Following the Wuhan summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping, Prime Minister Narendra Modi is now getting ready for yet another one - with Vladimir Putin in the seaside resort of Sochi on Monday next week.
The MEA said the meeting would see the two leaders exchange their views on matters of worldwide importance "in a broad and long-term perspective with the objective" to strengthen India and Russia's "special and privileged strategic partnership". "Both leaders will also discuss their respective national developmental priorities and bilateral matters", said the statement.
The Prime Minister's previously unannounced visit comes after National Security Adviser Ajit Doval and Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale visited Moscow last week to discuss a way out of the United States sanctions on Russian firms.
A press release issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said that Modi will be visiting Russian Federation for an informal summit in Sochi on May 21. Observers have termed the move significant to boost investments in India. It added that the "informal summit" was in "keeping with the tradition of regular consultations between India and Russian Federation at the highest levels".
Regarding India-Russia relations, although the two countries have been allies over several decades, the change of times has seen India getting closer more to the West than Moscow, resulting in creation of new equations between Russia and Pakistan.
Modi's visit to Russian Federation also comes just after Putin won a fourth term in office in March this year after remaining in power for nearly two decades. "We need to affirm in the face of a hard geopolitical climate that the strategic partnership between India and Russian Federation remains relevant", he told The Wire. During that meeting PM Modi praised Putin.
Putin is also expected to visit India later this year for the annual bilateral summit.
The visit will provide an opportunity to the two leaders to review the entire gamut of bilateral relations, particularly in the defence and security field, and also to take stock of important global developments, including the U.S. decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear accord and the situation in Afghanistan, Syria and the Korean peninsula. This could impact India's acquisition of defence spares as well as other defence deals in the pipeline, like the S 400 anti-missile system.