In his interview to Russian news agency TASS, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “I am filled with enthusiasm that I’m going to a friend’s house. And visit a friend, the feeling of oneness, the emotions, I am feeling it.”
The Prime Minister was referring to India-Russia ties but one won’t be mistaken to think that he was referring to his personal rapport with Russian President Vladimir Putin.
And this rapport was on display when both the leaders emerged from a tete-a-tete at the Kremlin on Wednesday evening. Modi arrived in Moscow at 5pm on Thursday for a two-day visit to attend the 16th Annual Summit between India and Russia.
After the tete-a-tete, both leaders left for the Novo-Ogaryovo, the Russian president’s dacha or country house, about 27 kilometres from Moscow, where Putin hosted a private dinner for Modi.
Modi and Putin will hold 16th India-Russia annual summit talks on Thursday at the Kremlin following which the two sides are expected to sign a number of pacts to expand cooperation in a number of key areas including defence, nuclear energy, hydrocarbons and trade.
The talks between the two countries, bound by “special and privileged strategic ties”, have been taking place alternately in Moscow and New Delhi since 2000.
In the nuclear energy sector, India is expected to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh to set up units five and six of Kudankulam nuclear power plant.
The new plants will be in sync with broad principles of ‘Make in India’ initiative and a decision in this regard is likely to be finalised tomorrow.
It is expected that both countries will seal a number of defence deals as well.
Last week, India’s Defence Ministry’s top acquisition council had cleared the purchase of Russian S-400 Triumf air defence missile systems at an estimated cost of Rs 40,000 crore and there may be an announcement of the deal on Thursday besides a few others.
Besides bilateral issues, Modi and Putin are likely to deliberate on a number of global issues having political dimensions including the situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism.
Though this will be the first bilateral meeting both the leaders will be having in Russia, both the leaders had met earlier in Turkey this year during the G20 meet and in July at Ufa, Russia, for the 7th BRICS summit.
(With agency inputs)