【New Delhi】Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s ‘informal summit’ with Russian President Vladimir Putin was heavy on defence and geopolitical discussions, at a time when US sanctions on Russia’s military have been picking up pace and Washington DC has turned up the heat on a trade war with India.
On May 21, Modi reached Sochi as part of his one-day tour of Russia and Putin saw him off in the early hours of the next day. The trip has been officially characterised as ‘agendaless’ by the government which has meant that the Prime Ministers’ topic of discussions have not been announced, while there also has not been a joint statement by both leaders after the conclusion of the trip. But reports from Russia now confirm that international geopolitical issues and that bedrock of India’s ties with Russia - defence - received maximum time from both leaders during talks.
According to reports in the Russian media, the talks also focused on the sanctions on Iran and the crisis in Syria as a result of the civil war. Both leaders also talked about the multilateral groupings such as BRICS and the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and what may be the way ahead on crucial issues such as development financing and the prohibition of chemical weapons, the reports added.
The issue of multi-nation trade corridor also seems to have discussed. The International North South Transport Corridor (INSTC) focuses on the Chabahar port in southern Iran and incorporates thousands of kilometres of all-weather highways across the Iranian desert to transport goods to the northern border with Azerbaijan. Here, logistics hubs have been set up for transporting the goods to the Russian port of Astrakhan and onwards to Russia’s European markets.
“However, now with the US decision to reinstate sanctions against the Islamic regime in Iran, apart from the prospects of a bloated oil import bill as global crude prices soar and loss of export markets in Iran, the INSTC has hit another roadblock. We had suggested the issue be raised by the Prime Minister with President Putin,” a senior commerce ministry official said.
The Federation of Freight Forwarders Association of India, which had conducted the first dry run through Azerbaijan back in 2014, had initially pegged six months as the time required to popularise the new route after it opened. But difficulties over the lack of loan facilities from banks on this route, inadequate insurance coverage for bill of lading, non-vessel operating common carrier as well as irregular shipping services to Iran remain.
Modi also invited Putin for the 19th Annual Summit in India later in the year.
○Modi-Putin summit: Energy cooperation, terrorism, geopolitics discussed
【New Delhi】Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who had returned from his one-day informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin in Sochi on May 22, termed the talks as "extremely productive". He said that the complete range of India-Russia relations, along with other global subjects, were part of the discussions between the two leaders during the summit, PTI reported.
The two leaders held discussions on a range of issues from joint effort against terrorism to defence cooperation, International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC) and BRICS.
President Putin and Prime Minister Modi also talked about expanding cooperation in the energy sector and, in this regard, welcomed the arrival of the first consignment of Liquefied Natural Gas (LNG) under a long-term agreement between Russian gas giant Gazprom and India's state-run gas utility GAIL next month.
Modi also thanked Russia for playing a crucial role in helping India get a permanent membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, an eight-nation bloc that aims at military and economic cooperation among member states. India and Pakistan were admitted last year to the organisation.
Modi, Putin talk multi-nation trade corridor being built by India via Iran
Modi-Putin summit: Energy cooperation, terrorism, geopolitics discussed
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