Modi, Putin To Meet Today

Modi, Putin To Meet Today

Dec. 6, 2021, 7:29 a.m.

Russian President Vladimir Putin will be in India for talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi today.

It's the first such bilateral meeting in two years. The leaders are expected to discuss ways to strengthen cooperation in the fields of economy, security and energy. The two countries have been on friendly terms since the Cold War era.

The meeting comes as the so-called Quad alliance is taking shape. The grouping includes the US, Japan, Australia and India, whose leaders agreed in September to work together more closely. The Quad is seen as an effort to counter the growing challenges from China.

But the Putin administration is concerned that the alliance is actually aimed not only at China, but also Russia. Observers say Putin apparently aims to drive a wedge between the US and India.

Modi also seems eager to forge better relations with Russia, especially militarily. India's ties with China have been strained since June of last year when their forces clashed in a disputed region. India has had strong military cooperation with Russia. Over 60 percent of weapons the country has imported since 2010 are Russian-made.

A US-based defense expert says Washington is wary of Russia's moves to get friendly with India. Anish Goel of New America said, "What the Biden administration wanted is for India to take a more active role in the security posture in the Indo-Pacific. The US and Russia are competing for the attention of India."

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