The visit should also been viewed in the context of meetings between world leaders and Putin

NEW DELHI: The Modi government has emphasised that it will not allow India’s defence requirements to be dictated by any other country -- ahead of the PM’s fist ever informal summit with Russian President Vladimir Putin next Monday at Sochi – amid US sanctions on Russian defence firm that could impact defence sales to Delhi.

While Delhi is lobbying both with the Trump administration as well as US Congress on seeking exemption for defence purchases from Russia to safeguard its requirements, Delhi is of opinion that Moscow is an old, tested and deep-rooted partner that safeguarded India’s national security and defence interests for decades, persons familiar with the developments indicated to ET. "The underlying point is the fact that Russia is a reliable and trusted defence partner," asserted one of the persons quoted above.

The issue of sanctions as a tool in international politics will be key item on the agenda of discussions when Modi meets Putin one-on-one for close to six hours on Monday in the Black Sea resort town of Sochi. Several ongoing developments in geo-politics including fate of Iran nuclear deal, India’s role in Chabahar Port, connectivity via Iran (INSTC), Af-Pak situation, West Asian crisis and spread of the Islamic State would be some of key items on the agenda of dialogue.

Moscow has given Delhi assurance that it will not allow act against its security interests through any partnership with Pakistan, noted one of the persons quoted above amid reports of growing Russia-Pak partnership. Russia on its part appreciated India’s position on chemical attacks in UK and Syria. The Indian point on this matter is clear that is important to establish facts.

The Modi-Putin informal summit should also be viewed in the context of the Indian PM’s dialogue with various world leaders and major powers including the Chinese President, German Chancellor, British PM and French Presidents. In the region Modi would meet Bangladesh PM Sheikh Hasina in Shantiniketan on May 25, a venue which is outside Delhi.

The visit should also been viewed in the context of meetings between world leaders and Putin. While the German Chancellor is meeting Putin on Friday, the French President and Japanese PM will travel to St Petersburg for the St Petersburg International Economic Forum or SPIEF in near future. Japanese PM Shinzo Abe’s visit to Russia was among the various issues that was discussed during 30 minute phone call between him and Modi on Wednesday. The two leaders also discussed the Wuhan Summit, role of China in Geo-politics and the Indo-Pacific construct. 

While international and regional developments will dominate Modi-Putin summit including agenda for forthcoming SCO and BRICS Summits besides India’s inclusion in the Eurasian Economic Union, bilateral issues will not be left untouched including defence ties, counter-terrorism, cyber security cooperation and respective domestic agenda. It is understood PM will seek to corporate some of President Putin’s domestic economic agenda into India’s economic requirements in the start -up and energy sectors, according to one of persons quoted above.

India and Russia are engaged in third country energy cooperation – nuclear energy in Bangladesh and third country cooperation could also be on the informal and flexible agenda of the Sochi Summit. This Summit, ahead of the Indo-Russian formal Summit scheduled in India in October, will not result in any documents.