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Modi in Moscow for the first time since the Ukraine offensive

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived Monday à Moscow for its first visit to Russia since the assault on Ukraine, with India looking to further attack. maintain its traditional alliance with Moscow and pursue its strategy of autonomous positioning.

Mr. Modi, who was reappointed as head of his country in June, spoke with Vladimir Putin during an “informal” tête-à-tête in the evening. The two men will also meet on Tuesday for extended talks, before the Indian leader continues with a trip to Vienna.

They appeared on Russian television around a cup of tea in Mr. Putin's residence in Novo-Ogariovo, near Moscow. The president also drove his counterpart in an electric car around the gardens and the two men attended a horse show, according to Russian news agencies.

“You have your own ideas, you are a very energetic person, you know how to achieve results in the interests of India and the Indian people,” the Russian leader said.

Mr. Modi thanked Mr. Putin for this welcome and said “to look forward to tomorrow's talks, which will certainly contribute to strengthening the ties of friendship between India and Russia”.

Russia is a key supplier of cheap arms and oil to India, even if its confrontation with the West and its rapprochement with China, in the context of the conflict in Ukraine, have had an impact on its relations with New Delhi.

The leader of the Asian giant will discuss with the Russian president the “development of traditionally friendly Russian-Indian relations, as well as the 'international agenda', according to the Kremlin.

The United States and its Western allies have cultivated ties with India in recent years to counter China's growing influence in the Asia-Pacific region, while pressuring it to move away from Moscow.

New Delhi, however, refused to take a clear side by not explicitly condemning the Russian attack against Ukraine and by abstaining from voting on the resolutions of the 'UN against Moscow.

Supporter of a multipolar world, India continues at the same time to develop its relations in the field of security with the United States, a hated rival of Russia which poses itself as the champion of multipolarity with the primary objective of weakening the West on the world stage.

The conflict in Ukraine has, however, “transformed” its relations with Moscow, explains expert Swasti Rao of the think tank Manohar Parrikar Institute for Defense Studies and Analyses, noting that new “challenges” have emerged.

– More oil, fewer weapons –

The previous visit to Russia by Narendra Modi, who in June obtained a third mandate at the head of the most populous country in the world, dates back to 2019. Two years later, at the end of 2021, he welcomed Vladimir Putin in New Delhi.

Both The leaders last met officially in September 2022, in Uzbekistan, during a summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

Moscow and New Delhi a close relationship since the Cold War. For a long time, Russia was India's main arms supplier and now the share of Russian arms imports has fallen sharply in recent years.

The intensity of the conflict against Ukraine has monopolized and melted Russian arms stocks, pushing its Indian partner to look for other suppliers and develop its own military industry. For example, it ordered French Rafale aircraft for its air force.

At the same time, in the wake of the Russian attack of February 2022, India bought large quantities of Russian oil sold at a discount and redirected, due to Western sanctions, towards the Indian market by Moscow.

New Delhi thus saves money while fueling the economy and the Kremlin's war machine, which has earned it criticism from Western governments.

– “Too late” –

Possible areas of tension nevertheless exist.

India particularly takes a dim view of the ongoing strong rapprochement between its great Chinese rival and Moscow, fearing to find itself overlooked by an enormous Russian geographical entity- Chinese led by Beijing.

“Some think that India must move closer to Russia to prevent it from falling into the Chinese fold”, indicates the analyst Swasti Rao. “Others think it's too late.”

The Russian attack on Ukraine also had a human cost for India. In February, New Delhi said it was pushing the Kremlin to send back Indian citizens who found themselves fighting on the front.

After Moscow, Narendra Modi must go to Vienna, for the first visit by an Indian leader to the Austrian capital since 1983.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116