Indian Prime Minister Visits Moscow for Talks With Vladimir Putin

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Moscow on Monday for a two-day state visit that included a meeting with Russian President Vladimir Putin scheduled for Monday night.

Debate over the intended significance of Modi’s visit was rife in foreign policy circles on Monday. Officially, the Indian government said Modi was simply resuming a long-standing tradition of bilateral summits with Russia that was interrupted by first the Wuhan coronavirus pandemic and then Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. India has maintained cordial relations with Russia since the Cold War, upgrading to an official “strategic partnership” with an agreement signed in 2000.

The New York Times on Monday thought Modi wanted to signal his “determination to stick to his own diplomatic path” by hopping over to Moscow at a moment when the Western world is eager to isolate Putin and pressure him for peace.

For his part, Putin could use Modi’s visit to demonstrate that “the Kremlin continues to have a strong partnership with India, despite India’s deepening relationship with the United States.” India buys massive amounts of Russian oil at discount prices, an arrangement that has benefited both countries tremendously since the outbreak of the Ukraine war.

Bloomberg News speculated that Modi and Putin needed to clean up some thorny issues in their bilateral relationship. India is especially worried about Russia getting closer to regional arch-rival China, which has probably done more to help Russia get through sanctions than even India’s gigantic oil purchases. India’s massive trade imbalance with Russia is also causing Modi some political trouble at home. (Read more from “Indian Prime Minister Visits Moscow for Talks With Vladimir Putin” HERE)