India and Russia will discuss a proposed military logistics sharing agreement next week when Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will hold the annual bilateral summit in Vladivostok.
The proposed agreement will give Indian and Russian armies, navies and air forces access to each other’s military facilities for refuelling and replenishment. India had inked a similar agreement with United States in 2016 – much to the chagrin of Russia, which had responded by sending its soldiers to hold the first ever military drill with Pakistan Army a few weeks later.
Modi will visit Vladivostok in Far Eastern Federal District of Russia from September 4 to 5 to attend the Eastern Economic Forum and to hold the annual summit with Putin.
The two leaders are likely to discuss ways to expand decades-old bilateral defence cooperation between India and Russia.
The proposed military logistics sharing agreement between India and Russia is likely to top the agenda of the summit, sources told the DH in New Delhi.
Russia is keen to move fast on the proposed pact with India.
India and Russia hold several military exercises round the year and the soldiers of the two nations travel to each other’s countries for such drills. The aircraft that fly them from one country to another need refuelling at the destination. The warships of the two nations also visit the ports of each others and need refuelling and replenishment of food stocks. The proposed agreement will lay the framework for sharing of logistics between the Indian and Russian armies, navies and air forces, sources said.
Russia had since long been the largest supplier of military hardware to India and had bare minimum defence cooperation with Pakistan.
But with India stepping up its defence cooperation with the US over the past several years, Russia too has been warming up to Pakistan.
Russia in November 2015 inked a defence cooperation agreement with Pakistan and the two nations had their first military drill in September-October, 2016 – just weeks after India the US inked the logistics sharing agreement on August 30, 2016.
New Delhi, however, struck a fine balance in its ties with Washington D.C. and Moscow last year and went ahead to clinch the Rs 39000 crore deal to procure five S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia, despite US threat to impose sanctions in accordance with Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act or CAATSA.