New Delhi, May 20: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russia President Vladimir Putin will be meeting in Sochi today, May 21. The agenda of the meeting will be key issues of developing the Russia-India privileged strategic partnership and exchange opinions on pressing items on the international and regional agenda. Both countries have served good relations.

In the series of tweets, Prime Minister Narendra Modi tweeted, “Am confident the talks with President Putin will further strengthen the Special and Privileged Strategic Partnership between India and Russia.”

“Greetings to the friendly people of Russia.  I look forward to my visit to Sochi tomorrow and my meeting with President Putin.  It is always a pleasure to meet him,” reads his another tweet.

The Prime Minister’s visit comes after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow earlier this month to discuss a way out of the US sanctions on Russian firms.

Agenda of the “agendaless” talks

1) The two leaders will primarily focus on global and regional issues, including the impact of the US decision to withdraw from a nuclear deal with Iran.

2) Official sources said the two leaders would meet for 4-6 hours for the “agendaless” talks where deliberations on bilateral issues were likely to be limited.

3) They said the issues on the table might include the economic impact on India and Russia in the wake of the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, the situation in Afghanistan and Syria, the threat of terrorism and matters relating to the upcoming SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organisation) and BRICS summits.

4) The sources said the possible impact of the US sanctions against Russia under the Countering America’s Adversaries through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) on Indo-Russia defence cooperation may also figure during the talks between Modi and Putin.

5) The two leaders may also deliberate on extending the Indo-Russia civil nuclear cooperation to third countries, possible areas for cooperation for the International North-South Transport Corridor project, India’s engagement with the five-nation Eurasian Economic Union and the situation in the Korean peninsula.

6) Russia is keen to enhance economic cooperation with India. Putin has been making concerted efforts to push economic growth in his country which witnessed significant slowdown following Western sanctions after the Ukraine crisis.

An External Affairs Ministry release said Modi’s visit to Russia will be an important occasion for him and Putin to exchange views on international matters in a broad and long-term perspective in order to further strengthen the special and privileged strategic partnership.

“Both leaders will discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters,” the statement said. It said the informal summit was in keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russia at the highest level. Putin is also expected to visit India later this year for the annual bilateral summit. Russia and Japan are the only two countries with which India holds annual bilateral summits.

Modi’s visit to Russia also comes just after Putin won a fourth term in office in March this year after remaining in power for almost two decades. Modi and Putin last met in Russia last year. According to reports, after meeting Putin, Modi will be traveling to Indonesia and Singapore, and then China for the SCO summit. Modi will meet Putin for the BRICS summit in South Africa and again in Argentina for the G-20 summit.

Earlier this month, PM Modi also met Chinese President Xi Jingping and pledged to keep the India-China border quiet and avert Doklam-like military stand-off in future. The two leaders underscored that it is important to maintain peace along India-China border region and decided that they will issue strategic guidance to their respective militaries to strengthen communications and to build trust and understanding.

(With agencies inputs)