India-Russia Annual Summit: From AK-203 to Afghanistan, here's what to expect

It will be the first face-to-face meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in November 2019

FP Staff December 06, 2021 08:55:31 IST
India-Russia Annual Summit: From AK-203 to Afghanistan, here's what to expect

File image of Russian president Vladimir Putin. AP

The stage is set for 21st India-Russia Annual Summit, which begins Monday. Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov arrived in New Delhi on Sunday ahead of the inaugural meeting of the 2 + 2 dialogue mechanism at the level of the foreign and defence ministers. Russian President Vladimir Putin is expected to arrive shortly.

It will be the first face-to-face meeting between Putin and Prime Minister Narendra Modi, after the meeting on the sidelines of the BRICS summit in November 2019.

"The agenda for the dialogue will cover political and defence issues of mutual interest. The establishment of this new mechanism of two plus two dialogue is expected to further strengthen the strategic partnership between the two countries," Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) spokesperson Arindam Bagchi had said last month.

Schedule for the day

The day will begin with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Shoygu under the framework of the India-Russia Inter-Governmental Commission on Military-Technical Cooperation.

Separately, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar will hold talks with his Russian counterpart Sergey Lavrov. Then the foreign and defence ministers of the two sides will hold the '2+2' dialogue at 11.30 am.

Modi and Putin will hold a one-on-meeting before the 21st India-Russia summit. A dinner will also be hosted for the Russian leader. Modi and Putin will begin the summit talks at 5.30 pm, and the Russian leader will leave Delhi at 9.30 pm

Here's a look at what we can expect from the meet:

Russian President Vladimir Putin has said that he intends to discuss with Prime Minister Narendra Modi new "large-scale" initiatives on further developing "specially privileged" Russian-Indian relations.

Defence deal

The two countries would be inking a major deal worth over Rs 5,100 crore for producing AK-203 assault rifles within the country. The AK-203 rifles will replace INSAS rifles inducted more than three decades ago. The Indian Army is expected to acquire 7.5 lakh of these rifles.

Putin during his one-day visit is also scheduled to hand over the model of an S-400 air defence system to Prime Minister Narendra Modi as a symbol of delivery of the weapon system to India,

The main attraction of the visit would be the finalisation of the AK-203 assault rifle deal which would be produced in Amethi, Uttar Pradesh.

The production of the over five lakh rifles by the India-Russia joint venture company would see a complete transfer of technology within seven years of signing the contract.

ANI further said that the two sides will discuss the Igla air defence system deal but that is not likely to be signed during this visit.

A key pact that could be signed is the Reciprocal Exchange of Logistics Agreement (RELOS), which will allow militaries of the two nations to access logistics and support facilities at each other’s bases.

Bilateral agreements

India and Russia are expected to ink more than 10 bilateral agreements including issues like connectivity, shipping, space, military-technical cooperation, science and technology, education, and culture.

Afghanistan and Syria

The two sides are also expected to discuss in detail regional security concerns including Afghanistan, and the fallout of the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan, which is a common concern for both India and Russia.

They are also expected to hold in-depth discussions of the key regional and international topics, including the situation in the Asia-Pacific region and developments in Syria.

Terrorism

It is learnt that the joint statement to be issued after the summit is likely to reflect India's concerns over cross-border terrorism and the security implications arising out of the Afghan crisis. The rising threat of terrorism including from groups like Lashkar-e-Taiba and Jaish-e-Mohammed will also be discussed.

The Russian envoy said there will also be a "formidable joint political document" after the summit covering all spheres of the relationship between the two countries. Prime Minister Modi and President Putin will hold a one-on-meeting before the summit. A dinner will also be hosted for the Russian leader.

With input from agencies

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