Russia and India are expected to sign the $5 billion S-400 Triumf air defence systems deal along with agreements on security and SME

Russian President Vladimir Putin is set to arrive in India on October 4 for a two-day bilateral visit. This will be the 19th annual India-Russia bilateral summit. The last annual summit was held on June 1, 2017, when Prime Minister Narendra Modi travelled to St Petersburg, Russia.

The Russian president will be meeting Modi in the evening. Both leaders will hold talks on October 5 after which as many as 20 agreements are expected to be signed, including the purchase of S-400 Triumf air defence systems.

Putin and Modi are also expected to deliberate on important regional and global issues that may include recent US sanctions on crude oil imports from Iran.

The two leaders are expected to review bilateral defence cooperation amid US sanctions against Russian defence manufacturing.

Putin is scheduled to call on President Ram Nath Kovind on October 5.

The Russian leader will also interact with a group of children and will address an India-Russia business meet.

S-400 Air Defence System

The focus of the summit will be an agreement on the S-400 air defence missile system. India is seeking the long-range missile system to strengthen its air defence mechanism, especially along the border with China.

The S-400 is considered as the most advanced long-range surface-to-air missile defence system. China too had purchased the S-400 missile system from Russia in 2014.

On October 2, a top Kremlin foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said Putin will oversee the signing of the '$5 billion deal'.

The purchase assumes important as it will violate sanctions under the Countering America's Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) enforced by the US Congress on arms purchases from Russia, though there is a possibility of a presidential waiver.

The US had warned India against the planned purchase. For months, there have been indications from New Delhi that it will sign the deal notwithstanding the US sanctions.

Asked if US sanctions will hit India over the S-400 purchase deal, Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman had earlier told PTI, "India has maintained its sovereignty as regards to its relationship with countries. We shall maintain it in all earnestness."

SME Co-Operation

The Centre on October 3 approved signing of an agreement to promote co-operation between small and medium enterprises of the two countries. The move is expected to open up more opportunities for the Indian SME sector through new markets, joint ventures, sharing of best practices and technology collaborations.

Security Challenges

Putin and Modi will discuss Geo-political challenges in the Afghanistan-Pakistan region and the security threat India faces from Pakistan. The government has reportedly been in talks with Russia over the latter’s defence co-operation with Islamabad. Reports suggest that the issue may be taken up during the bilateral meet.

International regional forums, cultural and people-to-people contact, counter-terrorism, energy security, Syria, science and technology and civil nuclear cooperation are also likely to be on the meet’s agenda, according to a India Today report.

Expansion of Nuclear Ties

The two countries are expected to conclude on an ‘action plan’ for expanding civil nuclear energy partnership, a report by The Economic Times had earlier suggested.

The expansion plan will focus on a second site for a Russian nuclear plant in India and localisation of components for the plants under the ‘Make in India’ initiative.

The plan will also involve strengthening co-operation for the existing Kudankulam nuclear power plant in Tamil Nadu and initiatives in third countries, the report added.