RUSSIAN President Vladimir Putin will arrive on a two-day visit to India on 4 for the 19th annual India-Russia summit with Prime Minister Narendra Modi focussing further boosting bilateral ties and deliberate on a range regional and global issues including US sanctions on import of Iranian crude oil. The two leaders are likely to explore how to expand cooperation in various spheres including trade, commerce, tourism and space programs. The announcement of the Russian leader’s visit was announced by the Ministry of External Affairs. In addition, the two leaders are likely to review bilateral defence cooperation in the wake of the US sanctions against Russian defence majors, sources said. It is not yet clear whether the two countries will sign an agreement sealing the S-400 missile deal during Putin’s visit. Both sides have almost concluded negotiations on the Rs 40,000 crore deal under which Russia will supply sophisticated missile system to India. New Delhi most probably will ink the deal despite the US sanctions.”India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries. We shall maintain it in all earnestness,” Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman told reporters some days ago. Russia, incidentally, remains one of India’s key suppliers of arms and ammunition since Independence Nehru era. PM Modi and President Putin will also discuss impact of US sanctions on import of crude oil from Iran. Iran along with Saudi Arabia and Iraq is India’s major source of importing crude oil. The Russian leader will also meet President Ram Nath Kovind as well as other official engagements, the MEA said. The last annual summit was held on June 1, 2017 during the visit of the prime minister to Russia. In May, Modi had travelled Russian coastal city of Sochi for an informal summit with Putin during which they discussed several bilateral and multilateral issues.
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