India PM leaves for Russia; defense, energy deals, Netaji files on agenda

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  • Prime Minister Narendra Modi has left for Russia on a two-day visit on 23 December eyeing $7 billion nuclear, helicopter and energy deals with Moscow during talks with President Vladimir Putin.

But the visit has also set tongues wagging is whether Modi would speak to Putin to declassify the KGB files on Netaji Subash Chandra Bose, which might help in bring out the truth behind Netaji’s disappearance.

On 23 December evening, Putin will host a private dinner meet for Modi in Moscow during which the the two leaders are likely to engage in one-on-one talks.

The duo will hold talks on 24 December wherein they are likely to ink vital defence and nuclear energy deals. “I am optimistic about the (visit) outcome,” said Modi, adding, “Russia remains one of India’s most valued friends in the world.”According to defence ministry sources, India is planning to lease a second Russian nuclear submarine. Last week, the ministry cleared the purchase of Russian S-400Triumf air defense missile systems costing Rs 40,000 crore.

Also Modi is set to attend the 16th annual Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) summit. This apart, on 24 December he will also address 3,000 Indians at Expocentre in Moscow.

Russia and India will 200 Kamov-226T helicopters in a joint venture. This is big step for Modi’s campaign to build a domestic industrial base and reduce the military’s dependence on imports. Apart from replacing Chetak-Cheetah helicopeter, India is also looking for Russian help to modernise some IAF choppers.

The Cabinet Committee on Security met on 22 December wherein two deals were cleared, which are likely to be signed during Modi’s visit to Moscow. It may be noted Russia and India will jointly manufacture 200 Kamov-226T helicopters

During the talks, Modi is likely to offer a site in Andhra Pradesh for Russia to set up six nuclear reactors of 1,200 mw each. “While others are making mere promises, Russia is moving forward with the “Make-in-India” programme” the Russian government source said.

Modi and Putin will discuss situation in Syria and ways to tackle terrorism, said foreign secretary S Jaishankar.

On growing economic ties, Russia has slipped behind the US and Israel in getting orders in the Indian defense market to be worth $130 billion over next seven years.