New Delhi: On the eve of his day-long visit to Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Sunday expressed hope that his informal summit with President Vladimir Putin would strengthen ties between two countries.
“Greetings to the friendly people of Russia. I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin. It is always a pleasure to meet him," Modi said in a Twitter post, referring to his Monday talks with Putin.
“Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia," Modi added.
The agenda of the talks is not known but an Indian foreign ministry statement last week said the suddenly announced visit is part of the “tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest levels".
The visit is not part of the regular annual summits between Indian and Russian leaders which takes place every year alternately in India and Russia. Modi had travelled to Russia in June and Putin is expected to visit India in October. According to the Indian statement last week, the summit is taking place at the invitation of Putin. “This will be an important occasion for the two leaders to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective of further strengthening our Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership," it said adding, “both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters".
Last month, Modi had another informal summit in the city of Wuhan with Chinese president Xi Jinping.
“In the context of the current geopolitical situation, it is a very, very good idea to reaffirm the India-Russia strategic partnership and hold consultations on how to react to situations, find commonality in views," said P.S. Raghavan, a former Indian ambassador to Russia. “We (India-Russia) need to rescue the strategic partnership from perceptions of deterioration."
The Modi-Putin summit comes amid a flux in the global order, as well as at a time when India-Russia ties are seen as lacking the warmth they used to have—raising speculation that the summit could aim at a possible reset in ties between the two countries.
Russia’s seemingly cooling relations with India as well as a simultaneous warming of ties with Pakistan has been an issue raised by the opposition in India.