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Modi heads to Moscow amid rapprochement between Russia and China

Natasha Kumar By Natasha Kumar Jul8,2024

Modi goes to Moscow amid rapprochement between Russia and China

Photo: Narendra Modi

On Monday, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will travel to Russia for a two-day visit amid deepening ties between Moscow and Beijing.

According to analysts in New Delhi, the summit meeting scheduled for Tuesday level with Vladimir Putin will help strengthen relations between the longtime allies, which have cooled a bit recently as India builds a closer partnership with the United States, Voice of America reports.

India's aim is to highlight the importance of India-Russia relations and ensure that Putin's growing ties with China do not impact ties with New Delhi, Kalinga Chintamani Mahapatra, founder of the Institute of Indo-Pacific Studies, told VOA.

“That is why it is extremely important to continue the dialogue with Russia at the highest level,” he added.

The summit will be the first since Russia's invasion of Ukraine that New Delhi has remained neutral on the issue, not condemning the war or joining Western sanctions on Moscow.

“I don't think (this visit) sets the course for a forward-looking or game-changing partnership with a lot of new initiatives and results,” Sriram Chaulia, dean of the Jindal School of International Affairs, told VOA. “It's more about maintaining the relationship, preserving the existing ties and ensuring that we continue to develop defense and energy cooperation.”Despite the diversification of military equipment purchases in recent years, India remains dependent on Russian weapons – About a third of India's defense imports come from Russia, up from two thirds five years ago. However, since the invasion of Ukraine began, there has been growing concern about Russia's ability to supply spare parts and ammunition.

Meanwhile, bilateral energy trade has increased as India has increased its purchases of cheap Russian oil. However, if Russia's total exports to India are $65 billion, then Indian exports – only about $4 billion, which is a concern in New Delhi.

"Trade remains unbalanced, which is a priority issue in our discussions with the Russian side," – Indian Foreign Minister Vinay Kwatra told reporters while announcing Modi's visit on Friday, July 5. He said India wants to promote exports in various sectors including agricultural products, technology, pharmaceuticals and services.

Analysts say the visit will be important for Putin to emphasize that he is not isolated by Western sanctions. Some analysts note that the meeting will take place at a time when a NATO summit on security issues in Ukraine and the Indo-Pacific region begins in Washington on Tuesday.

Analysts in New Delhi believe Modi's visit is unlikely to cause concern in Washington, with which India is deepening its security partnership amid mutual concerns about Chinese aggressiveness in the Indo-Pacific region. According to Mahapatra, India has so far managed to maneuver between the US and Russia.

The US has "some concern" over India's engagement with Russia in the military and technology spheres, but Washington trusts New Delhi that the US-India partnership will develop in key areas, Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell said at a virtual briefing on June 26 before the announcement of the India-Moscow summit.< /p>

Prepared by: Sergey Daga

Natasha Kumar

By Natasha Kumar

Natasha Kumar has been a reporter on the news desk since 2018. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining The Times Hub, Natasha Kumar worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my natasha@thetimeshub.in 1-800-268-7116

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