Economic Boost and Strategic Dialogue: Expectations from Modi-Putin Meet

by Harleen Kaur

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin will co-chair the 22nd Russia-India Annual Summit in Moscow, marking a significant milestone in the longstanding partnership between the two nations. The summit, scheduled for July 9th, promises to address a range of bilateral and global issues, reflecting the deep and resilient ties that have endured through various geopolitical challenges.

According to Indian Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, the summit will feature both restricted and delegation-level talks at the Kremlin. Modi, arriving in Moscow on July 8th, is set to focus on deepening economic linkages with Russia, particularly aiming to increase Indian exports to balance the current trade disparity. This issue is a priority for New Delhi, given the substantial $65 billion bilateral trade in 2023-24, heavily skewed towards Russian imports at nearly $60 billion, while Indian exports stand at $4 billion.

Investment ties are another critical area of growth, spanning sectors such as energy, banking, railways, and steel. Kwatra highlighted Russia’s pivotal role in India’s energy security and defense sectors, mentioning the operational status of Units I and II at the Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant (KNPP) and ongoing work on Units III and IV. This cooperation underlines the “special and privileged strategic partnership” that has remained robust despite numerous global challenges.

However, the summit takes place against the backdrop of heightened scrutiny from Western nations, particularly the G7, which recently vowed to enforce stricter sanctions on Russia. Despite these pressures, India remains committed to its national interests, balancing its economic and political needs while adhering to UN sanctions. Kwatra emphasized India’s regular engagement with G7 nations to safeguard its economic interactions with Russia, especially concerning critical sectors like diamonds.

The upcoming leadership talks mark the first high-level meeting since Putin’s visit to New Delhi in December 2021. Modi’s agenda for the summit includes reviewing the entire spectrum of bilateral relations, from defense and trade to investment and energy cooperation. Additionally, discussions will cover science and technology, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. Regional and global developments, including the status of engagements in multilateral groupings like BRICS, the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, G20, and the East Asia Summit, will also feature prominently.

Key issues likely to be addressed include the situation in Ukraine, the Indo-Pacific region, and the Sino-India Ladakh border dispute. Modi is also expected to raise the matter of Indian nationals serving in the Russian Army, a topic of particular interest to New Delhi.

Connectivity projects such as the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC), the Chennai-Vladivostok Maritime Corridor, and the Chabahar port are anticipated to be significant points of discussion. These initiatives are crucial for enhancing trade routes and economic cooperation between the two nations.

The summit is expected to yield a series of outcome documents, to be announced the following week, reflecting the substantive progress and commitments made during the talks. As Modi and Putin prepare to meet, the world will be watching closely, recognizing the pivotal role that strong Indo-Russian relations play in shaping regional and global dynamics. This summit not only reinforces the historical ties between India and Russia but also charts a forward-looking path amidst a rapidly evolving geopolitical landscape.

The opinions expressed in this article are those of the author. They do not purport to reflect the opinions or views of Khalsa Vox or its members.

Harleen Kaur

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