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Will Modi push for Ukraine truce in Tuesday's talks with Putin?

Source: PTI   -  Edited By: Senjo M R
July 08, 2024 23:56 IST
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President Vladimir Putin will hold extensive talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Tuesday, both one-on-one and with delegations, a top Russian official said on Monday.

IMAGE: Prime Minister Narendra Modi being welcomed by President Vladimir Putin at his official residence at Novo-Ogaryovo for a private engagement, Moscow, Russia, July 8, 2024. Photograph: Courtesy MEA India on X

"Around noon, Putin and Modi will start talking. We expect that there will be a private conversation, as well as Russian-Indian talks over an official breakfast,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov was quoted as saying by the state-owned TASS news agency.


On Tuesday, Modi will co-chair the 22nd India-Russia annual summit with President Putin.

The two leaders, however, will not make any statements to the press afterwards, the Kremlin spokesman added.

"No joint communication with the media is foreseen," he said.

"But we expect an extended exchange of views at both the private and extended sessions, which will largely compensate for the lack of statements to the media."

Although the economic agenda will take a "principal position" at the summit, Prime Minister Modi is likely to convey to President Putin that "a solution can't be found on the battlefield" regarding the ongoing conflict with Ukraine, sources said.

"Solution can't be found on the battlefield. This is also based on interactions, especially with the global south," an official source said, regarding the Ukraine-Russia conflict, emphasising that this view is likely to be conveyed during the summit.

Sources underlined that India has held this point of view "right from the beginning."

Prime Minister Modi will hold in-person meetings with President Putin for 8-9 hours during his nearly 24-hour stay in Russia, they said.

Sources emphasised that the economic agenda is the "principal agenda" of the summit. The Indian side has come up with specific ideas to narrow the trade imbalance, which has risen due to a significant increase in energy imports from Russia over the last two years.

"There is a set of things we have identified across a range of areas such as consumables, pharmaceuticals, consumer goods, etc. Even services and a few things in the digital space we can offer. Each one of these is a very significant idea, and they will come up in discussions," a source explained.

Speaking about the Indians recruited for the Russia-Ukraine conflict, sources said that India will raise the issue in the strongest terms.

"We want the expeditious discharge of Indians fighting in the Ukrainian conflict from the Russian military," a source said.

At least four Indians have been killed so far, and about 35-50 recruits are believed to be in the Army, sources said.

Ten Indians have been allowed to return from the conflict.

Prime Minister Modi will be conferred with Russia's highest state decoration, the Order of St. Andrew, on Tuesday. It was announced in 2019.

Speaking about Putin and Modi's expected informal meeting later this evening, the Kremlin spokesman did not clarify where exactly it will take place. He also did not mention Ukraine in the upcoming talks.

"Before the meeting takes place, it is hardly possible to talk about it. We will keep you informed on all the details,” the Kremlin spokesman said.

"Today, the leaders will speak informally and the official part of the visit - official talks - will take place tomorrow," he said.

When asked whether Moscow has prepared any surprises for the Indian leader, the Kremlin spokesman said, "Our task is not to prepare surprises but to create an atmosphere for a substantive conversation."

Modi arrived here on Monday on his first trip to Russia since the start of Moscow's invasion of Ukraine.

The focus of the 22nd India-Russia annual summit is likely to be boosting bilateral cooperation in the areas of energy, security, trade, investment and people-to-people exchanges. The Ukraine conflict is set to figure in the discussions.

It is Modi's first trip to Russia since 2019, the first after the start of the Ukraine conflict in February 2022 and the first in Modi's third term as the prime minister.

The annual summit between the prime minister of India and the president of Russia is the highest institutional dialogue mechanism in the strategic partnership between the two countries.

The annual summits are held alternatively in India and Russia.

The last summit was held on December 6, 2021, in New Delhi. President Putin had visited India to attend the summit.

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Source: PTI  -  Edited By: Senjo M R© Copyright 2024 PTI. All rights reserved. Republication or redistribution of PTI content, including by framing or similar means, is expressly prohibited without the prior written consent.
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