Indian PM Modi arrives in Sochi for ‘agendaless’ summit with President Putin

Indian PM Modi arrives in Sochi for ‘agendaless’ summit with President Putin

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi will meet in Sochi for an informal summit today. Today’s meeting is unusual, as Modi

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Photo: Reuters/Mikhail Metzel

Vladimir Putin and Narendra Modi will meet in Sochi for an informal summit today.

Today’s meeting is unusual, as Modi and Putin are set to meet three times this year, including at the formal India-Russia Summit in October. As such, this irregular meeting is indicative of warming ties between the two countries, with defence cooperation set to be on the agenda.

Moscow and New Delhi’s close relationship pushes on a major headache for the US. Indeed, India is set to purchase five S-400 Triumf air defence systems from Russia for some $4.5 million, which will violate the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. The law aims to prevent significant purchases of Russian military equipment and could see sanctions imposed on India if the air defence system transaction follows through.

However, the threat of sanctions is unlikely to deter New Delhi, which highly values its foreign policy autonomy. Indeed, as sanctions would merely harm the US-India relationship and push New Delhi closer to Russia, Washington could devise a loophole to its own law that allows it to ignore Indian defence purchases from Russia.