Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday said that he would boost ties with Moscow as he met Russian President Vladimir Putin at the Kremlin’s showcase economic forum in Russia’s far east.
Russia has hosted the three-day forum in Vladivostok since 2015 to boost partnerships with Asian nations.
“This is a historic opportunity to give a new impetus to cooperation between our countries,” Modi said at the start of talks after the men toured a naval shipyard.
“Today we are going to sign a declaration ... expressing our desire to further increase cooperation,” Putin said.
Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was also to visit Vladivostok, along with Mongolian President Khaltmaa Battulga and Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.
However, Putin was spending most of his time yesterday with Modi, who highlighted his ties with the Russian leader in an interview ahead of the forum.
“Our relationship has special chemistry, special ease,” Modi told newspaper Rossiyskaya Gazeta.
Modi said he also planned to discuss tiger conservation with Putin, a lover of big cats.
After shaking hands warmly on Modi’s arrival, the two men boarded a Russian navy patrol ship and headed to the Zvezda shipyard about 40km across a bay from Vladivostok.
India is a key client for Russia’s arms industry and Moscow was looking to make progress on new deals during the talks.
Ahead of the visit, Kremlin foreign policy aide Yury Ushakov said that “increasing mutual investments” and “energy cooperation” would be high on the agenda.
Trade between the two nations amounted to about US$11 billion last year.
Moscow and Delhi are also looking at “opportunities to explore hydrocarbons on the continental shelf in the Arctic and the Russian far east” together, Ushakov said.
Russia and India in 2015 signed a US$1 billion agreement to jointly make Kamov Ka-226 military helicopters, part of the “Make in India” initiative to encourage foreign companies to manufacture their products there, but the deal has been pushed back repeatedly.
A major arms importer looking to modernize its armed forces, India is keen to produce more on its own soil, and in March launched a joint venture with Russia to manufacture AK-203 assault rifles.
Rostec, the umbrella corporation that controls Kamov, is “hopeful” that the summit can kick-start the helicopter project, its director for international cooperation Viktor Kladov said last week.
“A major push will be made, definitely,” he said. “All technical and commercial talks are finished.”
India last year purchased the Russian S-400 advanced air defense systems for more than US$5 billion, with deliveries to be made by 2023, defying US warnings of sanctions on nations buying Russian arms.
TARNISHED LEGACY: Woodrow Wilson served as the university’s president before becoming the US’ 28th leader, but his racism was ‘significant and consequential’ Princeton University is removing former US president Woodrow Wilson’s name from its public policy school and one of its residential colleges after trustees concluded that the 28th president’s “racist thinking and policies” made him “an inappropriate namesake.” The Ivy League school’s trustees made the decision on Friday, according to a statement on Saturday. It comes at a time of widespread rethinking of the US’ racial legacy. The Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement, energized by a series of high-profile deaths of black Americans, has resulted in the removal of Confederate monuments, flags and symbols of racism across the US. Deleting Wilson’s name at Princeton
‘FULLY ENCLOSED’: Residents of Anxin County would be confined to their homes and would only be allowed out once a day to buy necessities such as food and medicine China yesterday imposed a strict lockdown on nearly half a million people near the capital to contain a fresh COVID-19 cluster as authorities warned the outbreak was still “severe and complicated.” After China largely brought the virus under control, hundreds have been infected in Beijing and cases have emerged in Hebei Province. Health officials said that Anxin County — about 150km from Beijing — would be “fully enclosed and controlled,” the same strict measures imposed at the height of the pandemic in the city of Wuhan earlier this year. Only one person from each family would be allowed to go out once a
Japan said it opposed changes to the G7 nations as it pushed back against a reform plan by US President Donald Trump that would have rival South Korea this year join in an expanded meeting. Tokyo has told the US it stands against South Korea’s participation on the grounds of differences in policy on China and North Korea, Kyodo News reported this weekend, citing more than one source related to Japanese and US diplomacy. Japan also wants to maintain its status as the only Asian country in the group, the news agency added. Japanese Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga yesterday told reporters that
The onset of summer has sparked a rise in incidents of “mask rage” in South Korea as more hot and bothered commuters either refuse to wear face coverings or leave parts of their faces exposed. In South Korea, Japan and other countries in East Asia, widespread mask wearing has been cited as one possible explanation for the region’s relative success in bringing the COVID-19 pandemic under control. South Korea, one of the first countries outside China to be affected by the virus, flattened the coronavirus curve in April, although it is now struggling with dozens of daily cases, mainly in and around