Ukraine war started

The Indian PM’s visit will take place after both he and Russian president Vladimir Putin took a fresh guard following elections in their respective countries.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi in a bilateral meeting with the president of Russia, Vladimir Putin, in Samarkand on Friday, September 16, 2022. (ANI Photo/PIB)

By: Shubham Ghosh

INDIAN prime minister Narendra Modi will be in Moscow, Russia, for a day-long trip on July 8 and the visit is likely to underline the engagement between the two all-weather friends, India’s The Tribune newspaper has reported.

According to the exclusive report, the Indian leader’s trip to Russia is crucial not only because it is a standalone one, meaning it is not happening together with the BRICS summit which is expected to happen in Kazan in Russia in October but also because it is happening after both the leaders took a fresh stance following elections in their respective countries.

While Modi won his third straight mandate on June 4 and took oath to the office of the PM five days later, Putin was re-elected as the president of Russia for the fifth time in March.

Read: Preparations on for next Russia summit, says India’s MEA

Much has changed in world politics and in the two nations’ bilateral ties since Modi’s last visit to Russia. He visited Vladivostok in 2019 while his last visit to Moscow took place in 2015. Overall, he has made five visits to Russia since becoming the prime minister in 2014, the same number of times he has gone to China.

The upcoming visit is also significant for it is happening at a time when Russia’s military invasion of Ukraine has continued and sale of Russian crude oil to India has taken a key shape.

Read: Why voting took place in India’s Kerala for Russian presidential elections

“The sale of Russian discounted crude oil to price-sensitive India has been so significant that Russia has replaced Saudi Arabia as the largest source of imported crude in the world,” The Tribune report added.

“Ironically, India processes a significant amount of this Russian crude and resells it to Europe at a profit — ironical because European refineries are banned from directly buying Russian oil since the Ukraine invasion,” it added.

India has also been dependent on Russian weapons and spares, which despite slowing down over the years, is still significant since they are cheaper compared to weapon purchases in the West and that the Indian troops have been trained on them over a long period.

India has also refused to condemn the Russian invasion of Ukraine and has said generally all invasions and wars are bad. It also refused to sign on to the pro-Ukraine communique issued at the end of the recent peace summit in Switzerland. However, Modi had told Putin during their bilateral meeting on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation in Samarkand in Uzbekistan in September 2022 that this is not an era of war.

Both the west, India’s relation with which is smooth at the moment, and China, which has got closer to Russia in recent times, will be closely watching how India’s ties with Russia unfolds in the current scenario.

Modi’s visit will also see discussions between the Indian and Russian sides on defence, oil, gas, and other Indian strategic interests, News18 cited top sources in the Indian government as saying.

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