The first edition of India-Russia ‘2+2’ defence and foreign ministry conversation may take place alongside a summit between Narendra Modi and Vladimir Putin.
The very first edition of the India-Russia ‘2+2’ defence and foreign ministry conversation may take place alongside a summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin, which is expected to take place on December 6, according to PTI. Due to schedule constraints, the two parties are considering holding the ‘2+2’ dialogue around the time of the summit. At the summit, the two sides are expected to finalise a number of agreements in the fields of defence, trade and investment, and science and technology. The summit will also announce a joint committee on technology and science, as well as refresh a framework for military-technical cooperation for the next decade.
Vladimir Putin is expected to visit India on December 6 for a bilateral meeting with Narendra Modi. The meeting was rescheduled last year due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Russia has always been a reliable partner for India and an important pillar of New Delhi’s foreign policy. So far, 20 Annual Summit meetings have alternated between India and Russia. Both nations have a framework in place that allows India’s prime minister and Russia’s president to meet annually for a review of all ties.
Afghanistan expected to be a significant topic at summit
India and Russia have also reached the last stages of negotiating a logistics assistance agreement, which is expected to be completed at the ‘2+2’ talks or at the summit. The mounting humanitarian catastrophe in Afghanistan, as well as the consequences of the Taliban’s capture of Kabul for regional security, are expected to be significant topics at the summit. Whereas, the ‘2+2’ agreement will allow the forces of the two countries to use one other’s bases for supply repair and replenishment, as well as facilitate the expansion of overall defence cooperation.
Moreover, External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will soon meet their Russian counterparts, Sergey Lavrov and Sergey Shoygu. Jaishankar and Singh were slated to fly to Moscow in the latter week of November, but the itinerary has been changed due to the Winter session of Parliament, which begins on November 29. The two ministers were also expected to fly to Washington for the India-US ‘2+2’ talks later this month or early December with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and Defence Secretary Lloyd Austin. However, according to PTI, the negotiations are now likely to be pushed out until January.