The informal summit in Sochi will be somewhat similar to the Wuhan summit. PM Modi is expected to have a one-on-one interaction with his Russian counterpart

by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury

New Delhi: The genesis of the first ever informal summit between PM Narendra Modi and President Vladimir Putin was laid when both spoke over phone in April for the third time in 2018 so far.

As India and China gave the final touches to their informal summit in Wuhan senior officials from India and Russia firmed up the idea for an informal summit between Modi and Putin. Despite the next annual summit scheduled in India in October, persons familiar with the development told ET this was done with an eye on firming up strategic partnership amid fast changing Geo-politics.

The two leaders, who share good personal chemistry, gave the green signal after senior officials of both sides finalised the date and venue for the informal summit.

The informal summit in Sochi on May 21 will be somewhat similar to the Wuhan summit. Modi and Putin will be engaged in a one-on-one interaction soon after the PM arrives in the resort city on the morning of May 21. This will be followed by a lunch where both leaders will be accompanied only by senior officials from both sides. Thereafter, the two leaders will be engaged in another tete-a-tete including interaction through a possible walk. Modi is expected to return on the night of May 21.

Modi and Putin had one-on-one meeting last year through a walk in St Petersburg where Modi was present for the annual summit followed by his keynote address at as guest of honour at the St Petersburg International Economic Forum (SPIEF) in June last year.

The two leaders are expected to focus on the broad trends in current geo-politics – the North Korean situation, Iran nuclear deal, West Asia and Afghanistan – besides ideas to ramp up bilateral strategic & defence ties and economic partnership between the two countries. Special emphasis will be on significance of a multi-polar world, rule of international law, sanctions as tool of global politics as well as Free Trade, officials told ET. The two sides are expected to offer a broad sense of the dialogue through press conferences following the meetings.

However, given one-on-one meet and wide array of issues, the agenda is open-ended and broad at the Sochi Summit. The two leaders could focus on a variety of subjects and are expected to give directions to their officials in expanding partnership.

The venue of the Summit -- Sochi -- is a resort city along the Black Sea famous for hosting international meets and the Winter Olympics. Sochi is hosting a number of international conferences and bilateral meets this week covering wide range of areas from nuclear energy to Eurasian Economic Union.