INDIA & RUSSIA: STRATEGIC PARTNERSHIP
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi met President Vladimir Putin in Moscow with the goal of securing what would be his nation's biggest weapons deal with Russia since 2001, strengthening military ties dating back to the Soviet era against newer suppliers like the U.S.
Modi and Putin hailed what they termed a "strategic partnership" at their Kremlin meeting on Thursday and pledged to boost business ties, with the Indian leader signaling progress on defense projects to ensure his country upgrades its weapons capability.
"As I look to the future, I see Russia as a significant partner in India's economic transformation and in shaping a balanced, inclusive and a multi-polar world," Modi told reporters.
Winning a significant slice of the $150 billion that Modi plans to spend to upgrade his military could be a welcome diversion for Putin, who's bracing for a second year of recession amid Western sanctions and low oil prices. The S-400 air defense missile systems India plans to buy are among the "crown jewels" of Moscow's defense capability, according to Jon Grevatt, Asia-Pacific defense-industry analyst for IHS Jane's.
The Indian prime minister, who arrived in the Russian capital on Wednesday for a private dinner with Putin, presided over the signing of several agreements, including for the manufacture of Russian helicopters in India and joint oil and gas exploration and production in Russia.
Modi also took part in an event at the Kremlin with Russian and Indian chief executive officers on Thursday.
"Russia and India have a very strong partnership that the U.S. can only aspire to," said Grevatt. "Sales from America may ebb and flow, but the sales from Russia will remain strong because there are so many ongoing programs between the two countries."
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