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Vladimir Putin’s India visit to boost cooperation in space, energy sectors

Vladimir Putin’s India visit to boost cooperation in space, energy sectors
Highlights

As India gets ready to sign the S400 missile defence deal when Narendra Modi meets Vladimir Putin for formal discourse on Friday, New Delhi will be...

New Delhi: As India gets ready to sign the S-400 missile defence deal when Narendra Modi meets Vladimir Putin for formal discourse on Friday, New Delhi will be aware that the move may potentially invite US sanctions and Annual summit between India and Russia this year will have indication for India’s relations with the US.

Putin, accompanied by a high-level delegation that incorporates foreign minister Sergei Lavrov, will arrive in India on Thursday evening when he is expected to have a private dinner with PM Narendra Modi. Sources said Russia has offered to provide equipment and training for the mission, with a “Make in India” component. Energy is the next boundary for India-Russia cooperation with India having vastly grown its investment in Russia’s energy sector.

On Friday, after formal delegation talks, India and Russia are supposed to sign a set of key pacts. While the defence agreement will control the headlines, India and Russia are also expected to announce a new space cooperation mechanism. This was put in motion after Modi declared that India would send a man to the moon by 2022. Meanwhile, officials have engaged extensively with the US to prepare them for the S-400 deal + and India-Russia relations in general. During the recent 2+2 talks, Mattis and Pompeo held an hour-long “offline” conversation with national security adviser Ajit Doval on the subject. Russia has also offered to train an Indian cosmonaut to travel to its portion of the International Space Station as part of the preparation for the manned moon travel. Putin recently set a former deputy PM Dmitry Rogozin as chief of Roscosmos, which makes it easier for India, sources said.

The first shipment of LPG from Russia arrived in Gujarat earlier this year, which led oil minister Dharmendra Pradhan to propose that Russia should partner India in the gasification of its economy. In 2017, for instance, energy brought in from Russia grew tenfold.ONGC Videsh Ltd, sources said, is raising stakes in Russia’s far east. To make it facile for business, Russia has now introduced an e-visa for visitors to that region. Its an area of vulnerability for Russia, situated as it is on China’s border, where the border regions are facing extension in Chinese immigration.

However, Russia will continue to resist India’s Indo-Pacific policy. Sources said Russia will engage India on ‘Asia-Pacific’, refusing to concede the Indo-Pacific, in deference to China. That will be a sticking point between India and Russia, even though Delhi is out with its way to engage Russia on this. Russia and India also differ on Afghanistan where Russia wants to involve Taliban and bring it to the power structure, which is unacceptable at this point to India

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