India, Russia to ink energy deals ahead of BRICS

It is believed that among the agreements to be signed between the two leaders are Moscow's delivery of its most advanced anti-aircraft defence system to India.
File : Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Russian President Vladimir Putin

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin are set to ink energy and defence deals on Saturday.

Officials said the deals “a signs of a deepening partnership between the nations”, reports AFP. After arriving in Goa for the BRICS summit, the Russian President will hold talks with PM Modi. The heads of leading emerging nations —Brazil, China and South Africa will also take part in the summit.

It is believed that among the agreements expected to be signed between the two leaders are Moscow’s delivery of its most advanced anti-aircraft defence system to India.

India, the world’s top defence importer, is undergoing a $100-billion upgrade of its Soviet-era military hardware, as it looks to protect its borders from arch-rival Pakistan and an increasingly assertive China.

The reports said the Indian Prime Minister and Putin would also focus on strengthening energy ties to meet India’s growing thirst for fuel and electricity for its fast-growing economy.

Russia’s biggest oil company Rosneft is expected to acquire India’s Essar OilBSE -0.15 per cent in a multi-billion-dollar deal, according to local media reports, quoting officials involved in the agreement.

“The menu is vast,” India’s ambassador to Russia, Pankaj Saran said at a briefing on the talks, without detailing the deals to be signed.

“It is more than a relationship, it is a partnership and very justifiably it has been described by the two leaders as both special and privileged, as well as of course strategic,” Saran said.

“It is very deep and very intense and it is poised to grow even further.”

The Indian ambassador to Russia said he also expected them to discuss India’s tensions with neighbour Pakistan, which spiked after last month’s attack on an Indian army base that killed 19 soldiers.

Modi has sought to isolate Pakistan internationally since the attack that India blamed on Pakistan-based militants.

India said it subsequently carried out strikes against militants over the border in Pakistan, prompting a furious response from Islamabad.

“We have conveyed our views to the Russian side. We are confident that Russia will reflect upon our concerns,” Saran said.