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PM Modi to visit Moscow for annual summit, Vienna first in 40 years

By Priti Prakash | PUBLISHED: 06, Jul 2024, 15:02 pm IST | UPDATED: 11, Jul 2024, 14:37 pm IST

PM Modi to visit Moscow for annual summit, Vienna first in 40 years New Delhi: Prime Minister Modi will be on a two-nation tour to Russia and Austria. He will pay an official visit to Moscow on 8th-9th July at the invitation of the President of the Russian Federation for the 22nd Annual Summit.

The last meeting, 21st Annual Summit, was held in New Delhi in December 2021. Modi & Putin thereafter met in September 2022 in Samarkand on the margins of the SCO Summit in Uzbekistan. They have also stayed in touch with each other through several telephonic conversations through these years.

Informing about PM Modi's programme, Foreign Secretary Vinay Kwatra, in a special briefing to reporters said, on his arrival in Moscow in the late afternoon of 8th July, President Putin will host a private dinner for Honourable Prime Minister. The next day, Prime Minister's interactions would include an interface with the Indian community in Russia. As part of programming elements, Prime Minister will also lay a wreath at the tomb of the unknown soldier in Kremlin. And thereafter, he will visit the Rosatom Pavilion at the exhibition venue in Moscow.

MEA confirmed that these engagements will be followed by a restricted level talk between the two leaders, which will then be followed by delegation level talks led by the Prime Minister and the Russian President. Prime Minister Modi will depart Moscow for Vienna in the afternoon of 9th July.

The 22nd annual summit between India and Russia would provide an opportunity to the two leaders to review the whole range of bilateral issues, including defence, trade linkages, investment ties, energy cooperation, S&T, education, culture, and people-to-people exchanges. They would also share perspectives on regional and global developments of mutual interest. They would also assess the status of bilateral engagements in groupings such as BRICS, Shanghai Cooperation Organization, G20, East Asia Summit, and the UN.

The issue of early discharge of Indian nationals who have been misled into the service of the Russian army is also expected to figure in the discussions. Other areas of interest would also include cooperation across the range of areas that I just listed out above.

India-Russia have a Special and Privileged Partnership since 2020, which has remained resilient in the wake of multiple geopolitical challenges that the world has been facing. Annual summit between the two leaders is the highest mechanism to steer and drive the cooperation between our two countries. Our bilateral exchanges with Russia have also remained fairly frequent over the last year. The two foreign ministers have met several times last year. Most recently, they met day before yesterday on the sidelines of the SCO summit. EAM had also visited Moscow and St. Petersburg in December last year. And the two National Security Advisers have also met a few times last year.

India-Russia bilateral trade has seen a sharp increase in 2023-24. It has since touched close to $65 billion, primarily due to strong energy cooperation between India and Russia. With Indian exports of $4 billion and Indian imports being close to $60 billion, trade remains imbalanced, which is a matter of priority in our discussions with the Russian side.

We also have growing investment ties between the two countries, including in the field of energy, banking, railways, and steel. These are the growing areas of our investment partnership. Russia also remains an important partner for India's energy security and defence. In the area of nuclear energy, Kudankulam Nuclear Power Plant units 1 and 2 have already become operational. And the work is progressing on units 3 and 6.

In the field of defence also, we continue to work closely across a full range of its sub-domains. Both sides are currently working on a series of outcome documents, which would be the result of the summit. The specifics of these outcomes would be shared with our media friends as and when they are finalized.

Austria Leg

In the second leg of the trip, Prime Minister will be visiting Austria on 9-10 July at the invitation of the Chancellor of Austria. This will be Prime Minister Modi's first visit to Austria. Prime Minister had met then Austrian Chancellor, who's now the Foreign Minister, Schallenberg, in October’21 on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow. The last Prime Ministerial visit from India to Austria, took place more than 40 years ago.

In terms of programming elements, the Prime Minister, besides the ceremonial welcome being accorded to him, would also call on the President of Austria and hold restricted delegation-level talks as also a high-level business engagement in Austria.

Austria is an important central European country. The headquarters of, as you would all know, International Atomic Energy Agency, UNIDO, UNODC, and OSCE. Austria offers excellent opportunities for bilateral cooperation in infrastructure, renewable energy, high technology areas, start-up sectors, media and entertainment.

Austria-India trade is largely balanced and has registered good growth over the last couple of years. Our investment linkages also continue to grow, even though in volume terms, they may be small. Several Austrian companies have presence in India. In February '24, an India-Austria Start-up bridge was also launched, which has already had a very promising start. India and Austria had also signed a Comprehensive Migration and Mobility Agreement in May last year, and both sides will continue to work closely to expand and explore new areas of bilateral partnership.

The visit will allow us to discuss various areas of importance in bilateral engagement, as also issues of regional and global importance of mutual interest, and help broaden the scope of our partnership.
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