Home / News / India /  PM Modi to skip annual summit with Russia amid Vladimir Putin's nuclear threat to Ukraine

As a result of Vladimir Putin's threat to use nuclear weapons in the conflict in Ukraine, Primne Minister Narendra Modi, will not be hosting their yearly face-to-face summit. Since the relationship was elevated to a strategic partnership in 2000, it would be just the second occasion when the leaders of Russia and India haven't personally interacted.

The summit, which is typically held in December, was only postponed once, in the midst of the pandemic, in 2020.

A senior official with knowledge of the situation, who asked not to be named due to the sensitivity of the matter, said that although the relationship between India and Russia is still strong, boasting about the friendship now might not be advantageous for Modi.

There will be no summit this year, according to a Russian official. The official claimed that India made its position known at the regional summit held in Uzbekistan in September, when Modi urged the Russian president to work toward peace in Ukraine.

The Kremlin has promoted India in the media as a crucial nation that hasn't publicly joined the criticism of the US-led war in Ukraine and pushed for increased trade as sanctions have halted flows with the US and Europe.

As the Russian war in Ukraine enters its tenth month and drives up the price of food and energy, India is subtly reducing its involvement. The US and its allies, who have imposed sanctions and price caps on Russian oil, and Moscow, a major supplier of energy and weapons, are the two sides that Modi's government is attempting to strike a balance with.

India  which is on a diplomatic tightrope, has been one of the major swing countries since Russia's invasion of Ukraine. When the UN voted to condemn Putin's war, Modi's government voted against it and refrained from joining US-led efforts to sanction Moscow, seizing the chance to buy cheap Russian oil.

However, the US and other countries with which India has allied themselves have put pressure on it to do so in order to counter China's increasing assertiveness along its Himalayan border. The US recently approved a plan to modernise Pakistan's F-16 fighter jet fleet, a move that New Delhi vehemently opposed.

While India didn't participate in the naval drills, relations between the two countries were strained. India also enraged Japan by participating in the Russia-led Vostok-2022 war games that were centred around a group of islands known as the southern Kurils in Russia and the Northern Territories in Japan — a territorial dispute that dates back to the end of World War II.

(With inputs from Bloomberg)

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