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Security, defence, trade to figure in Modi-Putin meet

By The Assam Tribune

NEW DELHI, Oct 11 - Cooperation in key areas of security, defence and trade will be discussed when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin hold talks on Saturday after which the two sides are expected to conclude �important bilateral agreements�.

Announcing Putin�s four-day visit to Goa from October 14 to 17, External Affairs Ministry said besides attending BRICS Summit on Sunday, he would also hold 17th Indo-Russia Annual Summit where the leaders will review the entire gamut of bilateral ties, including the progress made since their last Summit meeting in Moscow in December 2015.

�Important bilateral agreements are expected to be concluded and a joint statement released at the end of the Summit,� the ministry said.

The meeting between the two comes in the backdrop of the first ever joint Russia-Pakistan military exercise recently. It also comes at a time when India is undertaking large-scale defence modernisation programme involving replacing old Russian equipment with modern ones from the country itself and from other nations.

Besides discussions to boost cooperation in crucial areas of defence, security and trade, the two leaders will exchange views on regional and international issues. Some of the most important defence deals currently under discussion are purchase of five S-400 �Triumf� long-range air defence missile systems, Kamov-28 helicopters and upgradation of the Sukhoi 30-MKIs.

Another project under focus would be the long pending joint development of the fifth generation fighter aircraft (FGFA). India is also looking at leasing an Akula-class nuclear submarine from Russia.

The ministry said given that the year 2017 marks the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between the two countries, a number of commemorative celebrations are planned.

Meanwhile, ahead of their annual bilateral summit, India has conveyed its opposition to Russia over its joint exercise with Pakistan, a nation which �sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of state policy�, saying it will create further problems.

�We have conveyed our views to the Russian side that military cooperation with Pakistan which is a state that sponsors and practises terrorism as a matter of state policy is a wrong approach and it will only create further problems,� Indian Ambassador to Moscow Pankaj Saran said in an interview to Russian news agency Ria Novosti.

India has been communicating its unhappiness to Russia over its joint military exercises with Pakistan. However, these concerns have been played down by the Russians who maintain that they hold similar military drills with other countries of the region as well. � PTI

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