No Modi-Putin summit scheduled as of now


Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting. File

Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a meeting. File
| Photo Credit: Reuters

As of now, there is no summit scheduled between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin of Russia in December, sources have confirmed to The Hindu. In the meanwhile, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov on Saturday hinted at an Indian role in settling “problems”, adding that he supported India and Brazil’s presence in the UN Security Council.

A meeting between the two was expected to be held this month as part of the annual India-Russia summits. The last summit between the two leaders was held last year when Mr. Putin had visited Delhi for a brief visit when the annual talks were held at the Hyderabad House.

The expectation, therefore, was that it was the turn of Moscow to host the Indian leader. However, sources here indicated that so far a summit has not been scheduled. Officials here are cautious about the entire matter and said that the lack of scheduling should not be interpreted in any manner. 

Multiple meetings

Apart from the meeting of last December, Mr. Modi has held several rounds of telephonic conversations with Mr. Putin regarding the Ukraine crisis; first, to find a way out for the Indian students and professionals from Ukraine, and second, to find an end to the crisis. The two leaders also met on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit at Samarkand in September, when Mr. Modi had spoken forcefully in favour of finding a peaceful solution to the Ukraine crisis. Subsequently, Mr. Modi attended the G-20 summit in Bali which was skipped by Mr. Putin, as Russia was represented by its Foreign Minister at the summit.

The Modi-Putin summit in Moscow was expected to be a major diplomatic event, as India has maintained a neutral stance on the crisis even in the face of rising western pressure on New Delhi to cut down its gas purchases from Moscow.

‘India’s leadership role’

Mr. Lavrov has, however, struck a positive note and praised India’s leadership role in the emerging multipolar world order. “India is one of the leading countries in terms of economic growth, may be even the leader… New Delhi has vast diplomatic experience in settling various kinds of problems, as well as authority and a reputation in its region,” said Mr. Lavrov, hinting at India’s larger role within the SCO, the United Nations and other regional and global platforms. “We see what added value India and Brazil can bring to the UN Security Council knowing their stances on global and regional issues,” he added.

Sources here also hinted at the possibility of a virtual summit, although that option was not spelt out in detail.

India and Russia have been holding the annual leaders’ summit for more than two decades, and the December 6 2021 summit in Delhi was the twenty-first in the series. The summits have become an institutional mechanism during which major bilateral agreements are firmed up and ideas are exchanged. Barring exceptional circumstances, the annual summits have not been skipped. The summit was skipped in 2020 when the meeting was not held because of the pandemic, among other factors.

India-Russia relations, however, are on an upward trajectory because of the spike in Indian purchases of Russian energy which is being staunchly opposed by the leading western powers. Both sides are also in talks for safeguarding bilateral defence and trade ties from the western sanctions that were imposed on Russia since the beginning of the war in Ukraine.


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