“Very Significant”: Indian Envoy On PM Modi’s Visit To Russia

India’s Ambassador to Russia, Vinay Kumar, has called Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s upcoming visit to Russia “very significant” and noted that it is taking place after a gap of three years.

Speaking to ANI, Vinay Kumar stated that the visit of PM Modi is “very important” for the two leaders to exchange views on developments in bilateral ties and discuss other regional and important issues of mutual interest.

He noted said the two nations have the tradition of annual exchange of summit-level meetings between the Russian President and Indian Prime Minister and added that the last one took place in 2021.

Notably, this will be the 22nd India-Russia Annual Bilateral Summit. The 21st bilateral Summit was held in December 2021 when Russian President Vladimir Putin visited New Delhi.

Asked about the importance of PM Modi’s first overseas visit after being sworn in as PM of India for the third time, he responded, “The visit is very significant. It is taking place after a gap of three years. We have the tradition of the annual exchange of summit-level meetings between the President of the Russian Federation and the Prime Minister of India and the last one was in 2021. So, since then, a lot has changed around the world, but also our relations have expanded.”

“Russia is now one of the very important sources of energy resources in India. Also, trade has expanded in other areas. So this visit becomes very important for the leaders to exchange views on all these developments in the bilateral relationship, but also other regional and international issues of mutual interest,” he added.

Vinay Kumar said that PM Modi during his visit will have a private meeting with Russian President Putin, attend the lunch-on hosted by Putin and visit an exhibition centre. He said that PM Modi will address a gathering of Indian community members in Russia.

Elaborating on PM Modi’s schedule during his visit to Russia, the Indian envoy said, “The program includes a private meeting with President Putin, delegation-level talks, restricted talks, lunch on hosted by President Putin for Prime Minister and his delegation, visit to an exhibition center in the Badenha complex, Rosatom Pavilion, and also exchange of documents which we are preparing to sign and exchange during the visit.”

“Prime Minister will also address a gathering of Indian community members who are very eagerly looking forward to this visit to Moscow by Prime Minister after a gap of nine years. The last Prime Ministerial visit to Moscow was in 2015. So these are some of the important elements of the program,” he added.

Notably, PM Modi will be in Moscow on July 8-9 at the invitation of the Russian President to hold the 22nd India-Russia Annual Summit.

Asked about the issues that will be discussed during the meeting between PM Modi and Russian President Putin, he said, “Well, the first thing that I want to say is that I’m in no position to prejudge what the two leaders will talk. But, I can certainly tell you that the visit is in the framework of our annual exchange of the Presidential and Prime ministerial visit that we have in world summits and so the context is bilateral. But, certainly global issues, including this war that you mentioned, will be discussed. And the leaders will exchange their views and their perspective on these developments.”

Vinay Kumar stressed that the trade between India and Russia has expanded and crossed USD 65 billion. However, he noted that the trade is heavily in favour of the Russian side. He said that India is looking at new items, including agricultural products to export to Russia.

Speaking about trade between the two nations, he said, “Trade, as I was mentioning, in the last three years, trade has expanded, crossed USD 65 billion. We have two challenges. One, to balance the trade, because trade is very heavily in favour of the Russian side. So expanding India’s trade basket, export items, and also increase in the quantity to better balance the trade, while at the same time finding ways and means to sustain this growth in bilateral trade.”

“We are looking at new items, including agricultural products to export to Russia, ceramic tiles, auto components and engineering goods, chemical products, of course, pharmaceuticals has been one of the traditional areas, products that we have exported to Russia. We want to increase their volume and also add new items to the trade basket,” he added.

Calling defence an important pillar of India-Russia ties, he said that India has bought several platforms and their spare parts from Russia. Vinay Kumar said that India will discuss and look at further increasing this trend of co-production of defence items in India.

“Defence is a very important pillar of the relationship. There are a number of platforms which India has bought from Russia and their spare parts and also manufacturing of many of the components and spare parts in India. A lot is being done now already. We will discuss and look at further increasing this trend of co-production as we say of defence items in India,” he said.

Stressing that connectivity is important for trade and people-to-people exchange, he stated, “Connectivity, similarly, is very important for trade and also people-to-people exchanges. International North-South Transport Corridor is very much on the agenda, and there have been some cargo movement along that. New routes are also coming up, Arctic route or Northern Sea route, as it is called, and we are looking for institutionalizing and expanding cooperation in that sector also.”

During his visit to Moscow, PM Modi and Putin will review the entire range of multifaceted relations between the two countries and exchange views on contemporary regional and global issues of mutual interest, according to Ministry of External Affairs earlier press release.

Notably, PM Modi and Putin have met 16 times over the past 10 year. The last in-person meeting between the two leaders took place on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan’s Samarkand in 2021.

PM Modi has been conferred the highest Russian state honor ‘Order of the Holy Apostle Andrew the First’ in 2019. After concluding his visit to Russia, PM Modi will travel to Austria.

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