After being accorded a guard of honour at the Vnukova II airport amid light drizzle and overcast conditions, the visiting Indian PM said that both India and Russia share the same stand on resolving the ongoing crisis in the West Asian nation “through political and diplomatic means and through intra-Syrian dialogue”. He also said that Russian intervention in Syria is necessary as Moscow has long been fighting extremists in different parts of the world.

 

The Indian premier told the Russian media that although the main purpose of his two-day visit is to attend the 16th India-Russia Annual Summit on Thursday and to boost bilateral trade ties, he would also discuss the current political situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism with Russian leaders. According to Modi, he chaired a meeting of the Cabinet Committee on Security on Tuesday and the committee cleared two major deals that are scheduled to be signed with Moscow during his trip. He informed the press that the two “friendly” nations will jointly manufacture 200 Kamov-226T helicopters. Terming the project as a first big step for his “Make in India” push in the Indian defence sector, Modi stressed that he is eager to sign a raft of agreements, spanning a broad spectrum of sectors, with Russia.

 

Premier Modi further assured the top leadership in Kremlin that Russia will remain India’s “principal partner” in defence sector, insisting that the two strategic partners should work together for joint manufacture of advanced defence equipment in the South Asian country under his “Make in India” initiative. “Russia has been India’s foremost defence partner through decades, accounting for a majority of our defence equipment. Even in the current environment, despite India’s improved access to the world market, Russia remains our principal partner,” he told Itar-Taas. The PM also praised Russia for supplying defence equipment to India in the past, stating: “Indians will never forget the Russian support that we got when we needed it the most.”

 

Later on Wednesday, President Vladimir Putin hosted a dinner for his Indian guest. According to sources close to the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), Modi expressed serious concern over Russia’s decision to supply attack helicopters to Pakistan during his meeting with President Putin. However, the PMO is yet to reveal the Russian president’s reaction when Modi raised the issue. A senior PMO official said that the two leaders will discuss various issues, including the supply of attack helicopters to Pakistan, during their meeting on Thursday evening. Prime Minister Modi is scheduled to meet delegation of Indian and Russian CEOs in the Kremlin, address a gathering of Friends of India and meet members of the Indian community in Russia on Thursday.

 

Before leaving for New Delhi, the PM will visit to Russia’s National Crisis Management Centre (NCMC) in Moscow. The NCMC is a multi-level co-ordination centre designed to provide inter-agency co-ordination and alert the people about the threat of emergency situations.

 

InSerbia