PM Narendra Modi will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on Thursday. (File Photo)
New Delhi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi will seek to repair India's drifting partnership with Russia when he meets President Vladimir Putin this week in the third leg of his four-nation tour of Europe that begins today. The two leaders will look to stem a decline in trade and resolve tensions over their shifting global alliances when they meet on Thursday ahead of a summit in Saint Petersburg. PM Modi has already reached Germany, where he meets Chancellor Angela Merkel over a private dinner at her official country retreat in Meeseberg tonight.
- "Reached Germany. I am sure this visit will lead to beneficial outcomes & deepen India-Germany friendship," the Prime Minister tweeted. In Germany, apart from a bilateral meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel, PM Modi will also call on German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier.
- The PM's six-day tour also takes him to Spain and France. "My visits to these nations are aimed at boosting India's economic engagement with them & to invite more investment to India," the Prime Minister tweeted.
- "Germany is a valuable partner in our development initiatives and German competencies fit well with my vision for India's transformation," PM Modi said while announcing his tour programme on Facebook. The two nations will "chart a roadmap" with focus on trade and investment, security and counter-terrorism, technology, skill development, infrastructure, railways, civil aviation and clean energy, the Prime Minister said.
- Germany is India's most important trading partner in Europe. Trade was worth nearly $17.42 billion in 2016 - mostly in chemicals, machine tools, electrical goods and textiles.
- On Tuesday, PM Modi will travel to Spain - the first official visit by an Indian Prime Minister in nearly three decades. He will call on King Felipe VI and hold talks with President Mariano Rajoy. The bilateral talks will involve common concerns including economy and counter-terrorism.
- Russia's St Petersburg will host PM Modi for three days - from May 31 to June 2 - as the two nations celebrate the 70th anniversary of their diplomatic relations. With the 18th India-Russia Annual Summit, the Prime Minister said the two nations will "take forward our dialogue from the last Summit in Goa in October 2016".
- The Soviet Union was once India's largest trading partner and it relied on Moscow for its military hardware, but New Delhi has increasingly turned to the United States, France and Israel to update Soviet-era defence equipment in recent years. Russia has fostered ties with Pakistan and China.
- A revival of two-way trade, which slumped to below $8 billion in 2015 despite an ambitious bilateral target of achieving $30 billion by 2030, will be a key priority during PM Modi's visit. On June 2, PM Modi and Russian President Vladimir Putin will address the St. Petersburg International Economic Forum, where India is the 'guest country'.
- The last leg of the PM's tour involves a two-day visit to France starting June 2. He will officially meet the newly-elected French President Emmanuel Macron on June 3.
- The two leaders will discuss UN Security Council reforms and India's permanent membership in it, cooperation in counter-terrorism, climate change and International Solar Alliance, PM Modi said.
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