Putin to travel to India in rare trip abroad

Moscow says Russian leader will go to India on December 6 for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Mod


AFP November 27, 2021

Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to India next month, in only his second trip abroad since the Covid-19 pandemic began two years ago, the Kremlin said Friday.

Moscow said the Russian leader will go to India on December 6 for talks with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

Putin has only left Russia once during the pandemic -- to meet US President Joe Biden in Geneva in June.

In a statement, the Kremlin said Putin and Modi will hold talks on furthering the "privileged strategic partnership" between Russia and India.

Read more: Putin fires Russian prison chief after torture scandal

It said the pair will discuss their "joint work" within the G20, BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) group, and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO) -- an eight-member group that promotes itself as an antidote to Western geopolitical dominance.

The talks are expected to be centred around the deliveries of Russia's S-400 air defence systems and Sputnik V coronavirus vaccines to India.

Also read: Putin says West taking Russia's 'red lines' too lightly

India is a major buyer of Russian military hardware. In 2018, it ordered Moscow's S-400 missile defence system despite the threat of US sanctions over the $5.4-billion deal.

India -- home to the world's biggest vaccine manufacturer -- has also authorised Russia's Sputnik V Covid-19 vaccine, in a boost to its inoculation drive.

Earlier this month, Moscow said its foreign and defence ministers will be in New Delhi in December to meet their Indian counterparts.

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