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Stronger energy ties, more trade to dominate agenda when Modi meets Putin today

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are meeting Friday on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Uzbekistan.

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Samarkand, Uzbekistan: Enhancing energy and trade ties is going to be the highlight of a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin Friday.

Both leaders are meeting on the sidelines of the ongoing Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) Summit in Samarkand, Uzbekistan.

Apart from boosting energy ties, India and Russia are expected to finalise a fertiliser deal for a period of three years, people in the know told ThePrint.

The meeting between Modi and Putin comes at a time when the Russia-Ukraine war has exceeded six months and the Group of Seven countries, or the G7, is rigorously working out a price cap mechanism for purchasing Russian oil.

According to sources, both India and China are unlikely to join the G7 price cap plan.

Speaking to the media about PM Modi’s trip to Uzbekistan for the SCO Summit, foreign secretary Vinay Mohan Kwatra said: “We have said this several times on other platforms also, that when Indian entities go out and try to respond to India’s need for energy security and procure oil, they essentially procure it from the market.”

“These are not government-to-government purchases that we do. On the price cap coalition, well, what form it takes, what shape it evolves into, is something which the people, the countries that have floated that idea, perhaps can better answer,” he added.

Also read: India is watching the Russia-Ukraine war. And Biden is watching Modi

Boosting trade ties

Earlier this week, announcing the meeting between Modi and Putin, the Kremlin said: “There are plans to discuss issues of ‘saturation’ of the Indian market with Russian fertilisers and bilateral food supplies… First of all, moves aimed at boosting bilateral trade flows will be looked at. The trade turnover reached $11.5 billion in the first half of 2022, up almost 120 per cent year-on-year.”

Notwithstanding the slew of stiff western sanctions, India is determined to increase its oil purchases from Russia, which have jumped 50 times since April 2022, making Moscow one of New Delhi’s top 10 oil suppliers.

Earlier this month, during the Eastern Economic Forum, which was held in Russia’s Vladivostok, Modi said: “There is immense scope for cooperation in the field of energy and there is a huge potential in this area that remains untapped.”

He even sought supplies of coking coal from Russia to feed India’s steel industry.

Two-way trade between India and Russia reportedly reached $11.5 billion in the first half of 2022, a surge of nearly 120 per cent on the same period last year.

Modi had addressed the forum virtually where he also spoke about strengthening connectivity within the Eurasian region with one of the focal points being the International North-South Transport Corridor (INSTC).

(Edited by Nida Fatima Siddiqui)

Also read: India can play bigger role in global nuclear politics. Ukraine fence-sitting stands in way


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