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Modi meets Putin in ‘informal’ meeting in Sochi
May 21, 2018, 2:00 pm

File photo of Russian President Vladimir Putin and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Russia has sold more arms to India than any other country [Image: PPIO]

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Sochi, Russia today for informal talks with Russian President President Vladimir Putin in a visit billed as “further strengthening the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia”.

The trip was planned over the course of a few weeks following Putin’s re-election and at his invitation; it is likely to have high on its unofficial agenda significant Russian arms sales to India.

“Our Defense Ministries maintain very close contacts and cooperation. It speaks about a very high strategic level of our partnership,” Putin told Modi.

He said that the two strategic allies had worked together in many multilateral platforms such as BRICS – along with Brazil, China and South Africa – as well as meeting on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly every year.

Modi thanked Russia for helping India join the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO).

The last time the two leaders met was at the September 2017 BRICS Summit in Xiamen, China.

One of the more important issues to dominate talks is the conclusion of Russian arms exports to India, including the advanced anti-missile S-400 weapons system.

With a range of 400 kilometers, S-400 Triumf is designed to shield from air strikes, strategic, cruise, tactical and operating tactical ballistic missiles and medium-range ballistic missiles.

The S-400 is believed to be able to engage all types of aerial targets including aircraft and VLO (Very Low Observable) craft. The S-400 can seek and destroy targets at a distance of 400 km and at an altitude of up to 32 km.

Military analysts say that acquiring the S-400 ‘Triumf’ air defense missile systems will “drastically” boost India’s war potential, capacity and capability.

But India has lately come under pressure from the US to cancel the arms weapons purchases from Russia on the pretext that it could violate US congressional sanctions on Moscow.

The two countries have been trying to finalize the arms deal, particularly of the S-400 system, since 2015.

The BRICS Post with inputs from Agencies