India’s ties with Russia are set to get a boost with Prime Minister Narendra Modi scheduled to pay two visits to the country, which is India’s largest defence supplier and surest veto at the United Nations during the course of the year.
First, Modi will be visiting Russia in July for the BRICS (Brazil-Russia-India-China-South Africa) Summit. Towards the end of the year, he is scheduled to travel to Moscow for the bilateral summit at the end of the year. The last annual summit between the two countries was held in Delhi.
Apart from Modi, President Pranab Mukherjee will be travelling to Moscow in May to take part in the Victory Day celebrations. Twenty six heads of states have confirmed their participation in the 70th anniversary of the celebrations. Victory day marks Russia’s victory over Nazi Germany.
Defence minister Manohar Parrikar and external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj will also visit Russia to co-chair the inter-governmental commissions with their Russian counterparts on key strategic issues of bilateral relations, regional and international importance.
These visits will provide opportunity for high-level interactions between Indian and Russian leaders at least five times in six months starting from May.
Prime Minister Modi had previously stated that if you ask any child in the country who is India’s best friend, the child would automatically state Russia. With India diversifying sourcing of its defence supplies, the Prime Minister has said that Russia would continue to enjoy the pre-eminent position as India’s defence equipment supplier.
During Russian President Vladimir Putin’s visit to India, he had announced that Russia supported PM Modi’s ‘Make in India’ initiative in a big way.